Fall Comfort: Stracotto di Manzo (Italian Pot Roast)

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Stracotto di Manzo (Italian Pot Roast)

Kick-off the fall season with this not-so-average take on the traditional pot roast from our resident foodie, The Culinary Composer.


Fall — Crisp air, colorful leaves, bonfires and football. Every year with the signs of the season I get an insatiable craving for the ultimate comfort food dinner, pot roast — but not the typical boring pot roast.

Stracotto di Manzo, or Italian Pot Roast with Mushrooms, is a more sophisticated version of its American cuisine-cousin.

The two defining characteristics of Stracotto are a bold red wine based sauce and an extravagantly long cooking time (I prefer about 12 hours on very low heat). The end result is a fork-tender, tastebud pleasing, belly warming experience.

Served with a garlic mash, polenta or wild mushroom risotto and the featured wine, the deep flavors of this dish hit you just right on a brisk autumn night.

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Ingredients

1 (5-pound) boneless beef chuck roast

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup olive oil

1 white onion, diced

6 tbsp garlic, miced

1 cup chianti or cabernet sauvignon

2 cups organic beef broth

1/2 ounce dried porcini mushrooms

1 cup sliced fresh white mushrooms

1 large sprig fresh rosemary, leaves removed and chopped

8 red potatoes, washed and cut in halves

30 baby carrots, whole

1 teaspoon corn starch

White and Porcini mushrooms make a great combination for Stracotto

White and Porcini mushrooms make a great combination for Stracotto

Preparation

>> Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F.

>> Pat the beef dry with paper towels and rub with salt and pepper.

>> In a heavy 6-quart pot or Dutch oven, heat olive oil, onion and garlic over high heat until it just starts to sizzle.

>> Quickly (and carefully) add the beef and cook until browned on all sides, about 12 minutes. Remove the beef and set into a large roasting pan.

>> Reduce the heat on the pot you used to sear the meat to medium. Add the cabernet, all mushrooms and rosemary and cook for 1 minute, then add the broth and bring to a boil. Remove from heat.

>> Surround the meat with the carrots and potatoes and then cover with the mushroom rosemary broth. Place the cover on the roasting pan and transfer to the oven. Cook about 12 hours to achieve the “melt in your mouth tenderness.

>> Check the roast at about 4 hours and add more beef broth if necessary.

>> Transfer the beef, potatoes and carrots to a serving platter. Tent with foil and let stand for 15 minutes.

>> Meanwhile, spoon any excess fat off the top of the pan juices. Transfer the pan juices to a small pot andbring to a slow boil on stmedium high heat. Dissolve 1 teaspoon of cornstarch in 1/2 cup of hot water,then add to the broth.

>> Whisk the sauce until it is a gravy. Salt and pepper to taste.

>> Spoon some of the sauce over the meat and serve the remaining on the side. Also goes great on garlic mashed potatoes!

Start your Stracotto in the morning and drop off at your favorite bakery for a loaf of crusty bread on your way home from your busy day.

Start your Stracotto in the morning and drop off at your favorite bakery for a loaf of crusty bread on your way home from your busy day.