Stracotto di Manzo (Italian Pot Roast)

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The Polar Vortex has hit us again! It’s the dead of winter, and even in Miami, people are desperately trying to keep warm. Could it be a sign of the times or is this a natural occurrence? Anyways, in trying to stay warm, I have decided to share an amazingly scrumptuous meal that I have been making every winter. Stracotto di Manzo AKA Italian Pot Roast… I love Italian food. Maybe because it is so simple, rustic, delicious and straight forward. In making this recipe, I find that first of all, one has to reserve a good amount of your day to be at home in the kitchen. Second of all, it is best to use a Dutch oven. Many companies make these such as Le Creuset, Lodge, etc… Dutch ovens give off a better flavor and distribute heat more evenly. For a side dish, and to soak up the very tasty wine gravy, I like to make a side of Polenta with balsamic, oven roasted wild mushroom mix.

So here is the recipe courtesy of Chef Sarah Moulton and the Food Network:

Total Time: 4 hr 15 min
Prep: 30 min
Cook: 3 hr 45 min
Yield: 8 servings
Level: Easy

Ingredients
1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
2 cups beef stock
Salt and pepper
1 (4-pound) beef eye of round
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons pancetta, chopped
1 finely chopped onion
1 finely chopped carrot
1 finely chopped celery stalk
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
1/4 cup tightly packed parsley leaves, chopped
3 tablespoons tomato paste
5 cups red wine
1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes, drained and crushed

Directions:

Soak the porcini mushrooms in 1 cup of hot stock until softened, about 30 minutes. Strain the liquid through a coffee filter or a sieve lined with a double layer of cheesecloth. Trim any hard bits from the mushrooms. Set aside the mushrooms and liquid separately.

Season the beef with salt and pepper. In a large casserole, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium high heat until hot but not smoking. Brown the beef on all sides, about 15 minutes total. Transfer the beef to a plate. Pour off browning fat. Add pancetta, onions, carrots, and celery, stirring, until they are golden. Add garlic and cook 1 minute more. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Stir in bay leaves, rosemary, parsley, and tomato paste. Add the wine and simmer until it is reduced by half, about 20 minutes.

Add the beef, tomatoes, porcini mushrooms, mushroom liquid, and enough beef stock to come 2/3 up the side of the beef. Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook at a gentle simmer for 2 1/2 to 3 hours, until the meat is tender. It may take about half an hour longer so don’t be scared. The meat will only be more tender. Turn the roast every 30 minutes or so.

Transfer the meat to a cutting board and cover with aluminum foil to keep warm. Skim off any fat from the surface of the liquid. Strain the liquid, pressing on the solids with a spoon to extract as much liquid as possible. Discard the solids and return the strained sauce to the pot. Bring to a boil and let cook uncovered for a few minutes to further reduce and thicken the liquid. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Slice the roast and serve with the sauce and soft polenta. Here’s a small tip. At home, I have an immersion hand-held blender so I don’t actually discard the solids in the gravy. I remove the meat, blend the solids and add the blended gravy to the meat. Even better, make the day before and eat the next day. All the flavors will get happier! My wine pairing suggestion is the Cannonau di Sardegna from Sella e Mosca or the Rubrato Aglianico dei Feudi di San Gregorio 2006. This was a very good year. Enjoy, stay warm and as always… Cin Cin!

Categories: Pairings

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For any inquiries please email me at chris@cantinettavintners.com

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