Sunday Dinner Pot Roast
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 4-pound boneless chuck roast or bottom round roast
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
1 large leek, white part only, coarsely chopped
3 medium carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces
3 celery ribs, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup hearty dry red wine, such as Zinfandel
2 tablespoons tomato paste
3 cups canned, low-sodium beef broth
4 sprigs of fresh thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
2 bay leaves
1 pound small new potatoes or 1 pound quartered redskin potatoes, scrubbed
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 325 degrees.
Over medium-high heat, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a Dutch oven or other oven-proof covered pot. Season the beef with salt and pepper to taste. Cook in the pot, turning occasionally, until browned, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil to the pot and heat. Add onion, leek, carrots and celery; stirring often, cook 5 minutes until softened. Add garlic and cook 1 minute. Stir in the wine and tomato paste and cook until liquid is reduced by half, about 3 minutes. Return meat to the pot and add broth. Bring to a boil, skimming off any foam that rises to the surface. Add the thyme and bay leaves.
Cover and bake until the meat is fork tender, about 2 hours. Add the potatoes and bake for another 30 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.
Transfer the meat to a deep platter and slice into serving-size pieces. Use a slotted spoon to dip the vegetables out of the liquid. Place them on top of the meat, cover with foil and keep warm. Let the liquid stand for 5 minutes and then skim any fat that rises to the surface. In a medium bowl, mash the butter and flour with a rubber spatula until it makes a paste; whisk it into the pot. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring often, until thickened, about 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Pour some of the gravy over the meat and vegetables; pour remainder into a sauce boat to pass separately.
Makes 6 servings.
From “Back to the Table: The Reunion of Food and Family”