It’s funny how our tastes change with age. As a kid, I expected Brussels sprouts to taste like fresh, crispy, Iceberg lettuce in miniature form, and was so disgusted when I discovered it to be false. Now, I’m dying to re-introduce myself to the teeny-tiny cabbage (and invite my faithful friend, bacon). My younger self would get away with not eating all of her vegetables and still get dessert, but as an adult I crave corn and steamed carrots. Any item from the ocean only ever crossed my lips if I were duped into eating eat when I was little, yet now I am to shrimp cocktail what Wing Bowl 2011 winner Jon “Super” Squib is to chicken wings.
There are certain dishes I would think were unimpressive (I was a very opinionated child) and could only find them edible with a condiment on the side. For example, pot roast never seemed like a “fun” dish and I’d only finish my dinner plate with a side of ketchup. As an adult, the thought of braising a chunk of meat for hours in juices and stock and topping it with ketchup is heart-wrenching. Here is a for the comfort-food classic that requires nothing more to dress it up than what is listed below.
Beer Braised Pot Roast
3 lb rump roast
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 potatoes, quartered
3 carrots cut into thick slices
1 large yellow onion, chopped
12 oz. bottle of lager
12 oz. beef broth
2 bay leaves
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Coat meat in 2 tablespoons of olive oil. In a small bowl, mix salt, pepper, cumin, coriander and garlic and massage into meat. Place in large bowl and refrigerate for 30 – 60 minutes. In a Dutch Oven, heat one tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat and brown all sides of roast. Remove to a plate, and turn heat down to medium. Add potatoes, carrots and onion and cook until onion begins to soften. Pour lager into pot and bring to a boil, mixing to remove browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Add beef broth and bay leaves and bring to a boil. Add meat back to pan, cover and cook in oven for about 2 hours. Remove roast from oven and let sit, covered in pot, for about 30 minutes before slicing. Serve topped with braising liquid and vegetables.
There are so many beauties of braising, my favorite being the interchangeable possibilities with the liquid. Many traditional pot roast recipes call for beef broth or stock, and sometimes canned tomatoes in their juices. Boeuf Bourguignon, a classic French recipe, is essentially a fancy version of pot roast, cooked in red wine. The selection of vegetables, too, can be altered to suit your tastes. The combination of potatoes, carrots and onions seems classic to me, but I’ve seen recipes that call for mushrooms as well.
The spice mixture I chose to coat the beef works well with the deeper flavors of the beer; a hint of both is evident in the finished product, without being too obvious. Combining the alcoholic beverage with the beef broth offers enhanced flavors of a traditional pot roast, and I guarantee no ketchup will be necessary.