Thursday, April 21, 2011

Braised Pot Roast with Fennel Seeds

Even with Passover underway and Easter on the doorstep, the weather here has been cold enough (with one exception which I don't even want to discuss) for one last braising hurrah.

And this one is a doozy, wherein I learn, once again, that less actually can be more.

I didn't have any stock in the freezer so I wasn't sure what to use for the braising liquid for this pot roast. I did, however, have some leftover canned tomatoes in the refrigerator and I wasn't going to be making any pizza soon, so I decided I could puree that up with my handy dandy stick blender and braise the pot roast and root vegetables in that.

I wasn't sure how to season it and I was feeling a little lazy, so I decided to just throw some fennels seeds into the oil before adding the vegetables and call it a day. With a couple of bay leaves, salt, and pepper, it was delicious. The brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce and apple cider vinegar both sweetened and kicked up the flavor.

I decided to try my hand at dumplings and used a recipe from the Settlement Cookbook and they were ok, but nothing special. And of course this would be delicious with any of the usual side suspects - mashed potatoes, polenta, rice, or noodles.

If you have any cool temperatures left this season, I strongly recommend you make this dish. If not, save it and pull it out at the first sign of autumn chill. You won't regret it.

How do I know? I've already made it again twice.

This is the kind of recipe to use as a guideline. Don't have red onion and a shallot or two? I didn't have anything else so that's why I used them. I have also used leeks and regular onion and they all worked out perfectly. The same goes for the root vegetables - parsnips would probably be good, or beets, and potatoes would be especially nice.

You don't even need the meat. The last time I made this I had a rutabaga, fennel, sweet potato, and beets that all needed to be used pronto. I also added caraway seeds in a flash of inspiration which turned out to be a brilliant idea. I braised them up and then made soup, which I am eating right now for lunch. Perfection.
Home Cookin Chapter: My Recipes


2-1/2 to 3 lb chuck shoulder roast
Garlic powder
2 Tbsp grapeseed oil
1 tsp fennel seeds, toasted
1/2 tsp caraway seeds (optional)
1/4 red onion, roughly chopped
2 shallots, roughly chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 carrot, cut on the diagonal 1/4-inch wide
1 celery rib, roughly chopped
1 medium to large rutabaga, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes*
1 large fennel, cored and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 cups tomato puree
2 cups water (or vegetable broth)
2 bay leaves
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1-2 Tbsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 425 deg. F.

Place roast on an aluminum-lined rimmed baking sheet and season liberally with salt, pepper, garlic powder and paprika. Place in the oven and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, until the top is browned. Turn the
roast over and season the other side with salt, peper, garlic powder and paprika. Return to the oven and cook another 5 to 10 minutes, until that side is also browned. Remove from the oven and lower the heat to 325 deg. F.

While the meat is browning, heat the oil in a dutch oven large enough to hold the meat over medium-high heat. Add the onions and shallots and let them cook, stirring frequently, until just softened. Add the garlic, carrots and celery and cook another 5 minutes, still stirring frequently. Add the rutabaga and cook for another 5 minutes. Add the toasted fennel seeds and cook for 2 minutes more.

Nestle the meat into the vegetables. Add the tomato puree, water, Worcestershire sauce, brown subar, and apple cider vinegar. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Bring to a boil and then cover tightly. Remove from the stove and place in the 325-degree oven.

Cook for 2 to 3 hours, until the vegetables are soft and the meat is falling from the bone. Remove the meat from the dutch oven and continue to cook the remaining liquid, if necessary, until it reaches the
desired thickness.

Exported from Home Cookin 6.46 (

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