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Italian Pot Roast

Italian Pot Roast
For an easy side dish, cook orzo or another small pasta until al dente, according to the package instructions, and toss it with a little butter and freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • 4 lb. boneless beef chuck, trimmed of excess fat
      and tied
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 1 can (28 oz.) whole plum tomatoes, drained
  • 1 Tbs. dried oregano
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/4 cup slivered fresh basil

Directions:

Brown the pot roast
On a large plate, stir together the flour, salt and pepper. Coat the beef evenly with the flour mixture, shaking off the excess; reserve the remaining flour mixture.

In a large fry pan over high heat, warm the olive oil. Add the roast and brown it well on all sides, 12 to 15 minutes total. Transfer the roast to a slow cooker.

Deglaze the pan
Pour off all but about 1 Tbs. fat from the fry pan and return the pan to medium-high heat. Add the garlic and sauté for a few seconds until fragrant. Sprinkle with the reserved flour mixture and cook, stirring, about 1 minute more. Add the wine and deglaze the pan, stirring to scrape up the browned bits from the pan bottom. Pour the wine mixture over the roast.

Cook the pot roast
Using your hands, break up the tomatoes as you add them to the slow cooker. Add the oregano, sugar and bay leaves. Cover and cook on high for 3 to 4 hours or on low for 6 to 8 hours. The meat should be very tender when pierced with a fork. Remove and discard the bay leaves. Transfer the roast to a cutting board and remove the strings. Cover with aluminum foil and let rest for about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, skim off and discard the excess fat from the sauce. Stir in the basil. Slice the roast across the grain and arrange the slices on a platter or individual plates. Spoon the sauce over the meat and serve immediately. Serves 6 to 8.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Food Made Fast Series, Slow Cooker, by Norman Kolpas (Oxmoor House, 2007).