Tuesday, March 2, 2010

It's All About the Gravy

Pot roast or brisket with onion gravy is delicious and familiar and comforting. We grew up with it and love it still. Mashed potatoes with gravy remains one of my all-time favorite comfort foods. But restaurant gravy tastes richer and fuller than the recipe I learned from my mother. A little research, some chef connections and some experimentation led to a relatively easy home version of that great restaurant flavor. Still comforting but fit for the fanciest guests :)
We've tried it with several cuts of meat but our favorite is a lean eye round roast, inexpensive, healthy and perfect for a slow cooking method that infuses lots of flavor. I generally cook this in my large dutch oven pot which is enamel over cast iron. But I've also used a regular roasting pan sealed tightly with aluminum foil and gotten equal results. You can make your own veal stock, of course, but it's just fine if you buy it assuming it's fresh, not canned. Here in Manhattan, Fresh Direct offers it as do several butchers. The beef stock, however, may be canned. Enjoy!

4 lb. Roast (eye round or your choice)
2 Large yellow onions
4 Stalks celery
3 Large carrots
8 Cloves garlic
Handful of fresh thyme
2 Cups red wine
1 Pint veal stock
2 Cups beef stock
2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
Salt & pepper to taste

Peel all the vegetables, cut them into large chunks and place on the bottom of your pot. Season the roast generously with salt and pepper and place on top of the vegetables. Add the wine, veal stock and beef stock until the liquid mostly covers the meat. Cover tightly and cook in a 350 degree oven for approximately 5 hours.

When done, remove the roast from the pot and set aside to cool. Strain the sauce and reduce it slowly on the stovetop until

I still love gravy on mashed potatoes but, for an interesting change or more impressive presentation, try mashed parsnips or sweet potatoes pureed with a little smokey paprika. Both are great matches to this sweet, earthy sauce.

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