The past two days you've read about two wonderful-sounding beef roast recipes from Marcella. The first was cooked in Red Wine (Deborah used a Barolo) and yesterday Doug used an Amorone. Beef and red wine make such a great pairing. I have another Beef Roast recipe for you to try. And it's one that is so simple, and only has 4 ingredients (not counting the salt and pepper). No wine involved (except for you to drink along with the beef). It's Beef Roast Braised with Onions. This recipe calls for cooking a beef roast, preferably a brisket. The store I was in at the time didn't have brisket, but they did have chuck roast, so that's what I used. The other ingredients are pancetta, cloves, and ontions. Doesn't this sound easy?
Okay, there does have to be a catch. The recipe calls for cutting the pancetta into narrow strips and either using a larding needle to lard the meat, or using a chopstick to push the pancetta into the roast. I don't have a larding needle, and I hate to admit it, but I don't think I've seen one and I don't plan on buying one.So I used a very sturdy chopstick, which I pushed into the roast to create a hole, then I used again to push the pancetta into that hole. It seemed like a lot of work. It probably didn't take much time, but I was busy and behind in work I needed to get done the day I made this, so it seemed like it took a long time. Once that was done, it was a breeze. Stud the roast with the cloves (okay, Marcella, I have a really BIG confession to make-I forgot the cloves!), thinly slice onions, and then place the onions in the bottom of a heavy pot. I used a new enameled cast-iron pot I just bought at Costco that I was anxious to try. (by the way, I love it, and it only cost $50). Back to the recipe. What makes this recipe unique is that there is no liquid added to the pot. The roast is just braised with the juices that come out of the onions. And my onions were very juicy, so there was quite a bit of liquid.
Again, back to the recipe. Place the roast on top of the sliced onions, scatter a little of the sliced pancetta on top of the onions, and place your roast on top. Tightly cover, and cook for about 3 1/2 hours.
The onions turn a dark carmelized brown, and the meat absorbs that wonderful caramelly, onion flavor. When my husband tasted it, he exclaimed that it was one of the best meat dishes he has ever had! It was so tender, and as I just mentioned, really absorbed the onion flavor. But not a harsh onion flavor, but instead, that softened flavor that only comes from really slow cooking. I'm sure if I had remembered the clove, it might have even tasted better than it did.
This will get added to my recipe file of one of the easiest but most flavorful roasts to cook. And the next evening, I shredded the leftovers, added a little beef broth to make more of a gravy, and served it over polenta. Another great dish that had us almost licking the plate.