Sunday, February 21, 2010

Pot Roast of Beef Braised in Amarone

Cooking Italy Assignment
Pot Roast of Beef Braised in Amarone Wine, p395
Mashed Potatoes with Milk and Parmesan, Bolognese Style, p518

This was pot roast week. The recipe assigned, Pot Roast of Beef Braised in Red Wine (p393) is full of tomatoes, so I made the pot roast braised in Amarone instead. But, oops, I got the two kilos of marcreuse for the red wine recipe, rather than the one kilo for the Amarone one. We're not big beef eaters, and that two kilos must be more beef than I've bought in the last five years altogether. No wonder there was so much left over!

This is another top-of-the-stove braised meat, cooked long and slow, easy to put together and good to eat. The meat is first browned with olive oil and pancetta, then set aside while you sauté some onions.

The meat is then added back to the pot with some celery, garlic, and wine, where it simmers gently, lid ajar, for hours till it's done.

The recipe calls for Amarone, an Italian wine made from dried grapes.There are no Italian wines in the shops we frequent, so I used a nice bordeaux instead. The notes say the wine should have an alcohol content of at least 14%; the highest I could find was 13.5%. The recipe calls for 1-3/4 cups wine, starting with 1/2 cup, and adding more as needed. I added another slog at some point, feeling like I should use a good portions of the amount called for, but I used only about 3/4 cups in total. The measuring cup served as a not-so-elegant carafe on the table.

After the meat had simmered for quite a while, I made the Bolognese-style mashed potatoes. The technique for making these was very complicated and messy; lots of dirty dishes were generated. Even though this isn't the way I usually make mashed potatoes, I followed the instructions, just in case there was something to them. But for all that work they were just some mashed potatoes with some Parmesan added. I don't like to boil the potatoes whole because the outsides get too done while the insides are still hard, making it difficult to judge when they're done. What did melting butter in a double boiler achieve? Ricing the potatoes? Whisking it all together? Maybe ok, but I prefer my plain old hand-mashed potatoes. I have been known to warm the milk before adding it, but often don't bother. Throw in a handful of grated Parmesan? I might think to do that sometime. Nutmeg, never.

Altogether is was a nice meal. That's some steamed broccoli, tossed with garlic slices and pepper flakes that simmered a bit in some olive oil, on the side.

At the end of cooking the meat, there should have been just a small amount of sauce in the pot. I actually had quite a bit, and tasty it was. We'll have another dinner with more sliced beef with the sauce, and I'll make some beef pot pies with the rest of the sauce and some of the less attractive bits of meat, and there's still another sack of odd bits for something or other.


  1. Looks great. I am making it tonight, with the potatoes, and with some steamed broccoli, too...isn't that funny that we both planned the same vegetable? It seemed perfect to color up the plate...everything else seems rather drab colored. I am only doing half a recipe of the meat as guys don't like leftovers and I figured it was just as well to make half. After reading about all the meat you had, I figured I made the right choice. I am skipping the next recipe as it is swimming state here and I am just not making much this week or next for the blogs other than what I have mostly cooked/baked ahead. Some weeks are like that around here. Hope to have my roast, etc. posted tomorrow.

  2. Broccoli goes with everything, doesn't it?

  3. Looks marvelous to me too...wish I had some tonight! LOL! I could sure use something already prepared! LOL! When will I learn to leave something easy for Mondays? LOL! Sorry to hear your Cafe Beaujolais cake hit the floor! What a tragedy!