Back to School, Back to Roasts

Shorter days and cooler nights have signaled the approach of fall in the Adirondacks. As the hectic pace of summer farming begins to slow down for us, our friends with school-age children are just getting back into their busy routines. With these friends and the seasonal transition in mind, I'm posting a simple braising recipe that will work well for any roast cut.

Roasting cuts include brisket, chuck roast, short ribs, neck roast, shanks, top round, bottom round and eye of round. If possible, defrost your roast 24 hrs before cooking, and rub all over with fine salt at least 8 hrs before. Pre-salting this far in advance works to season the meat throughout the cut, instead of just the surface.

Neck roast, seasoned with salt and pepper, ready to brown and braise.

Season 2-4 lb. roasting cut with salt and pepper, preferably the night before cooking.

Preheat oven to 325°F.

Prepare the following ingredients for the braise:

-2 tablespoons olive oil

-2-3 small onions, quartered

-4 medium cloves garlic, peeled

-2 carrots, cut into 1" chunks

-Chopped herbs of choice: celery leaf, marjoram, and thyme are good options

-2 cups tomatoes, roughly chopped

-1-2 cups beef bone broth, or 1-2 cups water

Heat heavy skillet over medium-high flame and sear the roast on all sides. Once all sides are a deep golden-brown, remove roast from pan and place in deep-sided casserole dish. Turn down heat to medium, and add olive oil to the pan. Sauté onions, garlic and carrots for 5-8 min, until they begin to soften. Add herbs, tomatoes, and broth or water, cooking on medium-high until tomatoes break down and start to simmer. Continue to cook together for 10 minutes before pouring all ingredients over the meat in the casserole dish. Cover with foil and roast in oven for 3-5 hours, or until meat is tender and shreds easily with a fork.

After dish has cooled slightly, remove meat from dish and set aside while you make a quick sauce from the braising liquid and vegetables. This can be done by running the braising mixture through a food mill, or using an immersion blender to blend together. Alternately, allow braising mixture to cool completely so that you can skim of unwanted fat that rises to the top, then blend remaining liquid together with the vegetables to make a sauce. Adjust with salt and pepper to taste before serving alongside the meat.

Serve with roasted potatoes or rice, and some kind of lightly cooked green vegetable such as broccoli or green beans. Shredded, leftover meat with the sauce can also be served over pasta.

My daughter Zoey, age 2, sprinkling extra herbs over roast before we put it in the oven.

295 Sherman Road, Westport, NY