Italian Pot Roast (Straccoto)
When I was growing up in Brooklyn and Staten Island, my mother rarely made meatloaf. Our Sunday dinner was usually pasta and meatballs or my father’s favorite dinner, chicken with sauteed onions. I can tell you that my mother used to have to do a lot of deep breathing because of the mess that my dad made in the kitchen.
Now Big John’s Mother was the opposite. She made pot roast almost every time we went to her house for dinner. I found it to be dry and I figured there had to be a better recipe. There is a good way to cook a pot roast. You need to braise the roast for a long time, but not so long that you dry it out. I especially like this recipe. It has mushrooms, garlic, delicious herbs, wine and chicken stock. What could be better?
3 cloves Garlic
1/4 cups Tightly Packed Parsley
1 tsp Dried Sage
1 tsp Dried Rosemary
1 Tbs Olive Oil
3 1/2 lb Beef Chuck Roast or top round pot roast
3 Tbs Olive Oil
1 tsp Salt
1 Onion, Chopped
1 Carrot, Chopped
1 stalk Celery W/ Leaves, Chopped
1 Bay Leaf, Broken
8 oz Mushrooms, Sliced
1 1/2 cups Dry Red Wine
2 Tbs Tomato Paste
2 cups Chicken Stock
24 oz jar Marina’s Tomato Sauce
Mince together 3 cloves garlic, parsley, sage and rosemary. Set aside half the mixture and mix the rest with 1 T olive oil and pepper. Make about 10 deep slits in the roast. Stuff the slits with the oil and herb mixture.
Heat 3 T oil in a 6 quart heavy pot over medium-high heat. Add the roast and brown all sides until dark and crusty, about 20 minutes. Maintain the heat so that the meat sizzles but does not burn. Remove the meat from the pot to a large plate and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt.
Pour off all but 2 T of fat from the pot. Return the pot to the heat and add the onion, carrot, celery, bay leaf and mushrooms. Cook, stirring, until the onion is lightly browned. Stir in the remaining herb mixture and cook for 30 seconds. Add 1/2 cup wine and the tomato paste and cook until almost dry. Stir in 1 cup red wine and 1 cup stock and boil until reduced to less than 1/2 cup.
Add the roast along with the jar of tomatoes, and 1 cup stock. Bring to a gentle simmer and cover the pot. Reduce the heat to the lowest setting. Cook slowly for about 2 1/2 hours, turning the roast every 30 minutes or so. When the meat is tender, remove to a platter and cover it with foil to keep warm.
Skim off any fat from the pan. If the sauce seems weak, boil down for a few minutes. Slice the meat 1/4 inch thick and moisten it with the sauce.
I served the roast with noodles but you can also serve it with polenta. Enjoy!