Monday, January 11, 2010

Wine Braised Chuck Roast

Wine braised chuck roast, smashed potatoes and steamed green beans.

When putting my food plan together for the week, I did a last-minute browse on Tastespotting and saw the most beautiful image of a hunk of beef. Clicking on the image brought me to a blog called A Good Appetite and the recipe. After skimming over the directions, I had to try it even though it would take 4 hours -- insane for a weeknight. I hemmed and hawed and left to get my shopping done.

At the store, I couldn't imagine waiting until the following weekend to make it. I couldn't get over it. Chuck roasts were on sale as well as a bottle of red wine.  On the mental list the beef went. Too late to try it after I returned from grocery shopping, it was in the queue for a Monday night. I'm nuts.

I didn't change anything except how much foil I used, but click the link below to check out the original -- where the wonderful photo resides:

Wine Braised Chuck Roast

3-4 lbs chuck roast
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 small onion, roughly chopped
3 - 4 sprigs fresh thyme
1 tsp dried marjoram
8 oz red wine
1 - 2 tbsp unsalted butter

Preheat oven to 325°F.

Place one layer of foil (shiny side down) big enough for the beef to sit in comfortably in a 7x11" baking dish. Salt and pepper the beef on both sides; place the beef in the middle of the foil folding up the sides.

Sprinkle in the garlic, onion, thyme and marjoram.

Pour in enough wine to cover the beef about halfway.

Enclose the beef with another sheet of foil, folding and crimping the foil edges together creating a tight seal.

Bake for about 3.5 hours.

Carefully remove meat from the foil packet. Move to a cutting board or serving platter and tent to keep warm.

Strain the cooking juices into a skillet.

Bring to a simmer. Whisk in the butter and let simmer for about 5 minutes.

Serve with the beef.

I was chomping at the bit to get at this meat, sure that it would be wonderful, simply glorious, just like the beautiful picture ensured my eyes and thus, my tastebuds. Though I waited the entire 3.5 hours (on a Monday no less), the beef was not as buttery soft as I'd expected. What a disappointment!  The flavor was ok, but I was expecting superb, not ok.  Rodney felt the same way.

Should I do this again, here's a couple things I'll do differently:
  • avoid the foil boat bit.  It leaked anyway, so it didn't serve any purpose. The folks at A Good Appetite used 3 layers of foil and said theirs leaked too.  Whatever is the point of the foil?  I'll put the beef right into the glass 7x11 and after putting the aromatics and wine in, cover the glass with a sheet of foil like I did with this pork.
  • avoid taking care to keep the aromatics on the beef.  It would probably be better to dump it all into the wine anyway since the juices are strained later and the aromatics discarded.
  • discard the aromatics on the beef.  They didn't add anything to the flavor.
  • sear the beef before it goes into the oven
  • leave it in the oven longer?
  • prepare it on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon!
  • wine: $3.99/750 mL
  • chuck roast: $7.08
  • fresh thyme: $2.99
Total: $14.06.  Ouch.  There was easily enough for 6, bringing each serving to $2.34.