Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Comforting beef

It's a glorious fall day here in Virginia. I could be thinking about how pleased I am that the holidays are coming soon, but I'm not. (Bah, humbug.) I could be thinking about building a fire in my fireplace. (I have a gas fireplace so I just push a button.) Or I could be thinking about comfort food. Of course! Just imagine all the comforting possibilities like macaroni and cheese, curries, split pea soup, comforting shredded beef. Comforting shredded beef?

This is a version of a recipe that I got from one of the old Silver Palate cookbooks. My son Nathan particularly loved this when he was growing up, maybe just because of the name. We never just called it beef, or pot roast, or slow-cooked meat. It was always known by its full original title—Comforting Shredded Beef. And so it is.

Comforting Shredded Beef

2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons oil
1 bottom round roast (approximately 4 pounds)
Salt and pepper
1 large sweet onion, sliced
½ cup Cognac
2 cups beef or rich vegetable broth
3 cups (approximately) full-bodied red wine (Chianti or Burgundy)

Heat oil and butter in a Dutch oven or slow cooker pot over medium heat. Sauté onion until soft and remove from pot.
Sprinkle roast with salt and pepper and brown on all sides in the oil and butter.
Pour Cognac into pan, warm it to a simmer, then light it with a match. Let it burn until flame dies out.
Pour in broth, ½ cup of the wine, and onion. Then cover and simmer over low heat for about 3 hours, adding additional wine so that there is always about 1 cup of liquid in the pot.
Remove from heat. When meat has reached room temperature, shred into small pieces. Return meat to the liquid in the pot and heat thoroughly.

Makes great hot beef sandwiches, or serve over rice.

Serves 6 to 8.

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