French-Style Pot Roast

Published November 1, 2007. From Cook's Illustrated.

Why this recipe works:

To update the recipe for boeuf à la mode while maintaining its status as an elegant dish a cut above a simple pot roast, we eliminated the step of larding the beef, instead salting the meat and browning it in bacon drippings. Reducing the wine before adding it to the braising liquid maximized… read more

To update the recipe for boeuf à la mode while maintaining its status as an elegant dish a cut above a simple pot roast, we eliminated the step of larding the beef, instead salting the meat and browning it in bacon drippings. Reducing the wine before adding it to the braising liquid maximized its complex fruit flavors and minimized sourness and astringency. Our final challenge in updating the French-style pot roast recipe was to achieve the proper consistency, which we managed to do not with pork trotters and split calves’ feet, as is traditional, but by adding powdered gelatin after the sauce had finished reducing.

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Serves 6 to 8

A medium-bodied, fruity red wine such as Côtes du Rhône or Pinot Noir is best for this recipe. If frozen pearl onions are unavailable, use fresh peeled pearl onions and follow the recipe as directed. The gelatin lends richness and body to the finished sauce; don't omit it. To prepare this dish in advance, follow the recipe through step 7, skipping the step of softening and adding the gelatin. Place the meat back into the reduced sauce, cool it to room temperature, cover it, and refrigerate it for up to 2 days. To serve, slice the beef and arrange it in a 13 by 9-inch baking dish. Bring the sauce to a simmer and stir in the gelatin until completely dissolved. Pour the warm sauce over the meat, cover it with aluminum foil, and bake it in a 350-degree oven until heated through, about 30 minutes. Serve this dish with boiled potatoes, buttered noodles, or steamed rice.

Ingredients

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