Food & Drink

Need chuck roast ideas? You’re in luck

Easy pot au feu is shown here with quick salsa verde.
Easy pot au feu is shown here with quick salsa verde. Washington Post

Rich cuts of meat such as chuck roast, which is as marbled with delicious fat as it is affordable, need nothing but time to become tender.

For the easiest and least-boring one-pot meal I know, brown the roast in a pot, add an entire jar of kimchi and let the mixture cook in the oven for a bit until it’s on its way to soft. Then add some sweet potatoes and allow it to arrive at its sublime destination, where the kimchi’s bite totally surrenders into the sweet potatoes. For an alternative, combine the browned roast with an umami-heavy mixture of tomato paste, mustard, raisins and olives.

The result is a vaguely Cuban-inspired, sweet-and-sour mixture that is addictively good.

Or skip the browning and the oven and let the chuck roast simmer gently on the stove top with root vegetables for pot au feu. Serve with something to cut the richness, such as prepared horseradish mixed with sour cream, or just a jar of mustard, or even a simple parsley salsa verde.

Better yet, put each of them on the table and let everyone adorn their dinner to their liking.

Turshen is a writer, recipe developer and author of the best-selling “Small Victories” and the more recent “Feed the Resistance” (Chronicle Books, 2017). She and her family live in Upstate New York.

Pot roast with kimchi + sweet potatoes

4 servings

This one-pot meal is as flavorful as it is satisfying.

Serve with steamed greens or a simple salad dressed with toasted sesame oil, rice vinegar and soy sauce.

If the chuck roasts you find are larger than 2 pounds, ask the butcher to cut a roast down to the right size.

MAKE AHEAD: The dish tastes even better after a day's refrigeration.

One 2-pound boneless chuck roast (see headnote)

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

One 16-ounce jar cabbage kimchi, including the juices

1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth or water

2 pounds (about 2 large) sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Pat the roast dry with paper towels and season all over with 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.

Heat the oil in a large, heavy, ovenproof pot over high heat. As soon as the oil shimmers (before it starts to smoke), add the roast and sear for about 15 minutes total, turning to brown it on all sides. Transfer the meat to a plate.

Add the kimchi, along with its juices, and the broth or water to the pot. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, using a wooden spoon to dislodge any browned bits on the bottom of the pot. Turn off the heat and nestle the roast back into the pot. Cover and transfer to the oven; slow-roast (middle rack) for 1 1/2 hours.

Uncover the pot, turn the meat over and add the sweet potatoes around the sides. Re-cover and return to the oven; slow-roast for 1 1/2 hours, or until the sweet potatoes and the beef are very tender.

Transfer the meat to a cutting board. Cut it (against the grain) into 1-inch-thick slices. Serve warm, with the sweet potatoes and kimchi sauce.

Nutrition | Per serving (using water): 690 calories, 69 g protein, 54 g carbohydrates, 23 g fat, 8 g saturated fat, 185 mg cholesterol, 1,020 mg sodium, 11 g dietary fiber, 9 g sugar

Pot roast with olives and raisins

4 servings

Savory and sweet, this roast has elements of a Cuban picadillo - and preparation couldn't be easier.

If the chuck roasts you find are larger than 2 pounds, ask the butcher to cut a roast down to the right size.

MAKE AHEAD: The meat tastes even better after a day's refrigeration.

One 2-pound boneless chuck roast (see headnote)

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 cups low-sodium chicken broth or water

3 tablespoons tomato paste

3 tablespoons yellow mustard

2 teaspoons ground cumin

Large handful raisins

Small handful chopped, pitted green olives, preferably the ones stuffed with pimento

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Pat the roast dry with paper towels and season all over with 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.

Heat the oil in a large, heavy, ovenproof pot over high heat. As soon as the oil shimmers (before it starts to smoke), add the roast and sear for about 15 minutes total, turning to brown it on all sides.

Meanwhile, whisk together the broth or water, tomato paste, mustard and cumin in a liquid measuring cup.

Once the beef has browned all over, pour the broth mixture into the pot, and then scatter the raisins and olives over the meat. Turn off the heat, cover the pot and transfer it to the oven to slow-roast (middle rack) for about 3 hours, or until the meat is wonderfully tender; uncover and turn over the roast halfway through cooking and re-cover.

Transfer the meat to a cutting board and cut into slices (against the grain). Season the cooking juices in the pot lightly with salt; serve the meat warm, with the cooking juices.

Nutrition | Per serving (using water): 510 calories, 63 g protein, 13 g carbohydrates, 24 g fat, 8 g saturated fat, 185 mg cholesterol, 520 mg sodium, 1 g dietary fiber, 8 g sugar

Easy pot au feu

4 servings

This is a stripped-down version of the traditional and humble French beef stew, and it yields a lighter sauce as well.

We are showing it here with a quick salsa verde, one of the optional serving accompaniments.

For the pot au feu

One 2-pound boneless chuck roast

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

2 cups water, or more as needed

2 carrots, trimmed and scrubbed well, then cut into 2-inch chunks

2 parsnips, trimmed and peeled, and then cut into 2-inch chunks

2 ribs celery, cut into 2-inch chunks

1 medium yellow onion, cut into quarters

For serving (optional)

Sour cream

Prepared white horseradish

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 handfuls fresh parsley leaves

1 clove garlic, minced

For the pot au feu: Place the roast in a large, heavy pot and season generously with salt and pepper. Add the water and bring to a boil over high heat, then immediately reduce the heat to low and cook (uncovered) for 20 minutes, turning the meat over once and skimming any foam on the surface.

Cover and cook gently for 2 hours, uncovering the pot now and then to turn the meat (add a splash of water if the liquid has almost evaporated). At the 2-hour mark, add the carrots, parsnips, celery and onion. Cover once again and cook for about 30 minutes, or until the beef and vegetables are very tender.

Transfer the meat to a cutting board; cut it into thick pieces. Divide them and the vegetables among individual wide, shallow bowls. Season the cooking liquid lightly with salt and then ladle it over the portions of beef.

For serving, if desired: A horseradish sauce made of equal parts sour cream and prepared horseradish seasoned lightly with salt and pepper, or just put jars of prepared horseradish and sharp mustard on the table. For the salsa verde, stir together the Dijon mustard, vinegar and oil in a medium bowl, then add the parsley and garlic. Taste and season lightly with salt, as needed.

Nutrition | Per serving: 440 calories, 62 g protein, 12 g carbohydrates, 16 g fat, 7 g saturated fat, 185 mg cholesterol, 290 mg sodium, 3 g dietary fiber, 4 g sugar

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