Beef Pot Roast with Capers
For some reason this weekend, I found myself craving something warm, hearty, and comforting. Whenever I feel that way, I invariably look towards something ricey and stewy. I remembered a recipe of Aaron McCargo’s for a fabulous looking beef pot roast that he braised in an amazing stew of tomatoes, habenaros, and carrots and I knew I had an answer for what tugged at my heartstrings.
When I was younger and we had pot roast at my former in-law’s, pot roast was usually a large chunk of meat that had been braised in a dutch oven and served with big chunky vegetables. To me, it was always the quintessential meat and potatoes meal. The trick is to keep your protein moist and not end up with a dried out pot roast which, unfortunately, is a common fate of many roasts.
For my pot roast, I used a 1″ thick chuck steak and browned each side in my searing hot dutch oven before adding in all of the ingredients for the stew. Chuck steak is a great choice for roast as it is marbled and has a nice balance of meat and fat which, in turn, makes for great flavor and moistness. It is a slightly tougher cut of meat as well which makes it ideal to braise for several hours, allowing all of the flavors to meld and develop while the meat becomes tender.
McCargo uses a split habanero or scotch bonnet pepper to infuse some spiciness to the dish. Since I like to talk the edge a bit, I opted for adding in 2 minced jalapenos with the vegetables and allowing it to cook down. The resulting flavor was just spicy enough to give you a zing without being overpowering.
Once this pot roast was done, I stirred in the capers and decided to have this as a stew served over rice. The corresponding braising broth was rich with tomatoes, beef juices, and spices. Topped with the stewed veggies and served with a nice pint of beer, this was definitely the comfort food that I was hoping for!
Beef Pot Roast with Capers
Adapted from Aaron McCargo Jr.
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
1 (3 to 4-pound) boneless chuck steak
2 tablespoons sea salt
2 tablespoons cracked black pepper
1 medium onion, diced
2 carrots, peeled, cut in 1/2 and sliced on the bias
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 cinnamon stick
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1 cup beef stock
1 Scotch bonnet or habanero pepper (I used 2 diced jalapeno peppers for some extra spiciness)
1/4 cup drained capers
Chopped parsley, for garnish
White rice, for serving, optional
Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
In a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat, add the oil. Season the chuck roast with salt and pepper. Sear until nicely browned on all sides, about 2 minutes. Add the onions, carrots, garlic, oregano, cumin, cinnamon stick, tomatoes and beef stock. Make a slit in the Scotch bonnet or habanero pepper and add it to the sauce. Cover with a lid and braise in the oven until the meat is fork tender, about 1 1/2 hours. Remove from oven, fold in the capers and parsley and serve over rice, if desired.