Summer is coming!
It doesn’t have the same ring to it, does it? Even though Winterfell has been burnt to the ground, this weeks Game of Thrones meal celebrates the family that began it all, namely the Stark men (what’s left of them). Boys really. Before his trek beyond the wall, young Bran was used to feasting on Roast Aurochs, Onions in gravy and other such fare meant for royalty. Now it’s all oatcakes and acorn paste. Mmmmm.
Such food Bran had never seen; course after course after course, so much that he could not manage more than a bite or two of each dish. There were great joints of aurochs roasted with leeks, venison pies.…
—A CLASH OF KINGS
Since I cannot find a rift in my home that leads into Weteros (and believe me, I’ve tried), I haven’t got any Aurochs to roast. I figure beef will do. A classic pot roast for a Classic Sunday dinner!
1 (4 to 5-pound) prime boneless beef chuck roast, tied
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups chopped carrots (4 carrots)
2 cups pearl onions, peeled
2 cups chopped celery (4 stalks)
2 cups chopped leeks, white and light green parts (2 to 4 leeks)
5 large garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
2 cups good red wine, such as Burgundy
2 tablespoons Cognac or brandy
1 (28-ounce) can whole plum tomatoes in puree
1 cup chicken stock, preferably homemade
3 branches fresh thyme
2 branches fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature
1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
2. Pat the beef dry with a paper towel. Season the roast all over with salt and pepper. In a large Dutch oven, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium/high. Add the roast and sear for 4 to 5 minutes per side until nicely browned. Set aside.
3. Turn your heat down to medium and add 2 more tablespoons of olive oil to the Dutch oven. Add the carrots, pearl onions, celery, leeks, garlic, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper and cook over medium heat for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender but not browned.
4. Add the wine and Cognac and bring to a boil.
5. Add the tomatoes, chicken stock, bouillon cube, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Make a little thyme and rosemary bundle by tying them together with kitchen twine and toss them into the pot. Put the roast back into the pot, bring to a boil, and cover.
6. Place in the oven for 2 1/2 hours, until the meat is fork tender or about 160 degrees F internally. Turn the heat down to 250 degrees F after about an hour to keep the sauce at a simmer.
7. Remove the roast to a cutting board. Remove the herb bundle and discard.
8. Skim off as much fat as possible from the sauce. Transfer half the sauce and vegetables to a blender and puree until smooth. Pour the puree back into the pot, place on the stovetop over low heat, and return the sauce to a simmer. Add 2 tablespoons flour and the butter in a small bowl and mash them together with a fork. Stir into the sauce and simmer for 2 minutes, stirring until thickened. Taste for seasonings.
9. Remove the strings from the roast, slice the meat and serve warm with the sauce spooned over it.