5 Spice Pot Roast

Oh, for the love of a good pot roast –  beefy and tender, plopped onto a bed of creamy mashed potatoes and smothered with savory pan juices………..is your mouth watering yet? 
Pot roast is the ultimate comfort food and my friend, Rich Bowers (otherwise known as Topeka’s legendary Radio Rich!) whole-heartedly agrees. We often discuss “all things pot roast” when I am invited to be a guest on his radio program (http://www.radiorichandfriends.com/). As a matter of fact, I still vividly remember the day that man nearly fell in a heap at my feet when I delivered him a pot roast and vegetables, still warm from the oven. Yes, I knew he would appreciate it, but I had no idea he would react in such a manner! All because of a warm pot roast and memories of Mom…..oh yes, the power of food.
From that day forward, each time I see Rich he never fails to ask “Hey, Chef Alli – do you have a pot roast in your purse?” This always make me smile because I wish (ALMOST as much as he does) that I could simply pop open my bag and POOF! a perfect pot roast would magically appear for him. Not that pot roast is hard to make, mind you, it just takes a little time and planning, and so far, neither I nor my purse has truly mastered the art of organized time management, but we’re working on it.
Below is another of my tried-and-true pot roast recipes, this one created in honor of Valentine’s Day 2011 – Food for Your Lover!  Yesterday, many of you enjoyed a sample of this 5 Spice Pot Roast over mashed potatoes when you stopped by Topeka Hy-Vee for my cooking demonstration on the sales floor – so glad you took time to talk “food” with me.

Chef Alli’s 5 Spice Pot Roast
1 chuck roast, 2-3 lbs.
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
1 yellow onion, sliced
2 carrots, chopped
2 celery ribs, chopped
14 oz. can stewed tomatoes, with juice
2 heads garlic, cut in half crosswise (yes, 2 heads, not cloves)
1 tsp. five spice powder (at Hy-Vee, you’ll find this in the Asian section)
½ tsp. red pepper flakes
3 bay leaves
2 tsp. sugar
2 cups dry red wine
4 cups chicken broth (substitute beef or vegetable, if you prefer)
1 batch prepared mashed potatoes

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Remove roast from refrigeration; season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper; let roast set for 30 minutes.

In a large enameled cast-iron casserole or Dutch oven, heat oil over medium high heat; sear roast until very nicely browned and crusty on all sides. Transfer roast to a plate. Add onion, carrots, and celery to same pot and cook over moderate heat until lightly browned, approx. 5-6 minutes. Add tomatoes, garlic, spices, sugar and wine; bring to a boil and cook this mixture until reduced by half, scraping up any browned bits stuck to the bottom of pot, approx. 5 minutes. Add beef broth and bring to a simmer; add roast and cover pot. Braise roast in oven for approx. 4 hours or until meat is very fork tender.
Transfer roast to a baking sheet. Strain liquid from stock pot, discarding fat that rises to the surface; boil over high heat, whisking often, until liquid is reduced to 1 cup thickened sauce, approx. 12-15 minutes.

Serve chunks of roast on serving plates over beds of creamy mashed potatoes, drizzled with sauce.

Happy Valentine’s Day 2011!

Now You’re Cookin’,
Chef Alli


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