To make a beef, bacon and onion pot roast for four fine diners, you will need:
- 1kg beef chuck
- 250g bacon
- 6 medium onions
- 14 cloves of garlic
- 1 heaped teaspoon of whole black peppercorns
- 2 heaped teaspoons of whole allspice
- 45g butter
- 750ml dry white wine
- 250ml water
- Quarter teaspoon of crushed, dried chillies
- 2 heaped tablespoons of chopped Italian parsley
- 1 bay leaf
- Coarse salt on demand
1 First, ask your artisanal blockman to cut the bacon into 5mm slices and the chuck into four 250g steaks. Back home, finish the bacon preparation by cutting these thick slices into
strips 25mm long and 5mm wide.
2 Crush, peel and mince all 14 cloves of garlic. Peel and thinly slice the onions.
3 Heat the oven to 180°C. While it’s warming up, select a large, ovenproof casserole with lid, or a cast-iron Dutch oven. Within your cooking vessel of choice, at medium-low hob heat, melt 30g butter, then add the thick strips of bacon. Let it rip for 10 minutes while stirring from time to time. Remove the bacon and reserve it under cover for later in the proceedings.
4 Lightly salt the steaks and brown them in batches – two at a time – on both sides in the butter and bacon fat mix that is still in the pot. Remove and reserve under cover.
5 Add the prepped onions and garlic to the pot, marginally raise the heat to medium-high, and stir-fry the vegetables until the onions are soft and translucent. Keep them moving; a burnt onion can ruin the whole show. Add about 100ml water and scrape the bottom of the pot. Remove the contents (solids and thickened liquid, if any) and reserve under cover.
6 When the pot is cool, use your well-washed hands to rub the remainder of the butter
(about 15g) over the interior surfaces of the pot. Lay half the cooked onion and garlic mix in a layer on the bottom, with the browned beef chuck in a single layer on top. Distribute the whole peppercorns, allspice, crushed dried chillies, parsley, solitary bay leaf and the cooked bacon strips over the beef. Top this assemblage with the rest of the cooked onions.
7 Pour in the white wine and add a little water to completely submerge the meat and vegetables.
8 Bring the pot up to a gentle simmer for a couple of minutes, then fit the lid and stick
it in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes.
9 Mop your steaming brow with a fresh dishcloth.
10 Drop the oven to 120°C and let it gently simmer for three hours, or until the chuck
is as tender as you desire.
11 Kill the heat, remove the lid, and leave the cooking pot in the open oven for half an hour.
12 Serve with plenty of plain white rice, moistened with the thin but truly glorious stock.
David Basckin is a freelance journalist and videographer.