West Town Tavern Pot Roast

November 22, 2010

Serves 8

For the short ribs
8 square-cut boneless beef short rib pieces, 9 ounces each
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/4 cup canola oil
2 carrots, scrubbed and roughly chopped
2 ribs celery, roughly chopped
1 large red onion, cut into eighths
2 large bay leaves
10 sprigs flat leaf parsley
11/2 cups zinfandel

For the Black Vinegar Sauce
4 cups red wine vinegar
11/2 cups packed dark brown sugar
3/4 cup dark raisins

Raise a Glass
Elderton Botrytis Semillon from New South Wales in Australia is a compelling wine with this dessert. The Semillon is concentrated by the effects of botrytis making it show loads of mango, apricot, maple and yeast. The fragrant custard, syrupy caramel and salty peanuts.

West Town Tavern is known for its pot roast. The secret is simple: we use boneless beef short ribs instead of the usual beef chuck. When guests ask me what the real secret is, I just smile! Sometimes (rarely) you can find boneless short ribs at the supermarket, but to be sure, preorder them from your butcher.

Make the short ribs
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Sprinkle short rib pieces with salt and pepper to taste. In a heavy 5-quart sauté pan heat the canola oil and sear the beef on all sides until brown. Leave the beef in the pan.

Add the carrots, celery, onion, bay leaves and parsley to the pan. Pour in the wine and just enough water to come 3/4 of the way up the sides of the beef. Bring to a boil. Remove pan from heat, cover with a lid or foil and braise in the oven until meat is very tender, 3 to 31/2 hours. Let meat stand in the braising liquid until ready to serve. Short ribs may be prepared up to this point, and refrigerated, covered, in the liquid for 2 days. Short ribs may also be frozen.

Make the sauce
While the short ribs are braising, in a 3-quart saucepan combine the vinegar and brown sugar and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer rapidly until liquid reduces to 21/2 cups. Add the raisins. Continue to simmer the sauce and reduce to 2 cups. Sauce should be black, syrupy and glossy. Be careful sauce does not over-reduce and burn. Let sauce cool to room temperature and serve with pot roast. Sauce may be made up to 1 week ahead and refrigerated. Warm gently in the microwave or in a small saucepan before using. Drizzle about 2 tablespoons of sauce per serving, garnishing the plate with the raisins.

Raise a Glass
This wine-braised beef short rib (a favorite at West Town Tavern) is juicy and tangy. The Black Vinegar Sauce is sweet and sour. A concentrated New World blend of syrah and petite sirah stands up to and complements the intensity of all of the components of this dish. Vina Robles in Paso Robles produces an excellent blend of these two powerful varietals.

Serve this, as we do, with Garlic Mashed Potatoes (recipe, page 35), and Caramelized Brussels Sprouts (recipe, page 34). Reserve the braising liquid to reheat the pot roast if prepared ahead or to use in soup, risotto or sauces.

Reprinted with permission copyright West Town Tavern: Contemporary Comfort Food by Susan Goss with Drew Goss

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