Don’t let the fancy name fool you – what we’re talking about here is pot roast. I took my inspiration for the flavors in this dish from the classic French sauce chasseur, or hunter sauce, so I thought I’d give credit where it’s due. Sauce chasseur is a hearty amalgam of tomatoes, mushrooms and wine, so I have all those flavors working here, plus a couple more just because. This is one you want to cook low and slow, and it’s going to take a while in the oven, so plan ahead. The end result will be worth it, though.
2 C red wine
8 oz crimini mushrooms, quartered
1 chuck roast, about 2.75 lbs
1 lb split beef shank
3 oz bacon, diced
2 T butter
2 medium yellow onions, sliced
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
2 T Dijon mustard
4-5 sprigs fresh thyme
1 quart beef stock or broth
8 oz carrots, cut into equal-size pieces
1 lb fingerling potatoes, cut into equal-size pieces
vegetable oil as needed
salt and pepper to taste
Place the red wine in a small pot and bring to a simmer. Reduce by half and set aside. In a large saute pan set over high heat, cook the mushrooms in a small amount of vegetable oil until nicely roasted. Remove from the pan and set aside.
Next, heat the vessel you’re going to cook the pot roast in over medium-high heat – a medium-size roasting pan should do the trick. Add enough vegetable oil to film the bottom of the vessel. Season the chuck roast and the beef shanks liberally with salt and pepper and sear on all sides. Remove from the pan and set aside.
Add the diced bacon to the pan and render until golden brown and crispy. Add the butter and the sliced onions sweat until the onions are soft and just starting to take on a golden hue, about 7-8 minutes. Add the tomatoes to the pan, bring to a boil and cook for 1-2 minutes to slightly reduce the tomato liquid.
At this point, bring the rest of the flavoring ingredients to the party – add the reduced wine, Dijon, thyme and beef stock to the pan and bring to a simmer. Season to taste with salt and pepper, keeping in mind that the liquid is going to reduce. Put the chuck and the beef shanks, along with any accumulated juices, into the pan, cover loosely with foil, and transfer to a low-temperature wood oven. You want your braise to be just barely simmering in the oven. If it’s too hot, you’re going to end up with tough, dry meat. Try placing your roasting pan on a rack to cut down on heat conduction from the bottom of the oven.
Cook, rotating the pan every so often, until you think the meat is about halfway done. This is the (only) tricky part of this recipe – judging the doneness of your meat. Cooking times are going to vary depending on your exact cut and type of beef, as well as oven temperature. You could be looking at anywhere from 2 to 4 hours. The difficulty is that you want to add the carrots and potatoes to the pan at a point when they’re going to have enough time to cook and be tender, but not so much time that they’re completely obliterated when the meat is done. I’d say to add them when you think the meat is about 1 1/2 hours from being done. At that point you can add the mushrooms and any accumulated mushroom juices to the pan as well.
When the beef is fall-apart tender and your carrots and potatoes are soft and have soaked up loads of delicious flavor, remove from the oven. Between the starch from the potatoes and the reduction of the cooking process, you should be left with a delicious, unctuous sauce in the pan. If the liquid is a little too thin for your taste, try this: Use a fork (or your fingers) to mash together 2 tablespoons of soft butter with 3 tablespoons of flour. When well mixed into a smooth paste, place your pot roast over low heat so that the liquid is simmering, then whisk in the flour mixture. Allow to cook for 4-5 minutes to let the flour work its thickening magic, and you should be left with a beautiful hearty sauce. (For the food-nerd people out there like me, this is called a beurre manié.)
And that’s that – you have a delicious (almost) 1-pot meal. Serve with a simple salad for some acidic contrast and some bread to soak up any sauce left on your plate and you’re good to go.