Don’t get me wrong, I love my mother’s pot roast. Coated with flour and braised with root vegetables, it is perfection in cold weather. But this pot roast (the recipe is based on one published in the January 2005 issue of the late, lamented Gourmet magazine) is different: it is braised in white wine with onions and a diced tomato; it is a bit of a chameleon. For example, serve it with sage-flavoured butternut squash, Brussels sprouts with nutmeg, and noodles—homemade would be lovely!—and you think winter and a sip of brandy for dessert. But—accompany it with parsleyed new potatoes and a salad of red butterhead lettuce, wedges of ripe, field-grown tomatoes dressed with balsamic vinegar, olive oil, pine nuts and shaved Parmesan—et voilà, summer!
Pot roast braised in white wine
2 tablespoons canola oil
2.5 pounds AAA sirloin tip roast, tied
1 1/2 teaspoons salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper, divided
3 medium onions, peeled, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
2 medium garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 large tomato, cored and cut into 1/4” dice
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 medium dried bay leaf
1 1/2 cups dry white wine
3/4 cup water
Preheat the oven to 325ºF.
Heat the oil in a heavy Dutch oven over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking. Meanwhile, rub the meat all over with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Place the meat in the hot oil and brown it on all sides for a total of about 10 minutes. Transfer the meat to a plate.
Add the onions to the pot and sauté until they are really soft and lightly browned, about 10 minutes, stirring often. Add garlic, tomato, thyme, rosemary, bay leaf and the remaining salt and pepper. Cook for another 2 minutes. Add the wine and water, bring all to a boil, place the meat back in the pot, cover tightly and place the pot on the middle shelf of the preheated oven. Cook for a total of 2 1/2 hours, turning the meat once after the first hour. Remove the meat to a plate and cover it lightly. Vigorously stir the sauce and, if it is too thin, boil it down to the desired thickness.
To serve, cut the meat into half inch-thick slices and place some of the sauce on top of each serving.