Thursday, November 11, 2010

Beef Pot Roast with Mushrooms and a Balsamic Sauce

      Before getting to today's Pot Roast post, I wanted to give anyone who'd like, the opportunity to learn about Monte's Ham thanks
to my appearance yesterday on The Joan Hamburg show on WOR710.  Just click here for the link.  I am on at about the 45 minute mark
and you can skip ahead if you'd like.  Here it is: . Enjoy!
Now to today's post...

  Let’s be honest:  Balsamic Vinegar has taken the place of red sauce Italian in terms of being found almost too often.   It’s unfortunate too that America’s love affair with this ingredient is so completely antithetical to the way it’s used in Italy.  There, it is used sparingly—one or two drops at a time and never to replace vinegar but to supplement it.  And real Balsamic is aged for years and when finally consumed, it is a deliciously thick liquid which you only need drops of.   I was fortunate enough to be given a magnificently authentic Balsamic vinegar at the Fine Foods Show in June.  As you can see in the photo, it even looks precious and has about as much to do with its supermarket counterpoint as red wine does to vinegar. We drizzled that balsamic on hard cheese and it was out of this world. 

Of course, the real thing does not come cheap.  I remember reading that Victor Hazan, husband of Marcella, used to pay more for his balsamic in his student days than he did for wine.   I’ve also read that you can buy the cheap stuff and boil it down until it is vaguely close to the consistency of the expensive stuff.   I’ve tried that but there still was no comparison to the real thing.  So you may wonder why I am posting this recipe at all:  Because it makes a genuinely delicious Pot Roast with lots of a very flavorful sauce.  And let's face it, Pot Roast is all about the sauce because without it, it's the grayest piece of meat to ever hit a plate.  And this recipe also made use of some mushrooms that I’d overlooked for a week in the Sub Zero and really wanted to use.  
To my mind, Pot Roast is pure comfort food.  It’s reliably easy to braise, and once the chopping and browning are achieved, it just sits in the oven until the appointed time and emerges to fill the kitchen with a wonderful smell.   It’s also very inexpensive—at least this one was as the  Bottom Round I used was on sale for $1.79 a lb.  What other kind of roast can you put on the table for a little over $6.00?   Pared with some skinny green beans and creamy mashed Yukon Gold potatoes, it was perfect Sunday Night supper to bring home from the beach.  Here’s the recipe which I hunted down on the Internet.  It’s from a home cook named Tanya who lives in Las Vegas.  Thank you Tanya!
Recipe for Beef Pot Roast with Mushrooms and a Balsamic Sauce

1/2 cup porcini mushrooms

1(14.5-ounce) can beef broth

3 ½ pounds boneless bottom round roast tied

3 tablespoons coarse salt

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

4 tablespoons olive oil

3 large yellow onions, finely chopped 

This beautiful bowl is from Bridgehampton Florist
1 pound button or cremini mushrooms

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon crushed rosemary

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar 

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

1.   Heat oven to 350°F (175°C).

2.   Combine the porcini and broth in small saucepan and bring to boil. Remove from heat and let stand for 10 minutes. Remove porcini with a slotted spoon, coarsely chop and set aside. Strain the broth through a fine sieve and set aside.

3.   Rub the meat with the salt and pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a roasting pan or large Dutch oven over medium high heat. Cook the meat until well-browned, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer meat to a plate; set aside.

4.   Reduce heat to medium; add the remaining oil, onions, cremini mushrooms, garlic and rosemary to the pan and cook stirring frequently, until mushrooms and onions are tender, about 5 to 7 minutes. Return the meat to the pot and add the porcini, strained broth, vinegar and sugar. Over high heat, bring to a boil. Cover. Transfer to oven and cook until the meat is tender, about 2 1/2 to 3 hours.

5.   Transfer meat to a cutting board and cover with foil to keep warm. With a slotted spoon, remove vegetables and reserve. Place the pan over high heat and boil the cooking liquid until reduced by half, about 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

6.   To serve, cut the roast across the grain into thin slices. Place them on a platter with the vegetables and spoon on some of the sauce.
Makes 6 servings.


  1. You did a great job on the radio show. Your voice is perfect for it. It made me want to try your wonderful product.


  2. Pot roast is definitely the ultimate comfort food! I would suggest trying grass fed beef the next time you make your meal. I work with La Cense Beef, and now is a great time to get the meat for cheaper because they are having a Grassfed Beef Holiday Sale. The flavor is simply delicious and I am sure you would enjoy it.

  3. The recipe for the beef pot roast with mushrooms and a balsamic sounds delicious. Pot roasts have so many different sauces which makes the dish and is definitely the ultimate comfort food. I redesign or change recipes to healthy dishes, There are so many books out there that will tell us which foods are better than others. I think most of us already know the answer. It's a matter of making choices. I buy all my grass fed beef on line to make it cost-effective. Pot roast does not have to be a special occasion or fattening, splurging type of food. I buy my beef on line to make it cost-effective. I consistently have healthy, high protein, juicy pot roasts.I buy on the internet so I know where my meat is coming from.I buy my beef on line in bulk so compensate for expensive costs. I love buying pot roasts and having a wonderfulpot roast recipes. My favorite recipes have come from LaCense Beef. Though I now work for them, they honestly offer some truly tasty recipes, as well as some really delicious grass fed beef you can order. I love getting my family and friends the steaks as gifts especially during the holidays. You should check it out.