Behold, Heartlandia, a new cookbook from the husband-wife team behind Portland, Oregon, restaurant the Country Cat Dinner House & Bar. He heads the kitchen, and she’s the pastry chef. Needless to say, there’s a lot of love in this food. But when was the last time you saw a braised pot of beef that didn’t inspire a lot of love?
When it comes to beef, everyone praises steak, but this tender braised chuck roast is the epitome of the cow for me. From an early age, I saw how a big pot of braised beef encouraged families to sit down and share food in a way individual steaks never could. Think of this dish as an elevated pot roast. Serve it with the wild mushroom steak sauce, or surround it with seasonal sides like boiled or butter-braised potatoes in the winter, roasted asparagus in the spring and fresh sliced tomatoes in the summer.
Over the years, I’ve come up with a hundred different ways to serve braised beef; pairing it with this wild mushroom steak sauce is my favorite. The combination of meaty wild mushrooms and classic steakhouse flavors like Worcestershire sauce really enhances the beef to make it a dish worthy of company. You’ll want to start preparing the sauce toward the end of the braising time and can use the deeply flavorful broth from the braise in place of the chicken or beef stock called for here. Use any leftover sauce on steak or pork chops or spoon it over poached eggs.
- kosher salt
- 1 (2 1/2- to 3-pound) boneless chuck roast
- 1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
- 1 medium fennel bulb, thinly sliced
- 8 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 1/2 cups dry spicy red wine, such as Cabernet or Merlot
- 1 quart chicken or beef stock
- freshly ground black pepper
Wild mushroom steak sauce
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3 large shallots, thinly sliced
- 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 pound small wild mushrooms, such as chanterelles, lobster mushrooms, porcinis or a combination, roughly chopped
- 1/4 cup brandy
- 1/4 cup worcestershire sauce
- 1 cup chicken or beef stock
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh thyme
For the beef
Liberally salt the chuck roast and set aside. In a medium bowl, combine the onion, fennel, garlic, and rosemary and toss to combine. Transfer half of the mixture to a large bowl and place the roast on top, then pack the remaining onion mixture over and around the roast. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 8 hours or overnight.
Arrange a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Remove the roast from the refrigerator and set aside to come up to room temperature.
In a large Dutch oven set over medium heat, warm the butter until it melts. Remove the roast from the bowl, brushing any vegetables that cling to it back into the bowl. Set the vegetables aside. Put the roast in the pot and brown on all sides, about 4 minutes per side.
Transfer the roast to a plate or cutting board and add the reserved vegetables to the pot. Raise the heat to medium-high and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are caramelized, about 5 minutes. Add the red wine, scraping the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon to loosen all the brown bits. Bring the red wine to a simmer and simmer until it has reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Add the stock and bring to a simmer. Return the roast to the pot, cover, and transfer to the oven to braise for 2 hours 30 minutes or until fork-tender.
Remove the roast from the oven and let it rest for 10 minutes in the braising liquid. Season with pepper. Slice the roast directly in the pot, then transfer it to a large platter. (Discard the braising liquid and aromatics.) Spoon the wild mushroom sauce over the top and dig in.
For the wild mushroom steak sauce
In a medium saucepan set over medium heat, warm 2 tablespoons of the butter until it turns blond. Add the shallots and cook, stirring frequently, until lightly caramelized, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant and lightly browned, about 1 minute.
Add the mushrooms to the pan and stir to incorporate. Cover the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until the natural juices release from the mushrooms to create a sauce base, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the brandy and cook, stirring occasionally, until the brandy is nearly absorbed, about 1 minute. Add the Worcestershire and cook for 1 minute more to let the flavors blend.
Raise the heat to high and add the stock, salt, and pepper to the pan. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has thickened and reduced by about one-quarter and there is an equal ratio of liquid to mushrooms in the pan, about 5 minutes. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon butter and the thyme to the pan and swirl the pan to incorporate. Remove the sauce from the heat and season with salt and pepper.