Mother’s Pot roast
Lisa Schroeder, chef/owner, Mother’s Bistro & Bar, Portland, Ore., www.mothersbistro.com, wine pairing by Marlene Rossman Yield: 60 6-oz. servings 40 lbs. beef chuck, trimmed and tied 1/2 c. salt 3 T. freshly ground black pepper 2 c. vegetable oil 15 yellow onions, coarsely chopped (about 1 heaping gal.) 20 carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped (about 1/2 gal.) 30 ribs celery, coarsely chopped (1/2 gal.) 30 cloves garlic 1 1/2 qts. tomato purée 2 c. all-purpose flour 1 3/4 qts. dry red wine Big bouquet garni (5 bay leaf, 10 sprigs thyme, 10 sprigs parsley) 3-4 gal. beef or veal stock Method (1) Preheat oven to 350°F Using a sharp knife, trim off any ex. cess fat or gristle from the meat. Season with salt and pepper. (2) Using a brasier just large enough to hold meat in a single layer, place pan over high heat for several minutes until hot. When hot, add oil and heat until shimmering (adding oil after the pan is hot keeps it from breaking down and getting smoky while the pan heats). Add the beef, and brown on all sides. Transfer meat to a plate or baking sheet, and set aside. (3) Reduce heat to medium-high. Add onion, carrot, celery and garlic to pot; cook until lightly browned, stirring occasionally. Adjust heat to medium, and continue cooking until very soft, about 20 minutes. Stir in tomato purée, increase heat to medium-high, and cook until slightly browned, about 5 minutes. (4) Lower heat to medium, add flour and mix well with a wooden spoon to make a roux. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 3-4 minutes. Stir wine into roux a little at a time, allowing roux to absorb the liquid before adding more. Be sure to scrape up any browned bits. Return the meat to the pan. Add the bouquet garni and enough stock to rise 2/3 of the way up the meat (don’t cover the meat entirely). Bring to a boil over high heat. Remove from heat, cover pot tightly with a lid or aluminum foil, and place
on center rack of oven. Braise until beef is fork-tender, about 4 hours. (5) If serving immediately, lift beef out of pot using tongs or a spatula, and keep warm on a plate tented with foil. Strain sauce into another pot. Let sauce sit for a few minutes. Then degrease sauce until most of the fat is removed. If the sauce is too thin, set pot over medium-high heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until liquid reduces and is slightly thicker (more roux can be added, if necessary). Taste and adjust the seasonings. (6) Using a sharp slicing knife, cut beef across the grain into thick slices and serve with sauce. (Pictured with mashed potatoes and sautéed squash.) Wine pairing: Mother will swoon over Donelan Cuvee Moriah 2008 (California), an astonishing blend of Grenache and Syrah to accompany the pot roast.
place that people want to go where the food doesn’t seem pretentious.”
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Grown-up grilled cheese
Grilled cheese is another handheld comfort food staple that is as versatile as it is accessible. For Dick Bruley, founder of Chedd’s Gourmet Grilled Cheese in Denver (www.chedds.com), it was more than just his favorite meal after a day of snowboarding; it was the perfect vehicle around which to build a fast-casual concept. But he wanted the concept to be much more upscale than the traditional American cheese on white bread. So when Wisconsin-born Bruley launched Chedd’s in 2003, he opted to only serve sandwiches with Wisconsin cheese; on any given day the restaurant has approximately 35 cheeses on inventory. “One of the reasons why we were successful is that we have so much variety for the grilled cheese that people can really come in and pick to what their tastes are,” Bruley says. “And the nice thing about that is it can be a little more upscale than you had as a kid, but you still
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have those memories associated with it.” While Chedd’s offers kid-friendly grilled cheeses—“but no American cheese,” insists partner Jamie Jalazo—the restaurant is known for more adventurous variations like horseradish Cheddar, wild morel and leek Jack and dill havarti. Chedd’s also serves side salads, rotating daily soups and cheesecake and cookies to round out this classic offering. Bruley says that while the perfect grilled cheese changes depending on the time, place and what you’re hungry for, it is the cheese that is always the key. “The big thing is that melty, creamy, stringy cheese. When you pull the two pieces apart, you should get the strings of melted cheese.” He says he has often watched Chedd’s diners pull their sandwich apart and wrap the cheese around their fingers in the customary fashion. “It always gave me a warm, fuzzy feeling to see customers do that because it goes back to those fond memories as kids. You can see that because even adults do that kid thing with the cheese.”
24 | Chef