OMG! Deborah Krasner's Wine-Braised Beef Pot Roast

Perfect days are rare in Minnesota.  Today was one of those days, sunny, mid-70's (it is only May remember), low humidity, perfect.  It's also rare the I don't relish a day in my kitchen.  Today was a day I wanted to do both but the kitchen won.
We started the day at Farmer's Market, one of my favorite places in the cities, especially this time of year.  The St. Paul Farmer's Market is all locally sourced which I love.  All participants in the market have to be within a 50 mile radius of the cities.
I started at Eichten's for some cheese.  My favorite of their cheeses is the herbed gouda.  This herbed gouda, with a couple of slices of tomato makes one of the best grilled cheese sandwiches you will ever have!
I also needed eggs so we stopped at Otis Family Farm.  I asked them to bring me some bones to make stock.  They don't generally bring them because they take up a lot of space and they sell them for cheap, but if you ask, they'll bring them the next week.  So next Saturday I'll be making stock!
We picked up more spinach, rhubarb (and a rhubarb plant so I can become my own dealer!), some beautiful white and red radishes, and green onions.  There was more I wanted but I know what we can consume in a week
After Farmer's Market we hit Gerten's.  Gertens, for those of you who don't know, is probably the best nursery in the Twin Cities and lucky for us it's right here in Inver Grove Heights.  Last week at Farmer's Market I bought my summer herb plants (basil, oregano, sage, etc.) and I needed a pot for them.  An hour later we left with the required pot, a stand for it, potting soil, herb soil mix, and three plants for the front yard!
When we got home the last thing I wanted to was process all the stuff we had bought.  I wanted to be outside in the perfect weather planting.  Unfortunately for me Dave can plant, he can't process groceries or start a roast!  Oh yea, and I had 4 dozen specialty cupcakes I had to make today too!  So I started cleaning the veggies we'd bought and prepping to make all those cupcakes.
Last weekend I visited Butternut Woods Farm, our source for grass-fed, Highland beef.  Only the best beef on the planet!  I wish I could describe the flavor.  I want to say meaty and full but of course meat tastes like meat right?  When I picked up my spring box I decided the first thing I was going to make was a roast.  While at the farm they let me peruse their copy of Good Meat by Deborah Krasner.  I decided on her Wine-Braised Beef Pot Roast right then and there.
This is the beautiful roast!

There's a little bit of mise en place required for this recipe.  First, the mushrooms need to be soaked.   I’m not a mushroom fan.  I don’t like the texture but I appreciate the flavor in cooked sauces.  These are the stinkiest mushrooms I’ve ever used, but I used them anyway.  I knew they would add a good earthiness to the whole meal.  Dave loves earthiness!  The recipe calls for a cup and a half of minced onion and a cup of shredded carrots.  These are sweated in olive oil with some rosemary, bay leaves and whole cloves.

This mixture is removed from the dutch oven and the meat is browned before it’s all put back together with some diced tomatoes, tomato paste and an entire bottle of wine!  What recipe that calls for an entire bottle of wine could be bad?  I used a merlot from Chile.

Now I had two hours to work on cupcakes while the meat braised in the oven.  Six dozen custom cupcakes later (the ones with chocolate frosting are filled with fluffy frosting and the ones with the red top are filled with raspberry!) I had just enough time to make a double-batch of spinach pesto before it was time to work with the meat again!

After a couple hours, the “bits” are strained from the sauce.  The meat is simmered in the sauce as it reduces by a third.  While this is happening I made the yummiest (is that a word?) potatoes from the Noble Pig blog!  The recipe was "salt and vinegar" potatoes.  Like salt and vinegar chips?  You'll love these potatoes.  I used a lime infused EVOO so I made "hint of lime" potatoes.  You can check that blog entry out here.

The sauce was still a bit thin for our tastes even after reducing so I added a bit of corn starch/water to thicken it up and finished it with butter.  Butter wasn't in the recipe but how else would you finish gravy?  The flavor had a rich, earthy flavor.  The wine and herbs came through beautifully.

In the last few minutes I sautéed up some of the fresh asparagus we bought at Farmer’s Market this morning.
Delicious!  Amazing!  So stinkin’ good!  Was it the grass-fed beef?  Was it the recipe?  Was it the bottle of Block 8 Zinfandel from Seghesio we opened to have with the meal?  Who knows!  Who cares?  This was one of the best dinners I’ve made and I’ll definitely be repeating it!  If you’re nice, maybe I’ll invite you over!

Was it worth missing one of the few perfect days in Minnesota.  I’m going to have to say yes!
And, lucky for us, there’s some left over.  Tomorrow we’re going to seek out some good crusty rolls and make sandwiches out of the left overs.  I’m drooling over it already!

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