Last June 24th, yes it does seem like it was decades ago, I posted a recipe for “Blueberry and Nectarine Crisp” and mentioned one of my “girlfriends,” Anne Burrell. I promised to feature her in a culinary crush post and today is the day! Ah yes, crazy hair and goofy personality aside, my girl Anne can cook! Sunday I made her pot roast recipe and it was by far the absolute best pot roast these tastbuds have ever encountered. I am often asked which celebrity chefs are my favorites. There are many I admire and many I find totally annoying but I judge them on the food they cook and Anne cooks food I want to eat! Maybe it is her training in Italy that makes me a bit bias but she definitely has the gift. What sets her apart is her ability to layer flavors. She elevates the most common dishes by adding ingredients that simply take them to a higher level. I have never been disappointed with any of her recipes and her show, “Secrets of a Restaurant Chef,” leaves me salivating and dying to be invited to her house for dinner.
Great news, fellow cookbook addicts, her book, “Cook Like a Rock Star” is available for your collection! I purchased this assembly of 125 recipes, lessons and culinary secrets as soon as I heard about it and it has not disappointed. Mario Batali states in his forward, “I have known and cooked with Anne Burrell for fifteen years and have always known that she was ready for prime time. I cannot remember any dish of food she ever made that left me anything but purely satisfied.” He summarizes stating, “Like Anne, this book is fun, easy to understand, and ultimately delicious.” I think that sums it up. In my humble opinion, this is a book full of recipes that reflect her style of casual yet serious food and is a gem among my collection.
That said, let’s get on with the pot roast. It was one of her featured recipes on the above mentioned show and although I changed it slightly, I kept close to the original. My house has had some amazing smells over the years but the aroma produced by this masterpiece was incredible. Here is how it goes down, a bit time comsuming but easy.
“ROCK STAR” POT ROAST Servings 6-8
Extra-virgin olive oil
One 3-lb. chuck roast, tied
Kosher salt (I use sea salt because that’s what I do)
3 ribs celery, thinly sliced on the bias
2 onions, thinly sliced
1 pinch crushed red pepper
3 cloves garlic, peeled, smashed and finely chopped
½ c tomato paste
½ c red wine vinegar
4 c chicken stock
3 bay leaves
2 strips orange zest (removed from orange with vegetable peeler)
2 star anise
1 fresh thyme bundle
2 ½ c butternut squash, cut into ½-inch dice (I substituted one very large sweet potato)
1 ½ c Jerusalem artichoke, cut into ½-inch dice (I substituted one very large russet potato)
6-8 dried figs, stems removed and quartered (I eliminated these as I didn’t have them but think they would add another layer of deliciousness)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Coat a large Dutch oven with olive oil and bring to medium-high heat.
- Sprinkle the chuck roast generously with salt, add it to the Dutch oven and brown it on all sides. Remove from the pan and reserve.
- Drain the excess oil, lower the heat to medium, add a few drops of new oil and add the celery, onions and crushed red pepper to the pan. Season with salt and cook until they are soft and very aromatic, 8-10 minutes.
- Add the garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes.
- Add the tomato paste and cook for another 1-2 minutes.
- Toss in the vinegar, stir to combine and cook for 2-3 minutes.
- Stir in 3 c of the chicken stock. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed.
- Toss in the bay leaves, orange zest, star anise and thyme bundle.
- Return the meat to the pan, cover and put it into the oven for 1 hour.
- Remove the pan from the oven, turn the meat over and check the liquid level. If liquid has gone down, add ½ c of the stock. Return the pan to the oven and cook for another hour.
- Remove the pan from the oven. Remove the meat from the pan and add the squash and Jerusalem artichokes (or sweet and russet potatoes, as I used) and figs, if using. Add the final ½c of stock and stir to combine. Taste again and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Return the meat to the pan, cover, and cook for another 30 minutes.
- Remove the lid and roast until vegetables are tender and the liquid is reduced, another 15-20 minutes (I found it took a little longer, perhaps 30 minutes).
- Remove the pan from the oven. Remove the meat from the pan and skim off any excess fat from the surface of the cooking liquid, if need be.
- Slice the meat across the grain in ½-inch slices and serve with the veggies and pan juices.
Anne suggests pairing with a Pinot Noir. Trust me when I say, this is not your grandma’s or mama’s pot roast. This is aromatic, melt in your mouth and full of flavor. The meat is tender and moist, not the dried out hunk of meat we have seen much too often. I highly recommend trying this whenever comfort and warmth is in order.
Anne says it best, “It doesn’t matter who you are, what size or shape you are, what day of the week it is. If you whip up a quick meal from scratch that you are proud of, rather than just open a container or pull a tub out of the fridge, then you, my friend, are a rock star. Own it and have fun!”