Apricot-Braised Pot Roast
This luxuriously tender sweet-and-sour roast doesn't need a lot of attention during its long braise in the oven. The dried apricots dissolve into a velvety sauce: see if your kids can guess the fruity secret of their dinner.
Active time: 35 minutes
Total time: 5 hours
Yield: 8 servings
4-pound beef roast (chuck is perfect for this)
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 yellow onions, sliced
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 teaspoon kosher salt
freshly ground pepper
1 cup red wine
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups water
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup dried California apricots (Turkish are too bland for this)
1 tablespoon sugar
- Heat the oven to 375.
- In a Dutch oven or another heavy, lidded, ovenproof pot, heat a tablespoon of the oil for 10 minutes in the oven. Pat the meat dry with paper towels and season it well with salt and pepper, then roast it in the pot, uncovered, for half an hour.
- Meanwhile, heat the remaining oil in a large frying pan over medium heat and cook the onions, stirring, until they're turning soft and gold, then reduce the heat and cook, stirring occasionally, for another 20 minutes, at which point they should be deeply golden. Add the garlic, salt, and pepper, and stir for a minute or so, then add the broth, water, wine, tomato paste, apricots, and sugar, and bring to a boil.
- Pour the panful of onions and liquid over the roasted meat, then return it to the oven and cook, with its lid just barely ajar, for 4-5 hours -- flipping the roast after 2 hours -- until a fork can easily pull it apart. Check it now and then to make sure the liquid hasn't all cooked off; if it has, then stir in another cup of water every now and again.
- Let the roast rest in the pan for half an hour or so, then slice it (it will fall apart) and serve it with the apricot gravy from the pan (skim off any visible fat).
- If making ahead of time, chill the roast overnight, slice it the next day, and arrange the slices in a large, shallow baking dish, then pour the gravy over it, and heat it in a 350 oven for half an hour.
- Serve with noodles or mashed potatoes.