am a stove-top girl. I will light the fire before turning on the oven most days. I love the sear, the long braises, the thickened sauces I achieve when cooking over a flame. It’s my go-to cooking method. But now that we’re cooking up a storm for the Yamim Tovim, we likely need to reduce traffic on our stove-top or oven, depending on your regular preference. I set out to braise a big roast two ways, and see which one we’d find moist and delicious.
- 1 4-lb (2-kg) minute roast
- 1 Tbsp sea salt
- 1½ tsp cracked black pepper
- 3 Tbsp canola oil
- 2 onions, sliced
- 2 cups dry red wine
- ½ tsp ground coriander
- ½ tsp nutmeg
- 2 cups water
Season minute roast with salt and pepper.
Heat a large Dutch oven or a heavy pot over a bit more than medium heat. Add oil and sear roast, pressing down to get a hard, even sear, about 2 minutes. Flip and repeat on the other side for an additional 2 minutes. Prop the meat on its side to get the edges, about 1 minute per side. Transfer to a plate or baking dish.
Add the sliced onions to the pot and toss to coat in the remaining fat, scraping the bottom to loosen any stuck-on bits. The onions will release their moisture and make it easier to scrape. Cook until onions are deeply golden, about 7 minutes. Pour in the wine. Season the meat with ground coriander, nutmeg, and another pinch of salt and pepper. Add water and bring to a boil.
Note: I flavored the sauce with warm spices (coriander and nutmeg), but feel free to swap with your own favorite spices or aromatics.
Method 1: Oven
Heat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Remove the pot from the heat and pour the onion mixture over the meat. Cover tightly with foil and bake, undisturbed, for 3½–4 hours or until a fork can easily be inserted into the meat. If using a Dutch oven, you can place it directly into the oven to braise. Cool overnight in the refrigerator and slice against the grain. Heat in leftover sauce before serving.
Method 2: Stovetop
Return the meat to the pot, cover, and reduce heat to a gentle simmer over the lowest flame. Baste occasionally, and flip the meat every hour. Braise for 3½–4 hours or until a fork can easily be inserted into the meat. Cool overnight in the refrigerator and slice against the grain. Heat in leftover sauce before serving.
I vote for the oven method for reliability and simplicity. The oven has heat coming from all sides in a temperature-controlled environment, so the results are consistent. The stove has the convenience of being able to reduce the sauce to something thicker, but unless you use high-quality cookware, you can get hot spots that can potentially burn the meat.
(Originally featured in Family Table, Issue 711)
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