* We linked this post at the Hearth and Soul Hop at A Moderate Life and Simple Lives Thursday at GNOWFGLINS *
This is one of the simplest recipes I've made in months. It has only 5 ingredients, but the flavor achieved by the long, slow braise in nothing but onion juice is really incredible. This one came from Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking. I added 50% more onion that it called for, and used a larger rump roast (the original calls for a 2 lb roast, I think mine was closer to 4).
There is no liquid added to this recipe -- just the onions. As they cook down they caramelize into a delicious sweet and savory sauce. Turning the roast frequently in the oven bastes it with this sauce, infusing the meat with a rich onion flavor reminiscent of French onion soup. If you use a good cut of meat (one with some fat and connective tissue) it will come out fall-apart tender and nice and moist. The best part is that if you're quick with a knife, you can have this recipe in the oven in 10 minutes flat!
Onion Braised Beef Roast
- 3-4 lb rump roast, trimmed of excess fat and bones removed (save for stock)
- 6 medium onions, sliced very thin
- 5 cloves
- 3-4 strips of bacon, cut into 1/4" x 3" pieces
- salt and pepper
Lard the beef with the bacon. This consists of stuffing the fatty bacon pieces into holes in the beef in order to add moisture and improve the tenderness of the final product. The flavor of the smoked bacon also adds a subtle undertone to the dish as a whole. The original recipe called for plain salted pork, but I think I actually like the bacon version better.
There exist devices known as larding needles made specifically for this task. I don't have one. The book says you can also use a knife steel or a sturdy chopstick, but I'm not willing to dirty my knife steel and I don't have chopsticks handy. I ended up just jabbing my paring knife way down in there and jamming the the bacon into the resulting holes with my fingers. I probably broke just about every rule imaginable there, but it worked. I think this step would be a lot easier if you have your bacon frozen pretty solid. I meant to try that this time, but I forgot (again) to put the bacon in the freezer. In the picture I left the bacon hanging out so you can see what's going on :
Place the cloves into the same holes you used for the bacon. Now place the sliced onions in a thick layer in the bottom of a casserole or dutch oven with a well-fitted lid:
Put the roast on top of the onions, and season liberally with salt and pepper:
Put the lid on and pop it in the oven for 3-1/2 hours. Every half hour or so, flip the meat over. This bastes it with the juices exuding from the onions and eventually results in a beautiful caramel colored roast. I threw some garnet yams in the oven for the last hour or so of baking for a side. Serve them sliced open like a baked potato with butter and swiss cheese for a topping. A full-bodied red wine makes a good final touch for this easy and delicious dinner. Enjoy!