Monday, May 10, 2010

Slow Braised Beef ... Easy, Flavorful, and Melt in Your Mouth Good

I've got a line up of about five posts, but tonight's dinner was so good I wanted to write it up right away!

A few weeks ago I was a lucky winner of some delicious pesto courtesy of one of my favorite food bloggers, Alicia at The Clean Plate Club Blog. Lauren from Pestos with Panache was nice enough to let me pick my choice of the tasty flavors to try. I've been really into spicy chocolate recently, so I chose the Decadent Dark Chocolate & Ancho Chili Pesto. According to their website:

"Decadent Dark Chocolate & Ancho Chile Pesto marries some of the New World’s flavors—70% dark chocolate, ancho chilies, clove and vanilla—with the Old World’s fresh basil Genovese pesto. Hovering in the background is just a touch of smoky cumin to form a truly complex flavor."

I wanted to make something interesting with the pesto and had been tossing ideas around for a week or two. I had decided to make a roast beef this weekend to use for lunches during the week. When I got home from the store with my chuck roast, I went to my cookbook shelf for inspiration. I found a recipe for a slow-braised lamb (or goat!) Jalisco-style in my Mexican Everyday (Rick Bayless) cookbook. What I love about this cookbook are the riffs that follow each recipe. Following this recipe was a riff called Northern Mexican Barbacoa - using a beef chuck roast and potatoes. I had bought a yucca, so I swapped that in for the potatoes.

This was the easiest roast I've ever made - thanks to using the pesto in place of the marinade. When the roast was done, it was so tender it just melted in your mouth. The yucca held up to the long slow braise and the leftover juice made a great sauce. Delicious!! This is getting added to the favorite recipe/cooking method list.

Good Cook Doris' Riff on Rick Bayless' Riff on Slow Braised Lamb (or Goat) Jalisco-Style
1 3-3.5 pound beef chuck roast, tied
2 tablespoons Decadent Dark Chocolate & Ancho Chili Pesto, thawed
1-3 medium yucca, peeled and sliced into 1 inch rounds
1 tablespoon kosher salt
Enough water to cover the yucca and about a quarter of the roast
An extra tablespoon of pesto for the sauce

I used my 5-quart slow cooker for this.

Cover the bottom of the slow cooker with the slice yucca
Sprinkle the salt over the yucca
Massage the pesto into the roast - making sure to cover all sides evenly
Place the roast on top of the yucca
Pour in enough water to cover the yucca and about a quarter of the roast
Turn on the slow cooker to the High - Six Hour setting
Go about your day!

The hubby is very proud of this aerial photo.

When the roast is done, take out very carefully (mine practically fell apart) and remove the string
Remove the yucca and put into a bowl
Carefully ladle out (or pour) liquid into a dish
I made my roast in advance, so I let it cool and then put in the fridge for tonight

To prepare the juice
Scrape off any fat that has gelled on the top of the juice
Pour the leftover liquid into a sauce pan and add the additional tablespoon of pesto
Bring to a boil
Cook for 10-15 minutes, until the juice has reduced and concentrated

Reheat the meat and yucca with some juice in a 350 degree oven for 10 minutes
Serve, ladling more juice on top


  1. The photo is a testament to my height and reach.

  2. Lara - That looks amazing and delicious. I would have never thought to use the dark chocolate with beef - but it just sounds so "right" especially with the chile's! So glad you enjoyed your pesto!!

  3. Wow! This looks fantastic! And I love that you used a Yucca! Ive never worked with them and you are inspiring me!

  4. It's so interesting to see how you used your pesto. I got the prosciutto and almond one, and I'm still not sure what I'm going to make with it.

  5. Thanks for the comments! Boston - the yucca was really easy to use. Next time I get it I want to try yucca fries.

    Megan - I bet that pesto would taste good with something like chicken and asparagus. Let me know what you come up with!

    Alicia - my inspiration was mole sauce (chocolate/chili).

  6. Wow! This looks fantastic! And I love that you used a Yucca! Ive never worked with them and you are inspiring me!


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