Tuesday, March 11, 2014

an Ode to the humble pot roast

Pot roast:

The lowliest cut of beef turned into the most succulent comfort food. I mean, what says comfort more than pot-roast? Immediately thoughts turn to Sunday evening meals; family is near, there’s good conversation amidst the bickering (it is family after all) and always a decent bottle of wine.
Well as soon as I tasted these two wines I started thinking of pot-roast, and I hope the wineries take that as a compliment! For not all red wines under $20 can actually stand-up to the richness, the intense “beefiness” that is great, slow-cooked meat. These wines deliver concentration, balance and value… perfect for your Wintery-type braised dishes.


2010 Milton Park Shiraz

88+ points, Very Good Valuemilton park shiraz

$14.99 www.BCLiquorStores.com

… deep, dark and inky in the glass – it even looks like a wine for beef! Rich aromas of stewed cherries and blackberries, some fresh thyme and rosemary with that background of cracked pepper that is signature Shiraz. Crisp, light acid and approachable, chewy tannin, the flavors in the wine are much in-line with the aromas and are rich enough to pair with dinner but fresh enough to appreciate a glass or two on their own.
*Shiraz: a note on Shiraz; it is the exact same varietal (grape) as Syrah… no difference at all! The only thing that is worthy of noting between the two is that in the past Syrah was considered the French style of winemaking (and so more restrained, less obvious fruit and more earth tones) and Shiraz was the Australian style meaning big bold fruit, higher alcohol. Well, the times have changed and in a recent meeting of the #WineTastingCircle of Vancouver, industry professionals couldn’t tell which was Australian, American, Canadian or Spanish Syrah/Shiraz. It’s not that there are no differences, but that wine-making has grown and evolved that much in the past 10 years. If you think that you don’t enjoy Australian Shiraz but enjoy full-bodied wines with great concentration, balance and structure then you owe it to yourself to “pony-up” the $15 and give this little gem a try.

Jumilla “Las Hermanas” organic Monastrell

jumilla las hermanas monastrell89+ points, Excellent Value

$15.99 www.BCLiquorStores.com

… fresh, fruity, inviting: this is the wine you open as you’re cooking and hope that you have a second bottle for dinner! The aromas are plush with red cherries, currants and young plums and the palate has just enough acid to crave a bit of fatty food but, once again, balanced enough to appreciate thoroughly on its own. A solid wine, this is already on my Top 100 list for 2014~!
*Monastrell: not familiar with it? I find that this grape is very much like Merlot, which all of us can remember as fresh, fruit-driven flavors. This is a classic to serve at social events, but when well-made can offer concentration and structure to pair with classic Canadian winter dishes like pot-roast, tortierre and Shepard’s pie/Cottage pie. As per this particular producer, it’s small wonder that the European Portfolio Manager for the BC Liquor Board (one of Canada’s three Masters-of-Wine: Barbara Phillip) has named this as an “Insider Pick”. This would be a great value even if it wasn’t organic!


Making beautiful food doesn’t have to be time consuming! And while I can admire the economy of throwing everything into one pot and turning it on, when plating that food it can look sometimes like a plate for the dog rather than the (fussy) kids.
This plate of pot-roast took relatively little extra time to prepare for dinner @ 5:30:
STEP 1:   2pm:      pot-roast in the oven @ 350F (about a 4lb roast)
STEP 2:   4:30:      baked potato and spaghetti squash in the oven
STEP 3:   5:00:      sauté the whole mushrooms on medium-high for 5 minutes, then in the oven
STEP 4:  5:20       steam the carrots 5 minutes, then throw the broccolini in, continue steaming 3 minutes
Kristof’s Pot Roast Recipepot roast with white truffle mushrooms and veg
1 fl oz     canola oil
1              yellow onion, finely sliced
6              cloves garlic, finely sliced
4 lb         pot roast
1 lb         green cabbage, rough chopped
½ bottle red wine
1 L           beef stock
½ tsp        each: fresh thyme and fresh rosemary
*salt and pepper to taste
  • Start by sautéing the onions in the oil on medium until translucent
  • Add the garlic and continue cooking until it’s turned a nutty brown
  • Add the beef, sear on all sides. When it’s on it’s last sear then add the cabbage
  • When the beef is finished searing, add the wine, then stock, then herbs
  • DO NOT salt the dish until it’s finished cooking… as it reduces, the flavors will concentrate. If it tastes perfect at the start then by the end you run the risk of having salty food!
  • Just before serving slice the roast on your cutting board and thicken the juice with cornstarch – excellent gravy! Don't forget to rest the roast on that cutting board for a good 15 minutes to ensure it stays moist!

So enjoy your pot-roast dinner with great wine and family or friends. Treat yourself, spoil someone else, and above all: savor the moment~! Many thanks to the Christopher Stewart Wine Agency, representatives in Canada, for the sample bottles. www.christopherstewartwineandspirits.com
As always, I look forward to your thoughts, comments and questions. Here, or:
on Twitter @AStudentofWine

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