Last night I had my new next-door neighbors, Nora, RT and their 2-year-old son Trey, over for Sunday Supper. Our mutual friend, (and Westerwood’s biggest cheerleader) Jeff, appropriately joined in the Westerwood Welcome. And, since Westerwood residents are naturally inclusive people, our friend Jeb, a Fisher Park resident, completed the table set for six. It was a long overdue welcome to our fine neighborhood and I wanted to make sure the menu was perfectly fitting for the occasion.
When I think of really great neighbors I always think about how nice it would be to live next door to Ina Garden! Remember that time she rented a big grill and made that fabulous Birthday Brunch for her neighbor!? Or when she made a crowned pork roast as a house warming gift – and convinced her fantastic florist friend to haul it next door?! With Ina’s style in mind, I took a hint and made her recipe for Company Pot Roast. I adapted her recipe to the size of my kitchen, my dutch oven and my budget (since this sure ain’t the Hamptons and Winston doesn’t pull in the same dough as Jeffery). I made the roast in the morning and allowed it to cook throughout the day both as directed and on top of the oven to keep it warm. It was delicious, as most Ina recipes are, and completely appropriate for our welcome. Here is the menu and my adapted version of Ina’s Company Pot Roast.
PS: I took this photo of Woodlawn Street last week on a walk with Winston. Nothing is as picturesque as Westerwood in the Fall!
Westerwood Welcome Menu:
- Ina’s Company Pot Luck
- Mashed Potatoes with Garlic Confit
- Salad with Apples, Blue Cheese and Pumpkin Seeds in a Lemon & Honey Vinaigrette
- Pear Upside Down Cake with Fresh Whipped Cream
Ina’s Company Pot Roast, adapted for a small kitchen on Mendenhall Street
- 1 (4 pound) boneless beef chuck roast
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- olive oil
- 1 cup chopped carrots
- 1.5 cups chopped yellow onions
- 1 cup chopped celery
- 3 chopped leeks, white and light green parts
- 5 large garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
- 1 cups red wine (confession, I used 2 Buck Chuck)
- 1 (28-ounce) can whole plum tomatoes in puree
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 1 chicken bouillon cube
- 3 branches fresh thyme
- 2 branches fresh rosemary
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
Pat the beef dry with a paper towel. Season the roast all over with 1 tablespoon salt and 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper. Dredge the whole roast in flour, including the ends. In a large Dutch oven, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add the roast and sear for 4 to 5 minutes, until nicely browned. Turn and sear the other side and then turn and sear the ends. This should take 4 to 5 minutes for each side. Remove the roast to a large plate.
Add 2 tablespoons olive oil to the Dutch oven. Add the carrots, onions, celery, leeks, garlic, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper and cook over medium heat for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender but not browned. Add the wine and bring to a boil. Add the tomatoes, chicken stock, bouillon cube, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Tie the thyme and rosemary together with kitchen string and add to the pot. Put the roast back into the pot, bring to a boil, and cover. Place in the oven for 2 1/2 hours, until the meat is fork tender or about 160 degrees F internally. Turn the heat down to 250 degrees F after about an hour to keep the sauce at a simmer.
Remove the roast to a cutting board. Remove the herb bundle and discard. Skim off as much fat as possible from the sauce. Using a handheld blender, puree about half the sauce until smooth. Place 2 tablespoons flour and the butter in a small bowl and mash them together with a fork. Stir into the sauce and simmer for 2 minutes, stirring until thickened. Taste for seasonings. Remove the strings from the roast, and slice the meat. Serve warm with the sauce spooned over it.