This dish combines the savory melding of long cooking and the fresh, bright flavors of a quick spin on the stove.
Although the recipe is printed here, there’s room to improvise. If you’re not a big fan of mushrooms, substitute a vegetable (just be sure to add at the right time and not to overcook). If you have holiday clementines on hand, substitute those for the orange. You can also toss in small amounts of vegetables you find scattered around the fridge—diced red bell pepper, steamed broccoli or snow peas (added late in the cooking process) are all great options.
Many of the ingredients are available locally. My beef came from Meadow Run Farm in Lititz, PA, through their buying club (available at farmtocity.org); the onions, carrots and mushrooms were bought at the Fair Food Farmstand in Reading Terminal Market.
The pace of the cooking is great for a leisurely afternoon: There’s plenty to do at the beginning, followed by two to three hours of cooking, and then a flurry of activity at the end. The resulting dish is very brothy. I like to ladle it over a bowl of Japanese udon, but soba or fresh egg noodles would be equally delicious. Just cook them separately and set aside for when you’re ready to serve.
Asian-Inspired Pot Roast
- 2 lbs. beef eye roast, trimmed of fat and cut into approx. 1 inch cubes
- 2 tbsp. canola oil
- 1 medium onion, minced
- 2 carrots, minced
- 5 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
- 3 cups beef broth
- ¾ cup water
- ¼ cup tamari
- 2–3 tbsp. soy sauce
- 1–3 tbsp. sambal oelek or other Asian chili sauce (1-2 tsp of red pepper flakes also works)
- 1 thumb-sized piece of ginger, peeled and finely grated
- 1 orange
- 4 cinnamon sticks
- 1 ½ cups shitake or mixed mushrooms, sliced
- 3 cups chopped bok choy or other greens (napa cabbage, spinach, mustard)
- Handful of chopped cilantro (optional)
- Udon, soba or other favorite noodle
Brown the beef in batches in a big stewpot. (Too much meat in the pan will reduce the temperature and the meat will steam rather than brown.)
Once all the meat is browned, return it to the pot and add onion, garlic and three-quarters of the minced carrot (the rest you add at the end for some fresh crunch). Sauté until the vegetables begin to brown. Add broth, water, tamari and soy, scraping up the carmelized bits from the bottom. Add sambal oelek, ginger, cinnamon sticks and mushrooms. Remove the peel from half the orange with a paring knife, avoiding the pith (the bitter white part), and add it to the cooking broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer slowly, mostly covered, for at least two hours. (The length of time depends on how quickly the meat gets tender.)
Five minutes before serving, remove the cover and add the remaining minced carrot, the juice from the orange and the bok choy. (If you want a thicker broth, take the cover off and crank up the simmer before you add these last ingredients.) Remove the cinnamon sticks and orange peel.
Ladle over cooked noodles and garnish with chopped cilantro. ■