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Bruce Aidells' Pot-Roasted Grass-Fed Beef Chuck with Winter Root Vegetables

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[Photograph: Luca Trovato]

Some may argue that pot roast is not refined enough for a holiday meal. To those folks, I say, "Bah humbug!" When properly prepared, like Bruce Aidells' Pot-Roasted Grass-Fed Beef Chuck with Winter Root Vegetables, the humble chuck roast can be just as enticing as a bone-in rib roast.

This recipe, from The Great Meat Cookbook, produces a meal with multitudinous meaty layers—bacon starts the show, rendering its fat with which to sear the chuck, and a dense red wine reduction forms the backbone (along with beef stock) of the braising liquid. A flurry of root vegetables, shallots, slow cooked onions, garlic add deep vegetal flavor to complement the earthiness of the grass-fed beef. Best of all, the dish is almost entirely hands-off, sending its luscious aromas into the kitchen to entice even the most Scrooge-like of guests.

Why I picked this recipe: With cool weather comes the urge to braise large chunks of meat; this version's mustardy, paprika and bacon-infused flavor profile seemed like the perfect mid-December meal or even a hands-off holiday entree.

What worked: Rich, unctuous, and rib-stickingly satisfying, this is a pot roast I'd even serve to company.

What didn't: I wanted a little more aggressive seasoning on the roast; next time I'd up the rub ingredients a bit.

Suggested tweaks: Pot roast and vegetables is an infinitely variable meal, especially when it comes to the vegetables in the pot. Keep the hardy, dense, and cut in similar sizes, and you can swap in and out whichever you choose. I'm a sucker for potatoes in my pot roast, so I'll be including some baby Yukons in my next batch.

As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of The Great Meat Cookbook to give away this week.

About the author: Kate Williams is a freelance writer out of Berkeley, CA. She is a contributor to The Oxford American, Berkeleyside NOSH, and blogs at cookingwolves.wordpress.com.

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