A Time for Comfort Food
In San Francisco, smoke hangs heavily over our city from the wildfires raging in Northern California. Aside from our air quality, which has at times been as bad or worse than Beijing, we are unaffected.
But the smoke is a daily reminder of the tragic events that are unfolding daily, resulting in a staggering loss of life, loss of homes and personal possessions, loss of businesses, loss of jobs, and loss of the area’s natural beauty. So much is blackened, scarred or obliterated.
If you have ever driven past sun-drenched vineyards, toured wineries and participated in wine tastings, you know how magical the experience can be—it translates into a multi-billion-dollar tourist industry.
Like the phoenix, they will rebound. But not yet; not now.
In the meantime, we go through the days with a heavy heart, thinking, worrying and praying for our northern neighbors.
Stove-top Pot Roast
1 boneless chuck roast (about 3 ½ to 4 pounds)
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
6 to 8 carrots, cut into 3-inch chunks
2 large onions, cut in 1-inch wedges
About 3 cans (14.5 ounces each) beef broth
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves or a big pinch of dried thyme
2 cloves garlic
2 stalks celery, cut into 1-inch chunks
Wipe beef with paper towels to remove surface moisture. Season with salt and pepper.
In a large, heavy pot or Dutch oven, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over medium-high heat. Add beef and sear on both sides until nicely browned, about 3 minutes each. Remove beef.
Lower heat to medium, add carrots to the pot and cook, stirring, until lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Remove from pot.
Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil to the pot, add the onions and cook, stirring, until onions are lightly browned, about 4 to 5 minutes. Remove onions from pot.
Add about 1 inch of broth to the pot and bring to a boil, scraping up browned bits. Add thyme and garlic.
Return half the onions to the pot, place the beef on the onions, and add enough broth to come up halfway up the side of the beef; bring to a boil, then lower heat to simmer. Simmer, covered, about 2 hours, checking every half hour or so, and adding more beef stock, as needed to keep the broth halfway up to the beef. Simmer until beef is fork-tender.
Add carrots, remaining onions and celery to the pot, pushing them into the open spaces next to the beef, using a wooden spoon. Add just enough broth to cover the vegetables and meat. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to simmer 30 minutes more until carrots are cooked through.
Remove meat, slice, and arrange with the vegetables on a platter. Pass the broth in a gravy boat or sauce bowl.
Makes about 6 servings.
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