Coffee Braised Pot Roast with Cinnamon & Ancho Chile Pepper Print Email

This recipe works equally well with lamb shoulder or shanks, short ribs and beef stew. If time permits, cook the roast ahead and refrigerate it and the cooked sauce separately. It is easier to carve the meat and remove the fat from the sauce when they are cold. Spoon the sauce over the meat and either refrigerate for up to 2 days or heat and serve. If desired, vegetables such as carrots, parsnips, rutabaga and potatoes can be added during the last 45 minutes of cooking.

4-pound boneless chuck roast
For the rub:
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons black pepper
2 tablespoons ground or instant espresso
1 teaspoon ground ancho chile pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
For the braising liquid
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
8 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons ground or instant espresso dissolved in 1 1/2 cups warm water
1 cinnamon stick
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ancho chile pepper
1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon butter, softened
2 tablespoons flour

Preheat the oven to 325°. Rinse the roast and dry thoroughly. Combine all rub ingredients in a small bowl and rub all over the meat.

In a Dutch oven or wide heavy saucepan, heat 3 tablespoons oil over medium high heat until hot. Add the roast and cook on all sides until very dark (coffee will cause it to become almost black), 8-10 minutes total. Remove the roast to a plate.

Add the chopped onion to the pan, reduce the heat to medium, and cook, scraping up as much of the seasoning stuck to the bottom of the pan as possible, until the onion begins to soften, about 10 minutes. Add garlic and saute for 1 minute. Slowly add a small amount of coffee to the pan (it will sizzle). Add the remaining coffee and cook, stirring up the remaining bits from the bottom of the pan. Stir in cinnamon stick, chile pepper and brown sugar; bring to a simmer. Return the beef to the pan and bring to a boil. Cover tightly and transfer to the oven.

Bake for 1 1/2, then turn the beef over, re-cover and continue cooking until meat is fork-tender, but not falling apart, about 3 1/2 hours total. If making ahead, refrigerate meat and juices separately.

To serve: Transfer the beef to a cutting board and tent loosely with foil. Remove the cinnamon stick from the braising liquid and skim the fat (or pour into a gravy separator measuring cup and discard the fat).

Bring the braising liquid to a boil over medium-high heat. Mash the butter with the flour to form a paste and whisk into the gravy. Simmer for 5 minutes, or until thickened slightly.

Remove strings from roast, carve and serve with the gravy. Serves 6 - Marlene Sorosky Gray