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Jenise

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RCP: Colombian Posta Negra (braised beef)

by Jenise » Sat Jan 18, 2020 3:09 pm

Recipes show up free in my mailbox from Chris Kimball's Milk Street, trying to entice me to subscribe. I never will, but occasionally the featured free recipe appeals. I might not have been tempted by this dark sweet braised beef but for the fact that I had a Chilean wine tasting coming up, and being able to mention this dish in my sales pitch gave the theme some meaningful traction.

So yesterday I made it. With 43 bottles of wine open for the tasting and 'breathing' or decanted all over the kitchen, a plumber laying on the floor installing my new faucet whose body I had to straddle to slice 5 large onions and peel/slice 60 cloves of garlic, and all the contents of the cupboard under the faucet that had to be relocated taking up every last inch of available real estate, I managed to put together this dish.

Where it calls for a 5 lb chuck roast I used 4 2-lb tri-tips. If you have never braised tri-tips this is your chance to find out why it's such a superior braising meat. Far less fat, nothing to trim, but enough connective tissue that you end up with fork-tender meat that will hold together when sliced. I went for half inch slices (after the meat cooled) that were easy to self-serve on the buffet with a pair of tongs, and doubled (or more) the remaining ingredients except for the prunes, which I skipped. I actually see now that the amount of worcestershire called for was only 1/4 c--I thought it said half so effectively quadrupled the quantity, and considering the success of my results I wouldn't take it back. I also then added an extra half cup of worcestershire and an extra cup of wine because I was forecasting a need for a higher than usual quantity of sauce--and I'm glad I did.

Anyway, so you could say I only loosely followed the recipe; but MAN was it fine! Everybody loved it, I did too, and there wasn't a scrap left. This is a keeper! I served it with a pale orange-y colored rice flavored with garlic, cumin and smoked paprika.

So here's the Milk Street recipe, mildly modified:

Colombian Posta Negra

1 5 lb chuck roast or 2 2-lb tri-tips
Oil for browning the meat
1 large onion, chopped
20 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tblsp tomato paste
1/2 c sugar (they recommend dark brown, I used organic white)
3 cinnamon sticks
1 tblsp whole allspice
2 tsp black peppercorns
1 tsp whole cloves
1.5 c dry red wine
1/2 c worcestershire sauce
2 tblsp red wine vinegar

Heat the oven to 300F, salt the surfaces of the beef and sear off in a Dutch oven large enough to roast the meat in. Remove. In the same pan, sweat and brown the onions for about five minutes, add the garlic and the tomato paste and cook until the paste begins to brown, about 3 minutes, then stir in the sugar and whole spices. Pour in the wine and worcestershire sauce, cook another two or three minutes to bring up the heat and meld the flavors, then add the beef.

Cover and bake until a paring knife comes out clean, 2 1/2 to three hours. Remove meat to a cutting board to cool, and meanwhile strain the solids out of the sauce, pressing to get every last bit. Discard the solids. Move the sauce to a saucepan, skim off the fat, and thicken with a cornstarch slurry. Stir in the vinegar. At this point, adjust the seasoning to your taste--I did not think it needed more salt. Pour over the sliced meat and serve, or hold and reheat for later service.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Jeff Grossman

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Re: RCP: Colombian Posta Negra (braised beef)

by Jeff Grossman » Sat Jan 18, 2020 4:16 pm

Well, if the recipe comes with a plumber to straddle, I'll consider it. :D
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Re: RCP: Colombian Posta Negra (braised beef)

by Jeff Grossman » Sat Jan 18, 2020 4:21 pm

Thanks for the recipe, Jenise, but I am wary. I once made a brasato al barolo -- the Piedmontese variant on pot roast -- and it also called for some cinnamon and allspice and such. But I did not like the resultant gingerbreadesque / Christmasy sauce at all. I made it a second time, omitting most of those spices, lightening the texture of the sauce and freshening the barolo at the end of cooking time and it was still a tired boring pot roast. I have abandoned it as somehow fundamentally broken.
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Jenise

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Re: RCP: Colombian Posta Negra (braised beef)

by Jenise » Sun Jan 19, 2020 7:48 pm

Jeff, you caused me to look up brasato al barolo, and I looked at five or six recipes. Most were very simple compared to what you describe and I made--kind of standard celery and carrot stuff.

FWIW, I didn't find this gingerbreadesque (congratulations on coming up with THAT term!) just complex and extraordinarily lively for pot roast. However, I recall making some kind of Italian braised beef recipe once--don't know that it specified barolo but mebbe, that I didn't find compelling at all and would never consider making again. For one, it advised, as did most of the recipes I look at just now, soaking the meat and vegetables overnight in the wine. Eventually, in most if not all, all that gets ground up together to make the sauce. While I wouldn't neccessarily mind that, I happen to actually prefer a lot of separate, distinct flavors and I would be bored by the winey thru-flavor of everything all tasting alike. To the extent that my tri-tips did NOT have a saturated wine flavor, it was all the better for it IMO.

Admittedly, your comment on Christmasy struck a chord--I did NOT buy the prunes called for in the recipe as at the outset I didn't want my dish to "taste like fruitcake".
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: RCP: Colombian Posta Negra (braised beef)

by Jeff Grossman » Mon Jan 20, 2020 4:46 am

Jenise wrote:Jeff, you caused me to look up brasato al barolo, and I looked at five or six recipes. Most were very simple compared to what you describe and I made--kind of standard celery and carrot stuff.

I got this particular one from Art of Eating -- I thought they'd know better.

FWIW, I didn't find this gingerbreadesque (congratulations on coming up with THAT term!)

Thank you, thank you. We're nothing if not over-educated over here.

Eventually, in most if not all, all that gets ground up together to make the sauce.

Yup: puree all those wrung-out vegetables to make a thick goop with way too much seasoning and not enough of anything else.

Admittedly, your comment on Christmasy struck a chord--I did NOT buy the prunes called for in the recipe as at the outset I didn't want my dish to "taste like fruitcake".

Yeah, the whole sweet-with-meat thing is really easy to go wrong with. Anyway, I'd much rather have brandy and pink peppercorns, or just butter and salt on my steak.

The only sweet-with-meat I do is a glass of port with rare prime rib. Those two work together.
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Re: RCP: Colombian Posta Negra (braised beef)

by Jeff Grossman » Mon Jan 20, 2020 4:51 am

And, I don't think I've ever made a tri-tip pot roast so I'll have to give that a whirl sometime this winter.
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Re: RCP: Colombian Posta Negra (braised beef)

by Jenise » Mon Jan 20, 2020 2:18 pm

Tri tip braises beautifully.

Speaking of port, a friend once made prime rib with a port sauce. The stain on the rare meat was one of the ugliest things I've ever seen, I hated it. Give me a good jus!
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov

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