Braised beef with winter vegetables and horseradish cream

February 20, 2008

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Serves 4 (with leftovers)

1 boneless beef bottom round roast or beef chuck roast (4 to 5 pounds total)
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 medium onion
2 cloves
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 cups beef or chicken stock or water
1 tablespoon prepared white horseradish
3/4 cup creme fraiche or sour cream
3 small turnips or parsnips, quartered
6 small waxy potatoes, halved
3 large carrots, cut into 1 1/2-inch lengths
1 bunch rainbow Swiss chard, stemmed and leaves roughly chopped

1. Set the broiler on high. Sprinkle the meat with salt and pepper. Place the meat in a heavy skillet with an oven-proof handle (cast-iron works well). Broil the meat about 6 inches from the element for 5 minutes or until the surface is caramelized. Using tongs, turn the roast and broil the other side. Remove the pan from the broiler.

2. Set the oven at 300 degrees.

3. With tongs, transfer the meat to a heavy 4-quart casserole. Place the onion, cloves, thyme, and bay leaf in the pan.

4. Pour off the excess fat from the skillet. Set it over medium heat. Add the wine and bring to a boil, scraping the bottom. Add the beef or chicken stock or water and return to a boil. Pour the hot liquid into the pot of beef. Cover the pot with a lid and transfer to the oven.

5. Cook for 30 minutes, turn the meat, and continue cooking for 30 minutes.

6. Meanwhile, make a horseradish cream: In a small bowl stir the horseradish and creme fraiche or sour cream with salt and pepper until smooth; set aside.

7. Turn the meat again. Add the turnips or parsnips, potatoes, and carrots to the side of the pan. Continue cooking for 1 hour or until the meat and vegetables are very tender (total cooking time is 2 hours).

8. Transfer the meat to a cutting board. With a slotted spoon transfer the vegetables to plates, discarding the onion. Cover the plates loosely with foil and set aside to keep warm.

9. Set the pan over medium high heat and let the liquid bubble steadily, skimming the surface often, for 2 minutes. Add the Swiss chard and continue simmering for 3 minutes or until the sauce reduces and thickens.

10. Cut the meat into 1/2-inch thick slices. Sprinkle them with salt and pepper. Arrange on the plates. Use a slotted spoon to remove the chard from the sauce and add it to the plates. Ladle the braising liquid on top and spoon the horseradish cream on the side. Jonathan Levitt