A Taste of the Market

As I promised our shoppers Saturday at the Oakton market, here are the two recipes you need to make the dish that I offered as samples on the mini rolls. I made one recipe of each and mixed them together. You may of course make and serve them separately; the beef is good by itself, and the onions make a great savory marmalade to accompany a variety of roasted meats or even sausages.

Another variation would be to cube and blanch baking potatoes and add them to the mix for a one-dish meal. I have also used that mixture to make pasties and smaller turnovers for parties. You may used purchased pie crust dough or puff pastry to simplify this option.

This is a great winter dish — it can warm the cockles of any heart!

Comforting Shredded Beef

This recipe is adapted from one that appeared in the first Silver Palate Good Times Cookbook, published in 1984. I have made this at least twice every winter since then and have changed it a little to suit my family’s palate. You may use any one of a number of cuts of beef roast, from bottom round to sirloin tip, and boned chuck roast might work well too. Just cook it very slowly, turning often, for the full three hours, and it will fall apart easily when shredded with two forks.

Serves 8-10.

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 bottom round roast, about 4 lbs.
  • 3 cups good quality beef broth or homemade beef stock
  • ½ – 1 cup of Chianti or other full-bodied red wine

Heat the butter and oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat until almost smoking. Pat the roast dry with paper towels and sprinkle all over with salt and pepper. Brown the beef on all sides over medium heat until each side is dark brown all over. Pour in 2 cups of the stock and about ½ cup of the wine, cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook slowly over low heat for three hours. Turn the beef in the pot every thirty minutes or so and add liquid as necessary to keep about 1 cup in the pot at all times.

When very tender when poked with a fork, remove the pot from the heat and let the meat cool to room temperature in its juices. Remove the beef and shred into small pieces. While you do this, you may cook down the juices a little more or add the remaining liquid if you haven’t used it all and cook that down over medium heat. Then return the shredded beef to the liquid to reheat for serving. Adjust salt and pepper to taste. Serve over toast, sprinkled with parsley, or as the base for a cheese-steak sandwich.

P.S. I also like to cube potatoes, blanch them in boiling, salted water for about 5 minutes and then add them to the mixture. It makes for a complete meal with the addition of a salad or winter green vegetable.

Softly Simmered Onions

This recipe is also adapted from the original Silver Palate Good Times Cookbook, and it is a wonderful accompaniment to the shredded beef recipe, either as a side or mixed into the beef.

  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 10 cups yellow or other onions, sliced ¼ inch thick
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • ¾ cup red wine vinegar
  • ¼ to ½ cup sugar (I use the smaller amount)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Melt the butter in a heavy large saucepan or deep skillet over low heat. Add the onions and all other ingredients and stir well. Bring to a boil, cover, lower heat to a simmer and cook, covered, stirring frequently for 1 hour. Remove the cover and cook for 2 more hours, stirring occasionally.

This is a great side dish for any red meat, and it also makes a fantastic filling with other ingredients of your choice for stuffed portobello mushrooms.

Makes about 4 cups.