Since Suzanne Tracht, opened Jar, her Los Angeles chop house, in 2001, there has been one recipe that epitomizes her approach to comfort food more, perhaps, than any other: the Jar pot roast. It has never been off the menu, even in L.A.'s blistering summers when pot roast, you'd think, would be the last thing you'd want. (Tell that to Jar's regulars.)
And why should it be? It's phenomenal. It's also exceedingly simple, requiring a cut of meat, a few vegetables and 3 hours in the oven. (Just be sure to get the correct cut of meat, and to seriously caramelize it before you put it into the oven.) Serve the roast with some horseradish cream, maybe a glass of wine, and you'll know–if you don't already–why it will never go off the menu. (Read yesterday's interview with Tracht, with updates on Suzpree and the chef's LAX project.)
Jar's Pot Roast
From: Chef-owner Suzanne Tracht of Jar Restaurant.
Note: Ask your butcher for denuded short rib, which is a short rib with the bones and exterior fat removed.
Makes: 3-4 servings.
½ cup vegetable oil
1 short rib, about 3-5 pounds, denuded (see note above)
Salt and black pepper to taste
4 carrots, peeled
2 large onions
1 bunch celery
½ bulb garlic (does not need to be peeled)
1 bay leaf
1 cup sherry
2 quarts chicken stock
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large pan, heat the oil to just under the smoking point. Season the meat liberally with salt and pepper. Sear both sides of the short rib in the pan until the exterior is dark and crisp. Remove the meat from the pan and reserve.
2. Pour the oil from pan into heatproof container to cool and discard it. Using the same pan, add the sherry and reduce it by half.
3. Peel and rough chop the carrot, onion and celery. Place the vegetables in a large braising pan with the bay leaf and garlic. Place pot roast on top of the vegetable mixture. Pour reduced sherry on top of roast and add enough chicken stock to cover ¾ of the meat. Cover with foil and roast for 3 hours.
4. After 3 hours, remove the pan from the oven and let the roast cool down. After pot roast has cooled slightly, you can strain the jus (or sauce) from the vegetables, mix with caramelized onions and roasted carrots and serve the roast with the vegetables and sauce. (This last step is optional).