I’m a saucy kind of girl. No, I didn’t mean sassy. I really am saucy. Meaning that I don’t shy away from anything drenched in sauce. My chip-to-dip ratio is heavily favored to the latter (I’d rather just eat the dip by the spoonful but that’s not exactly socially acceptable outside my own kitchen.) Don’t ask me if I prefer to order salmon or chicken in a restaurant as a general rule of thumb: it depends on the sauce in which it comes. And I prefer my red meat to be in some kind of delicious stew because it’s much saucier that way than just grilled and plopped on a plate.
So when I found this recipe for short ribs braised in an ancho chile and coffee sauce and decided to adapt it for a pot roast, I fully expected it to be all about the sauce. I even punched it up a notch with cumin, coriander and cinnamon, fully expecting a flavor explosion from every bite of mean drowned in sauce. Because we all know that a hunk of lean meat, simmered in a pot with sauce, is still going to taste like plain, boring beef no matter how long the simmering and how flavorful the sauce, right?
Wait, you disagree? Good. Because I was wrong. (If my two darling brothers actually read my blog, this would be the first time they’d ever get to hear me admit that. Good thing they don’t.)
This meat turned out so flavorful that I was even compelled to take a bite without any sauce on my fork. And then, many more bites like that. Dare I say it? I may have even preferred it that way. Not that the sauce is bad in any way. No, not at all. Believe me, you’ll want it, with all of it’s coffee, chile, and cinnamon-infused goodness. There’s dates in there too. Yes, really. It’s brimming with so many wonderful things that you’ll absolutely want a lick. Or two, or seven. It’s just that, this sauce also does amazing things to this meat when you combine the two in the oven and let them mingle for a while. Maybe I don’t really want to know what’s going on in there. It seems almost… sacred. All I know is that if I am actually
enjoying dreaming of this meat, on its own, not drenched in sauce, then I’ll be happy to let those private matters take place in my oven any time.
4 dried ancho chiles, stemmed, seeded, and torn into 1″ pieces
2 large pitted mejdool dates, chopped (or 40gm chopped dates)
2 cups boiling-hot water
1 medium onion, quartered
4 cloves of garlic, peeled
2 large chipotle peppers in adobo sauce plus 2 teaspoons sauce
3 teaspoons salt, divided
1 tablespoon olive oil
2.5 lb (yield after trimming)choice bottom round roast, trimmed of all visible fat
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup strong brewed coffee or espresso
2 cinnamon sticks
1 bay leaf
fresh chopped cilantro
Preheat oven to 350ºF. Place the ancho chiles and dates in a bowl and pour the boiling water over them. Let stand for about 20 minutes to soften.
Drain the chiles and dates, reserving the soaking liquid, and place them in a blender along with the onion, garlic, chipotle peppers, adobo sauce, and 1 teaspoon of salt. Puree until smooth, adding about 1/2 cup of the soaking water if needed.
Heat the olive oil in a dutch oven. Combine the remaining 2 teaspoons of salt with the cumin, coriander, and black pepper. Rub the mixture over all sides of the pot roast. When the oil is hot, place the roast in the pan and cook, turning every few minutes, until browned on all sides. Remove the roast to a plate.
Reduce heat to medium-low and pour the pureed chile mixture into the pan. Cook, stirring and scraping the bottom of the pot, for about 5 minutes. Add the reserved cooking liquid and coffee. Bring to a boil, and return the roast to the pan, along with the cinnamon sticks and bay leaf.
Cover the pot and place in the preheated oven. Cook for about three hours, turning every 30-45 minutes, until tender. If the liquid is drying up, you may add a splash of water and reduce the heat a bit.
Remove the pot roast to a cutting board, cover with foil, and let rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing. To serve, drizzle each serving with a little bit of the sauce and sprinkle with chopped cilantro.
Servings Per Recipe: 6
Amount Per Serving
Total Fat: 12.1 g
Cholesterol: 117.3 mg
Sodium: 156.9 mg
Total Carbs: 8.8 g
Dietary Fiber: 1.4 g
Protein: 43.3 g