Coffee and Chile Braised Pot Roast

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.

See, saucy.

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.

Coffee and Chile Braised Pot Roast
Adapted from Gourmet
Printable Recipe

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.

Nutritional Info
Servings Per Recipe: 6
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 332.3
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

This recipe is also being featured in the HomeAway.co.uk Travel Cookbook.

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15 Responses to “Coffee and Chile Braised Pot Roast”

  1. 1

    Dawn — January 18, 2011 @ 3:48 pm Reply

    Ooo what a Moroccan-ish flare. This is definitely my next pot roast recipe!

  2. 2

    Shanon — January 18, 2011 @ 4:00 pm Reply

    this sounds perfect! some of my favorite flavors: coffee and chile!

  3. 3

    That Girl — January 18, 2011 @ 5:21 pm Reply

    We had a coffee and chile braised steak at Mesa Grill that was delicious, so I am not surprised this combination won you over.

  4. 4

    Jennifurla — January 18, 2011 @ 5:37 pm Reply

    This sounds like perfection and the pictures have me drooling, what unique flavors.

  5. 5

    Joanne — January 18, 2011 @ 5:37 pm Reply

    I know you're not much of a meat girl, so if you give this rave reviews then it really must be off the charts! I'm a sauce girl myself and I have been known to eat basically any sauce I ever make, out of it's container. With a spoon. i'm sure this would be no different.

  6. 6

    whathappensafter5 — January 19, 2011 @ 3:26 pm Reply

  7. 7

    grace — January 20, 2011 @ 6:19 am Reply

    i fully condone your chips-and-dip eating method, so i guess that makes me saucy too. :)awesome treatment of a roast, cara–the dates are an awesome component!

  8. 8

    Elina — January 20, 2011 @ 2:53 pm Reply

    I saw the title, then the picture and saved the recipe right away. This sounds seriously amazing – meat, sauce and all. I'm typically a saucy girl myself ;)

  9. 9

    Alicia — January 24, 2011 @ 3:48 am Reply

    Just found your blog – and I love your recipes and photographs. Looking forward to what's next.And I'm with you on the sauce- I love meals with great, flavorful sauce. This roast sounds amazing

  10. 10

    Boston Food Diary — January 25, 2011 @ 4:49 pm Reply

    This sounds delicious!!! I was just talking about much I love when coffee is used with beef- Im going to have to try this! Thanks!

  11. 11

    Boston Food Diary — April 5, 2011 @ 1:20 am Reply

    This sounds delicious!!! I was just talking about much I love when coffee is used with beef- Im going to have to try this! Thanks!

  12. 12

    Jennifurla — April 5, 2011 @ 1:20 am Reply

    This sounds like perfection and the pictures have me drooling, what unique flavors.

  13. 13

    grace — April 5, 2011 @ 1:20 am Reply

    i fully condone your chips-and-dip eating method, so i guess that makes me saucy too. :)awesome treatment of a roast, cara–the dates are an awesome component!

  14. 14

    Shanon — April 5, 2011 @ 1:20 am Reply

    this sounds perfect! some of my favorite flavors: coffee and chile!

  15. 15

    Tyler Simmons — July 21, 2011 @ 12:06 am Reply

    This stuff sounds incredible… You should bring in a sampling of something delicious to CP sometime :)

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