It's time to start tackling those big cuts of beef in my freezer, and one of the best ways to do it is to crack open Molly Stevens' All About Braising. This recipe is a pretty basic roast, but the braising liquid includes 1/4 cup hard apple cider. I used Woodchuck's Fall Cider, which along with some cloves and a bay leaf lent a sweet and spicy undertone to the meat. This roast is slice-able but so tender that my 1-year-old devoured it with no problems.
One sweet tip from Stevens' book is this: peel an onion, then attach a bay leaf to it with 3 cloves. Nestle this in the braising liquid, clove side down, to flavor the braising liquid and make removing the aromatics easy.
I started with a 3-inch-thick, flat piece of chuck roast. I seasoned it with salt and pepper on both sides, then browned it for 5 minutes on each side in my Dutch oven. Removed the meat, then added 1/4 cup hard cider and deglazed the pan. Then I put the meat back into the pot, sprinkled with dried thyme and poured 1 cup stock over the top. (I used chicken, stock, but beef stock would be more appropriate, no?) Add the onion with cloves and bay leaf attached.
Brought the liquid to a boil, then put the roast in a 300-degree oven. When I turned the meat after 45 minutes, the liquid wasn't simmering, so I turned the oven up to 315 degrees (so it might take some adjustments to get the temp right to maintain a gentle simmer). I peeled 4 potatoes and cut them in big chunks and put those, along with 1/2 pound baby carrots, in with the meat at this point. Cooked for another 2-plus hours, then removed the meat and vegetables from the braising liquid. I tried to reduce the liquid for a sauce, but I'm not patient enough. I kind of wish I had made a gravy; it would've been delicious.
Some more fall braises:
[link href="https://landcruisers.info/Recipes/Braised-Chicken-with-Leeks" link_updater_label="external_hearst" target="_blank"]Chicken with Leeks
— Kim Walker