Friday, December 30, 2005
Cranberry Pot Roast Recipe
"Latkes are a kind of oil, into which small quantities of shredded potato have been infused." -- Jonathan Safran Foer
Latkes, also known as potato pancakes, are a traditional treat to eat at least once during the eight days of Hanukkah. The reason you eat latkes for Hanukkah is because they are fried in oil. Why oil? Hanukkah celebrates the re-dedication of the second temple after a battle and along with the victory came the miracle in which mere drops of oil in an oil lamp lasted eight days. The "miracle" is much like a story about a fat man coming down a chimney with presents...
A real miracle would be to have perfectly crispy and not-so-greasy latkes. For years there has been a debate in my family. My mom and I spoke up in defense of shredding potatoes for latkes, and my papa insisted that grating lead to much crispier ones. It's all in the technique, as most recipes call for the same ingredients--eggs, flour or matzah meal, onions and potatoes. Last year I had some of the crispiest latkes ever and guess what? Papa was right. Grating does make them crispier. That and frying them in the just right amount of oil at just the right temperature of course.
The traditional accompaniment to latkes is sour cream, apple sauce and big slabs of pot roast. In addition to being right about latkes my dad makes the best pot roast. This is not a subjective assessment but the honest truth. Just try it and see what I mean. It's hard to get him to commit to the details in a recipe, he's one of those people who rarely makes the same recipe the same way twice. That said I did get him to tell me how he made it the last time and here it is.
Papa's Cranberry Pot Roast
serves about 8-10
5 lb chuck roast or brisket
1 tablespoon oil
2 cups cranberry sauce, canned is fine
1 onion, chopped
1 cup water or red wine
Salt and pepper to taste
Season the roast with salt. In a large dutch oven, heat the oil. When the pan is hot, sear the roast on all sides. Add the onions and allow to brown. Add the remaining ingredients and simmer slowly on the stove for 3 hours or until the meat is tender. Slice the meat across the grain, taste for seasoning, and serve with the sauce and crispy potato latkes.