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      RECIPE TITLE "Pot Roast with Cranberries" Author: The Minimalist Cooks Dinner: More than 100 Recipes for Fast Weeknight Meals and Casual Entertaining Copyright © 2001 by Mark Bittman.

    ... more great recipes from Mark Bittman the Minimalist on our GREAT CHEFS page!

    yieldsMakes: 4 to 6 servings time Time: 1 12 hours, or moredifficultymoderate

    Unlike their cousin, the blueberry — which is sometimes used in savory cooking, although almost never successfully — cranberries are not at all sweet, and so make a much more natural companion for meat. This is a gutsy, appealing, and unusual pot roast, and one you can make quickly or slowly, depending on your time, taste, and budget.

      RECIPE INGREDIENTS

    1 tablespoon butter or extra virgin olive oil
    12 cup sugar
    2- to 3-pound piece of chuck or brisket
    Salt and freshly ground black pepper
    12 cup sherry vinegar or good wine vinegar
    12 ounces fresh or frozen cranberries
    1 orange
    Cayenne

      RECIPE METHOD

    1. Put the butter in a casserole or skillet and turn the heat to medium-high. Put the sugar on a plate and dredge the meat in it until all the surfaces are coated. Reserve the remaining sugar. When the butter foam subsides, brown the meat on all sides —this will take about 15 minutes — seasoning it with salt and pepper as it browns.

    2. When the meat is nicely browned, add the vinegar and cook for a minute, stirring. Add the cranberries and remaining sugar and stir. Strip the zest from the orange (you can do it in broad strips, with a small knife or vegetable peeler) and add it to the skillet. Juice the orange and add the juice also, along with a pinch of cayenne. Turn the heat to low and cover; the mixture should bubble but not furiously.

    3. Cook, turning the meat and stirring about every 30 minutes, for 2 hours or longer, or until the meat is tender. When the meat is done, taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Turnoff the heat and let the roast rest for a few minutes, then carve and serve, with the sauce.

    Keys To Success

    DUSTING THE MEAT with some of the sugar makes the browning process go much more rapidly, and leaves behind a caramelized residue that is deglazed by the vinegar when you add it. All of this lends complexity to the final dish.

    MOST POT ROASTS depend for their flavor on the juices exuded by the meat itself; that's why tough, slow-cooking cuts like brisket or chuck are usually preferable. But since the meat's contribution here is minimized by the powerful cranberry-based combination, a faster-cooking cut like tenderloin works perfectly, reducing the cooking time to just over an hour.

    With Minimal Effort
    Faster Pot Roast with Cranberries: Substitute a 2-to-3-pound piece of tenderloin (filet mignon) for the chuck or brisket and reduce the cooking time to about 1 hour, or until the internal temperature is 125° to 130°F (medium-rare); you can cook it longer than that if you like.

    Wine: Rioja, Merlot, or another soft red
    Copyright 2001 by Mark Bittman

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