This recipe is adapted from The Cook's Encyclopedia of One-Pot & Clay-Pot Cooking. Just for the record, this is my favorite cookbook for one-pot cooking and there's plenty of great recipes for just one-pot with or without a clay-pot.
There are so many advantages to cooking in a clay pot including the number of pans you have to clean up when you are done. You are also going to like how you can cook lean cuts of meat and chicken without a lot of fat and the meat stays moist and tender.
Another advantage is how little you have to fuss once you stick the clay pot in the oven. Clay-Pot cooking requires very little attention once everything is prepped and put together.
This recipe calls for browning the beef before cooking in the clay pot. You should be aware that it is not recommended to use an unglazed clay pot on top of a stove because they are extremely sensitive to sudden changes in temperature.
You'll be better off browning the meat and sautéing the vegetables in a large saute pan and letting them cool a bit before adding them to a cold clay pot. So I guess we should call this two-pot cooking, but it is still a great method for cooking lean or tough cuts of meat.
What is a bouquet garni?
It is a little bundle of herbs, tied together or placed together in in a piece of cheesecloth, used to enhance the flavor of a soup or stew. The classic combination of herbs is parsley, thyme, and bay leaf.
In our house, we like to plate the food before serving it to our guests. This way we have better control of the portions and everyone is sure to get an equal amount.
And if it just so happens I make a mistake and don't prepare enough of one ingredient, I can fix it by distributing it as best I can.
Clay-Pot Beef with Red Peppers
- 2 ½ pound rump roast or bottom round
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 teaspoons sunflower oil you can substitute olive or canola oil
- 1 large yellow onion
- 1¼ cups beef stock
- 1 teaspoon tomato paste
- ⅔ cup red wine
- bouquet garni see below
- 4 red peppers
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 teaspoon all purpose flour
- salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Start by soaking the clay pot in cold water for at least 20 minutes, then drain.
- Cut the garlic cloves into thin slivers. These will be inserted into the beef for added flavor.
- The onion needs to be diced and a bouquet garni needs to be prepared.
- The red bell peppers need to be halved lengthwise and seeded. Be sure to remove the ribbing.
- You are going to make a thickener with the butter and flour which is called a beurre manie. It is easier to work with when the butter is soft so take out the butter now and let it sit until soft. If you have to heat it up a little in a pan or in the microwave.
- Using a paring knife, make a bunch of small incisions throughput the meat and insert the garlic slivers into them.
- Season the meat with salt and pepper on all sides.
- Heat a large heavy bottomed pan over medium high heat, add the oil and let it get hot. You want the oil to heat up just to the point of smoking. No more.
- Now add the beef and brown on all sides. Remove it from the pan and set aside uncovered.
- Add the onion to the pan and saute the onions until golden. Remove the onions from the pan and transfer to the clay pot.
- Put the beef on top of the onions and get the beef stock ready.You do this by combining the stock, tomato puree and wine together in a bowl and then pour it over the beef in the clay pot.
- Add the bouquet garni to the clay pot, cover and place in the COLD oven. We don't want to preheat the oven when using a clay pot. Remember, a cold clay pot does not do well with extreme temperature changes.
- Crank up the oven to 400° F and cook for 1 hour.
- Remove the cover from the clay pot, baste, add the bell pepper halves and continue cooking uncovered for about 45 minutes or until the beef is tender.
Making the Sauce
- Remove the meat, peppers and onions from the pot and reserve them on a large serving dish.
- Pour off the liquids from the clay pot into a sauce pan and heat over medium heat. This one-pan cooking just turned into three pans. You can always use the pan you browned the meat in but I think it is better to work in a sauce pan.
- Blend together the flour and butter in a small dish to make a paste. Slowly and in small spoonfuls, add the flour butter combination to the reserved liquid. What we are trying to do is thicken the sauce.
- Raise the heat to medium high and bring the sauce to a boil. Immediately lower the heat and simmer the sauce until it is thick enough to coat a spoon. Be sure to stir or whisk the sauce during the process or it will burn.
- When the sauce is at the consistency to your liking, pour it into gravy boat and serve it with the beef.