Once upon a time ago, I was a vegetarian. Even after I started eating meat, I was never a big fan of beef. Not even a little bit. Once in a while I might get a craving for it and make a hamburger or something, but that was about it. On the off chance that I would eat a steak, I’d order it extra dead – well done.
I don’t know what I was thinking, because beef is flippin’ delicious. No joke. And this sandwich, well this sandwich has an awesome flavor-to-work ratio. While I prefer to sear my meat and sauté my onions, you absolutely have the option of just throwing all of the ingredients into a pot or slow-cooker and just letting it do it’s own thing from there. Doesn’t get much easier than that…
Of course, doing the extra work is well worth it. Searing the meat and caramelizing the onions gives the end product a richness and depth that it would otherwise lack, and deglazing the pan afterwards is a must. Why would you do all that work just to leave all that extra flavor in the pan? So, if you’re in a hurry, just throw it all in a pot and be done. But if you have the time, do it my way. You won’t be sorry.
PS – This requires advance planning. You need to start at least 8 hours before you want to eat it. I recommend making it over the weekend and saving it for a weeknight when you know you’ll be short on time. As always, feel free to freeze your leftovers to reheat for dinner another night.
- 1 whole 2.5 To 4 Pound Chuck Roast
- Salt & Pepper
- Olive oil (or any neutral oil)
- Salt & Pepper
- 1 whole onion, sliced
- 2-4 cloves Garlic, minced
- ½ cup Soy Sauce
- 1 cup red wine
- 4 cups low sodium beef stock or broth
- A few sprigs each: Rosemary, Thyme (optional – but strongly recommended)
- Baguette or other hearty bread of your choice
- Italian cheese, for serving
1. About 20-30 minutes before you’re ready to start, take the roast out of the fridge. Cut off any extra-fatty chunks you see on the outside. Salt & pepper both sides of the beef while it’s warming to room temperature, and cover lightly with plastic wrap.
2. When you’re ready to begin, heat a large sauté pan over medium/med-high heat. Add a couple of teaspoons of oil (enough to lightly coat the bottom) to the pan, and then add the meat. Cook it just until it has a nice caramelized brown color (should only take about 3 – 5 minutes per side). Remember, we aren’t really cooking the meat, we’re just searing it for extra flavor. If it sticks to the pan when you try to lift it, that means it’s not ready yet, just give it an extra minute. If you’re motivated, you can sear the sides as well. Most of the time I decide that it’s too heavy to bother and just place it into my crock pot as-is.
3. Add another teaspoon or two of oil to the pan (if needed) and add your onion slices. Cook, stirring about a minute or two until onion begins to get a golden-brown color, add minced garlic, stirring until fragrant (about 30 seconds) then add them on top of your roast.
4. Carefully add the soy sauce, red wine, and 1 cup of beef stock to your hot pan (it might splatter). Scrape up all the browned bits from the bottom, and once the liquid begins to simmer and reduce a bit, dump that into the crock pot as well. Add additional beef stock until the roast is at least half, but not completely, covered. If you run out of stock, just add water. Should look something like…
5. Add herbs* (if using), cover, and set to low for 8-12 hours. When it’s done, it should fall apart very easily. If it does not, re-cover and continue to cook longer.
6. When it’s done, remove the sprigs of rosemary and thyme, and shred the meat using two forks. Discard any overly fatty pieces. You can either serve it now or refrigerate it and serve later. I strongly recommend refrigerating for use another day* (see tips!).
7. If refrigerating—allow to cool and then place in the fridge. When ready to warm, remove hardened fat from the top and discard. Place back into slow-cooker (or saucepan) on low heat until warm (the speed will depend on the quantity you are warming up – it can take up to a couple of hours in your slow cooker). If you’re in a hurry, you can warm it over medium/high heat as well, just keep an eye on it so it doesn’t start boiling. Boiled meat is gross.
8. Serve on a baguette or french roll, toasted if desired. I usually stick mine under the broiler a few seconds with some italian cheese to get toasty and warm. Serve with some of the juices reserved on the side for dipping. Yum!
*Somewhere along the line I got hooked on ‘Kitchen Basics’ stock. It’s a little more expensive, but comes in a resealable container and has a great, rich flavor. Once I made the switch I never looked back.
*Tying your herbs in a cheesecloth pouch allows the beef to get all the flavor from the herbs, but none of the leaves/twigs. You should be able to find some in the ‘cooking tools’ section of your grocery store.
*Refrigerating the meat allows the flavors to mingle, and also allows the fat to congeal so that you can remove a good amount of it before serving. I definitely recommend refrigerating the shredded meat in broth before eating. Not only does it allow the shredded beef to marinate in the flavorful juices, but once you see all the fat that hardens on the surface, you’ll understand.
*You can also reheat a smaller portion in a covered saucepan over medium-low on the stovetop over medium-low heat
*Put some of the warmed liquid in a separate ramekin or small bowl and use it dip your sandwich in it while eating. (This is in bold on purpose- because it’s important!) 🙂
*If you don’t have a slow-cooker, bring to a simmer on the stovetop and reduce to low, check after 6 hours; or PW cooks hers in a 275F oven for 5-6 hours.