This is a welcome winter dish which fills the house with delicious aromas. Try to get a well-hung joint of beef – it goes without saying, so I’ll say it, the better the meat the better the pot roast.
Rub meat with salt and pepper and place in a non-metallic bowl. Combine the ingredients for the marinade, pour over the meat and refrigerate for 12–24 hours turning occasionally. Remove meat from the marinade and dry thoroughly with kitchen paper. Strain the vegetables from the marinade and reserve both.
Fry the lardons in a frying pan, add the marinated vegetables and cook until lightly golden. Remove the vegetables with a slotted spoon and put in the bottom of a casserole. Brown the meat in the hot pork fat on all sides and place on top of the vegetables. Pour a little of the fat out of the frying pan and reserve. Add the marinade to the frying pan, boil briskly and stir with a wooden spoon. Transfer to a saucepan, scraping out any bits with a wooden spoon. Add the beef stock and bring to the boil and boil briskly for a few minutes, then pour it over the beef in the casserole. Add more stock if it does not come up to half the side of the beef. Bake in a preheated slow oven at 150°C/300°F/Gas 2 for 2½ hours.
Meanwhile, sauté the carrots gently in the reserved pork fat, remove when cooked, then sauté the button onions and mushrooms; finally add the chopped tomatoes and sugar. Set aside.
Remove the beef from the casserole, mash the casseroled vegetables and strain this stock through a fine sieve, discarding the mashed vegetables. Allow this to cool a little and skim off as much of the excess fat as possible. Put the beef back in the casserole, surround it with the sautéed vegetables and replace in the oven and cook for 1 hour. Remove beef from casserole to a serving platter, arrange the vegetables round it and if the stock is not the correct consistency, reduce by boiling rapidly.
© 1998 Jennifer Paterson and Clarissa Dickson Wright estate. All rights reserved.