This recipe has been a Christmas tradition for the past five years. As those of you who know me are aware, I’m Jewish. How, might you ask, did a Jewish person come to have Christmas traditions?
Step one: spend the traditional holiday season away from family because you are the one person at work to whom that day doesn’t have a lot of meaning and so you work all the shifts around Christmas.
Step two: make friends who work in the restaurant industry, also live away from family, and fervently love Christmas.
Step three: jump on any excuse to eat, drink, and be merry with the people you love.
Step four: bring what you know of traditional holiday meals to a new holiday with new seasoning.
And before you know it, you and your friends have become family and you have years of delicious Christmas tradition. Every year since the first year I made this dish, my friend Kristie has requested–as much as Kristie requests anything about which she’s passionate, by which I mean has insisted– that I recreate this dish. This year she also had the brilliant idea to serve the roast (which is rather spicy) with her buttermilk mashed potatoes. While I was initially dubious having usually served curry dishes with rice, I must capitulate that the mashed potatoes were the perfect compliment to the roast.
This dish is meant for sharing with loved ones and warming you up on a cold winter night. So gather your people, hunker down with some games while the roast cooks, and then eat yourselves into a delightful food coma.
Curried Beef Pot Roast
4 Tbl. turmeric
2 Tbl. paprika
1 Tbl. fenugreek
1 Tbl. freshly ground coriander
1.5 tsp freshly ground cardamom
2 Tbl. freshly ground cumin
1 Tbl. ground dried ginger
1 Tbl. Freshly ground black pepper
1-4 finely chopped ghost and/or scorpion chilies (as mentioned before, ghost chilies tend to rate around 1 million scoville units; scorpion chilies rack up 3x that amount. How brave are your tastebuds and how much meat do you have? I defer to you.)
4-6 cloves minced garlic
One 2-5 lbs. roast (pot, chuck, most varieties of beef roast will work, but may change the texture and cook time)
One onion, sliced
2-4 bouillon cubes (depending on the size of the cubes and the roast)
2 Tbl. olive oil
2 cups water
Preheat the oven to 350. If the roast comes tied with thread, leave the thread on the roast. Grind and mix all the spices together. Line the bottom of a large and deep baking pan with onions, and drizzle liberally with olive oil. Massage the meat liberally with the rub, and place it on top of the onions. Sprinkle any remaining rub over the exposed onions and on top of the roast. Put the bouillon cubes in the pan with the onions, and fill the pan with water until it is half submerged. Then cover the pan with foil, stick it in the heated oven, and forget about it for an hour.
After an hour, flip the roast and cover again with foil for 30-45 minutes. Continue doing this until the final hour of cooking, at which point remove the foil and flip the roast very 15 minutes. A 2 lb roast will likely take 2.5-3 hours to cook in the oven, a 5 lb roast 5-6 hours. The end goal is to reduce the liquid in the pan by half, and to have the meat falling apart. During the last 30 minutes, cut any ties that may be around the roast and begin to pull the roast apart with tongs if it is not falling apart on its own.
I do recommend serving with buttermilk mashed potatoes, though Kristie may not part with her recipe so readily. One can only hope, but I know there are other sources for tasty, if perhaps not-quite-so-excellent, buttermilk mashed potatoes.
Though this has been a Christmas dinner tradition primarily in my world, this roast can be an excellent reason to have an impromptu holiday celebration for any, or no, reason.