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Pot Roast Recipe with Apples, Sweet Potatoes and Prunes

This Pot Roast recipe adds spices to the natural sweetness of grass-fed beef.
By Jennifer McGruther
February 2014
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This Pot Roast recipe brings together spices that are usually reserved for desserts or baked goods, for a sweet and welcome twist to grass-fed beef.
Photo by Jennifer McGruther
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The Nourished Kitchen (Ten Speed Press, 2014) celebrates the traditions of homemade cooking—techniques that have been forgotten in modern times. Jennifer McGruther is a food educator and advocate for farm fresh foods, and she has become a respected authority on farm-to-table cooking. Featuring 175 recipes for traditional, wholesome foods, this book will take you back to the basics of American cooking. Excerpted from “From the Range”, this Pot Roast recipe includes apples, prunes, and sweet potatoes that bring out a subtle spiciness. 

Apples, sweet potatoes, and prunes complement grass-fed beef’s natural, if subtle, sweetness in this simple pot roast. My family relies on pot roasts frequently, particularly in the fall and winter, when one roast might feed us for several meals.

Nowadays, spices like allspice and cloves seem relegated to baked goods and desserts, though they have traditionally been used to season meats in addition to sweets. I like the way their sweet spiciness forms a bridge of flavors between the beef, apples, sweet potatoes, and prunes in this dish. If you can’t find hard cider for this pot roast, substitute sweet apple cider.

Pot Roast Recipe with Apples, Sweet Potatoes and Prunes

• 2 teaspoons finely ground unrefined sea salt
• 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
• 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
• 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
• 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
• 1 rump roast (about 4 pounds)
• 3 tablespoons lard or tallow
• 1 yellow onion, quartered
• 3 apples, peeled, cored, and quartered
• 3 large sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1-inch pieces
• 2 cups pitted prunes
• 4 cups Beef Bone Broth (see below)
• 2 cups hard apple cider 

1. Preheat the oven to 275 degrees F.

2. Measure the salt, pepper, allspice, coriander, and cloves into a small bowl, then whisk them together to form a spice rub.

3. Rinse the meat and pat it dry. Rub the spices into all sides of the meat.

4. Melt the fat in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat, then place the seasoned meat in the hot fat, searing it for about 3 minutes on each side.

5. Arrange the onion, apples, sweet potatoes, and prunes around the meat, then pour in the broth and hard cider.

6. Turn off the heat, cover the pot, and transfer it to the oven. Leave the pot in the oven for 4 hours, or until the meat becomes tender and the vegetables soften.

7. Spoon the vegetables into bowls, slice the meat, and layer it over the vegetables. Ladle on a bit of sauce over the roast and serve. Serves 6 to 8.

Beef Bone Broth Recipe

The trick to making a good beef bone broth is to roast the bones before simmering them in a pot of water, herbs, and vegetables. Roasting helps to release a significant amount of fat from the bones, which can otherwise leave a greasy film in the broth or infuse it with an odd, flat, and almost acrid flavor. With much of the fat released and a rounder, more complex flavor developed during roasting, the resulting broth has the flavorful complexity of roast beef.

I find that beef bone broth makes an excellent base for hearty soups, stews, and braised meats. When preparing roasted root vegetable soups, I invariably choose this broth because it, unlike milder chicken broth, has the fortitude to complement assertive flavors.

While you can use any beef bones to produce a delicious broth, choosing a variety of beef bones including neck bones, knuckle bones, and a small number of marrow bones will produce the richest broth.

• 5 pounds beef soup bones
• 2 bay leaves
• 4 sprigs thyme
• 3 tablespoons whole black peppercorn
• 2 large yellow onions, quartered
• 3 carrots, chopped
• 2 celeriac, peeled and chopped
• 4 cloves garlic, smashed
• 1 cup red wine
• 2 gallons water, plus more as needed

1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

2. Arrange the bones in a roasting pan in a single layer and roast for 45 minutes. Transfer the bones to a heavy stockpot.

3. Toss in the bay leaves, thyme, peppercorns, onions, carrots, celeriac, and garlic. Pour in the red wine and water.

4. Bring the liquid to a boil over high heat, then immediately lower the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for at least 12 and up to 18 hours, adding water as necessary to keep the bones submerged.

5. Strain the broth through a fine-mesh sieve, discard the solids, and pour the broth into jars. Cover the jars and place them in the fridge; you can remove the fat that hardens on the surface and use it for cooking. Use up the broth within a week, or freeze it for up to 6 months. Makes about 4 quarts.

More Recipes from The Nourished Kitchen

Spring Vegetable Stew recipe with Chicken Broth
Wild Mushroom Soup recipe

Reprinted with permission from The Nourished Kitchen: Farm-to-Table Recipes for the Traditional Foods Lifestyle by Jennifer McGruther and published by Ten Speed Press, 2014.


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