If you take a quick look at my recipe archives, you will probably notice that I don’t consume red meat very frequently. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE red meat! I just usually don’t feel like eating it on a daily, or even sometimes weekly basis. However, every once in a while, I find myself craving a proper big hunk of meat. No flimsy little steak or even a ridiculously good burger will do, oh no…it has to be BIG and it has to be juicy and it has to be friggin’ EPIC.
My go-to is usually my family’s signature timeless Lamb Roast, but in recent years, as my sense of experimentation and food wonder grew, I stumbled upon this concept of balsamic vinegar in roasting…and let me tell you, what a revelation it has been!
The combination of beef and balsamic vinegar is just magic, especially when cooked low and slow for a prolonged period of time. Everything caramelises and darkens and deepens into the most gorgeously complex and sweet flavour ever.
Something about big cuts of meat is intimidating for most people, and yes, I get it. They look scary and seem as though they will be difficult to handle and cook properly. However, again, I am here to tell you that this is a huge misconception. Slow cooking large cuts of meat is hands-down the easiest method of all, and once you try it, you will most definitely be hooked. All you actually do is some seasoning or marinating and some occasional checks/basting and that is IT. The oven does all the hard and laborious work for you.
In this recipe for example, you literally just mix up a super simple sauce from super simple pantry ingredients in a jug, pour it over the meat, throw it in the oven and forget about it for three hours. Then you skim off some of the excess fat (don’t throw it away though! Save it for cooking other beefy dishes), shred up the meat with a couple of forks and finish off for another half hour in the oven to get it nicely dark brown and caramelised.
How easy is that??
A great bonus is that the leftovers can be stretched to form several other meals throughout the week, or you can cheat and roast a double portion and freeze half for a rainy day. Another awesome plus is that secondary cuts of meat, which are perfect for roasting and slow cooking, are in fact much more flavourful and always cheaper than primary lean cuts like fillets. So it really is a win-win situation you guys. All it takes is a tiny bit of planning ahead.
As for those of you who feel too unfamiliar with the different cuts of meat, I urge you to please have a chat with your butcher! That’s what they’re there for. Ask them what they think is a suitable piece for slow roasting or for quick stir-frying or stewing or whatever it is you wish to do, and I guarantee they will be more than happy to lend some expert advice.
If they don’t, well then it might be time to find a friendlier butcher.
- • 1.2-1.5kg chuck or round roast beef (or any similar beef cut suitable for slow roasting)*
- FOR THE SAUCE:
- • ½ cup (125ml) balsamic vinegar
- • 1 cup (250ml) water
- • 3 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
- • 2 tbsp. soy sauce
- • 4 cloves garlic, minced
- • 1 tbsp. honey
- • ½ tsp. ground black pepper (optional)
- • 1 tsp. chilli flakes (optional)
- Preheat oven to 160 degrees C (320 F)
- Place the beef in a large roasting dish, preferably one that has a lid. I used my cast iron dutch oven, but any roasting dish will work (you can use foil if it doesn’t have a lid). There is no need for the beef roast to be tied (trussed), as you will be shredding it later and the string will make it difficult to do so.
- Mix all the ingredients for the sauce well in a jug or bowl, then pour over the beef. Cover the dish/pot and cook in the oven for 3-3½ hours, covered.
- After 3 hours, remove the dish from the oven. The meat will have shrunk a bit and there will probably be a good amount of fat on the surface of the sauce. Skim off as much fat as you can off the liquid (I like to keep this fat in the freezer for using later, it has tons of beefy flavour!). Using two forks, shred the beef as finely as you like, removing any excess fatty bits and spread out onto the bottom of the dish to soak up all the sauce.
- Return the dish to the oven, and roast for a further 30-40 minutes, this time uncovered, until darkened and the sauce is reduced slightly. Serve with potatoes, rice or in sandwiches. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge up to 5 days, or in the freezer for 3 months.
• Alternatively, you can cook the beef in a slow cooker for 4 hours on high or 6-8 hours on low.
Recipe adapted from Add a Pinch