My good friend and former business partner, Diego, brought me some beef from a little, tiny Uruguayo grocery store in Queens that imports its beef from Uruguay. The store is close to a wonderful Uruguayan restaurant called El Chivito D’Oro in Jackson Heights.
I have traveled to Uruguay over 30 times in the last 15 years for work and pleasure, creating with Diego our travel company, Discover Uruguay, which features travels to Uruguay and parts of Argentina and Brazil. I turned my share of the company over to my cohort about a year ago to pursue my passion for cooking.
Uruguay is a tiny, precious country sandwiched between Argentina and Brazil, a little smaller than the state of Washington. It has hundreds of miles of coast and mild winters. Their summer is our winter, so while you are freezing in the US you can take off and enjoy their warm, friendly people who love to dance ’til dawn and its hundreds of miles of coast.
Inland it is cows, rich grass and eucalyptus. You could never find better conditions to raise beef. Uruguay beef is some of the best in the world. It is all grass fed with miles of free range for each cow.
Diego brought me morcilla, the sweet blood sausage, made only in Uruguay and filled with raisins and nuts. He also brought me the local chorizo, big 12 inch beef ribs, and 2 big slabs of beef of unidentified location on the cow. I asked Diego what they were and he said “beef.” Ok…. What to do???
I wrapped everything, oh so lovingly and put it in the freezer. I left it there for about a week until I had some inspiration.
Mom’s Uruguayo Pot Roast
3 pounds of unidentified cut of Uruguayo beef
2 yellow onions, sliced
1 cup red wine
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
3 springs rosemary
1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon paprika
2 tablespoons minced broad leaf Italian parsley
1 large parsnip, peeled and cut in 2 inch chunks
3 large carrots, peeled and cut in 2 inch chunks
4 – 5 medium yukon gold potatoes, cut in quarters, unpeeled
1 tablespoon of fresh minced basil
2 tablespoons ghee, melted
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon dill
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
Yesterday I defrosted one of the slabs. It weighed a little over 3 pounds. I rinsed it and laid it out on paper towels on a cutting board. It was about 18 inches long, 12 inches wide and ranged between 1/2 inch to 1 inch thick. I minced 3 cloves of garlic and 3 sprigs of rosemary and spread it on the beef with 1/4 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper. Then I sprinkled 2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar and 2 tablespoons of soy sauce over the surface of the beef. I rolled it up and tied it with 3 pieces of twine.
In the bottom of my All Clad Slow Cooker I put one sliced yellow onion and 1 cup of red wine. I placed the rolled beef on top of the onions and rolled it around in the wine so it was coated on all sides. Then I sprinkled 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of paprika on the top and sliced the second onion and put that on top as well. Finally I sprinkled on the minced parsley.
I assembled all the vegetables in a bowl, and poured the ghee and olive oil on top. I added 1/2 teaspoon of salt, 1/4 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper, the basil and dill. I combined it all with my hands and laid the vegetables in the slow cooker around the beef. I put on the lid and cooked it on low for 6 hours.
I removed the lid and used a ladle to remove most of the fat to a small cup. In a small saucepan, heated to medium low, I added 2 tablespoons of the fat and the flour. I let it cook for 2 minutes and then ladled 1 cup of the broth from the slow cooker into the sauce pan to make a roux. I pour the roux back into the slow cooker and stirred it around to make a gravy. I left the slow cooker on warm until we were ready to serve.
To serve, we removed the beef to a platter and cut the strings. We used a very sharp knife to slice it because it was so tender. We put all the vegetables in a ceramic bowl and the gravy in a gravy boat. Five of us ate every scrap. There was not a trace left. We served it with steamed swiss chard. Wow!!!