This is the irony of autumn, yesterday I was stewing summer gems like tomatoes, eggplant and zucchini and today I’m making a rich braised beef.
A chuck roast is a powerhouse cut, it is flavorful and cheap—this is how you feed a crowd on a budget. I like to cut the roast into large pieces, then everyone gets a nice large hunk of beef and the meat stays moist.
The most essential (and time consuming) step in this recipe is the browning of the beef. The oil must be very hot when the pieces go in and once you place them in the pot —a few at a time now, don’t crowd—leave them alone. Once a nice brown crust has formed, then you can turn them, but to get that crust will take about 5 minutes per side. This is where you develop all the flavor so you don’t want to skimp on this step.