Beef, Entree, fruit, Meat, Recipes, Sauces, Stew

Braised Pot Roast with Pear Cider and Leek Gravy

After successfully using hard apple cider in a few dishes recently, I’ve found myself looking at a sparkling hard pear cider at the store, wondering if it will give a dish similar tasty results.
A cut of meat called “chuck tender” also caught my attention. The cut is named this way because of its’ vague resemblance to tenderloin, not because it’s actually so tender. In fact, it is quite the opposite: this lean cut requires long cooking in order to get tender. So, braising it with the pear cider seemed the obvious choice.
The pear cider I bought was semi-dry, with lovely fruity aroma, which made it perfect for using as a base for a marinade for the meat. For more complex flavors and aroma, I added some mustard seeds, bay leaves, dried shallots, tarragon and sage, to it. The meat was then let to marinate overnight, to tenderize and absorb the flavors.
After browning the meat, I used the marinade as the braising liquid, to which I also added a nice amount of leeks, carrots and cubed pear. Braising the meat with the aromatic and tasty liquid and vegetables, gave it wonderful flavor and aroma.
Once cooked, I blended the braising liquids with the smothered leeks and pear, and thickened it with a very small amount of butter and flour, creating a light gravy.
To add some fresh flavor, crispiness and color to the dish, I pan-roasted pear segments just before serving, and served them on the side.
This humble piece of meat turned into a tasty and aromatic dish, perfect for serving as a main course for the holidays, or any other time of the year. Try it and enjoy.

* I’ve used THIS brand of sparkling pear cider. In case you can’t find it, make sure the one you use is not too sweet.
* Click HERE for Judi’s (from “Cooking with Aunt Juju” blog) slow cooker version of this recipe, and many more tasty recipes.

Makes: 8-10
Prep time: 30 minutes
Marinating time:Β  overnight
Cooking time: 20 minutes
Braising time: 3 hours
Chilling time: overnight

2.2 lbs (1 Kg) beef chuck tender, in one piece
For the marinade:
1 bottle (12.7 fl oz/375 ml) sparkling hard pear cider (see notes)
2 Tbs dried shallots
2 tsp salt
2 tsp sugar
3-4 dried bay leaves
1 tsp dried tarragon leaves
1 tsp dried sage leaves
1 tsp mustard seeds
For the stew:
2 Tbs olive oil
1 tsp salt
Β½ tsp freshly ground four peppers mix
3 carrots, peeled and roughly cut
2 cups leeks, white and light green parts only, roughly chopped
1 medium ripe red pear, peeled, cored, roughly cut
For the gravy:
2 Tbs butter
1 Tbs flour
1 tsp Dijon mustard
For the pan-roasted pears:
2 Tbs butter, soft
Β½ tsp sugar
Dash salt
1 red pear, ripe but firm, unpeeled, cored, cut into 8 segments

1. Remove the silver skin from the meat and place it in a large Ziploc bag. Mix all the marinade ingredients in a medium bowl, and pour over the meat in the bag. Seal the bag and place in the fridge overnight, turning the bag once or twice.
2. When ready to cook, set the marinade aside in a medium bowl. Pat-dry the meat with paper towels.

3. Heat the olive oil in a wide pot, over medium-high heat. Add the meat and fry for 3-4 minutes on each side, until nicely browned.
4. Arrange the leeks, carrots and pear around the meat. Add the marinade, salt and pepper, and bring to the boil. Taste and adjust seasoning. Lower the heat to medium-low. Cover the pot and cook for 20 minutes, basting with the liquids occasionally.

5. Preheat the oven to 195F (90C). Place the covered pot in the oven and let braise for 3 hours, turning the meat twice, until the meat is tender. Bring to room temperature, then keep in the fridge overnight, covered.
6. The next day, discard the fat layer, carrots and bay leaves. Place the meat on a cutting board, and bring to room temperature.

7. Transfer the leek-pear mixture into a medium bowl, and puree with a hand blender. Pass through a fine strainer, and discard the pulp.

8. Melt the butter in a wide pot over medium-low heat. Add the flour and mix well, until it is absorbed in the butter. Gradually, and while stirring, add the leek-pear sauce and the mustard. Mix and bring to the boil, lower the heat and cook for 5 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning.

9. Slice the meat into thick slices, and place in the pot. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes, until heated through.

10. Meanwhile, melt the butter for the roasted pears in a medium pan. Add the cut pear, sprinkle with sugar and salt, and fry until slightly golden at the edges.

11. Arrange the sliced meat in a pre-warmed serving plate. Add the roasted pears and sauce on the side, and serve immediately.

26 thoughts on “Braised Pot Roast with Pear Cider and Leek Gravy”

  1. Does HARD pear cider mean that there is alcohol in it? Presume it would cook out, though, yah? Could this be done in a Crock-Pot ? I have a big 7-quart sized one that would easily hold all of these goodies.

    We don’t eat a lot of meat, so this would be perfect to have on hand in the freezer broken into meal-sized packets. I never know when it will be meal time, so having things handy like that is primo.

    Virtual hugs,

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hard cider indeed means it is an alcoholic drink, much less sweet than common cider. The alcohol level is very small to begin with, and it does cook off during cooking, so it’s not intoxicating on any level.
      I’m quite sure you can cook this in a crock pot, and the dish freezes well. Hope you’ll enjoy it. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Judi, I’m glad you liked the dish.
      Chuck tender was new to me too, so it got my attention. It seems they use this term exactly for this purpose! It’s a moderately priced cut and worked very well for this dish.
      I find most gravy too thick and heavy, so tried to created a lighter one, and it worked so well. The cider, pear and leeks combination is definitely a keeper! πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

            1. Thanks for the reminder – I know the brand and actually ordered from them a couple of years ago. The quality was good and it was packed well. I need to look at their website again and see if I can find some interesting cuts. πŸ™‚


  2. wow! What a lovely meal. I think I’m most impressed with that gravy! I’ve never seen sparkling hard cider, but I imagine that matters little, since the sparkling gets cooked away. I’ll have to look into this cut. Really nice.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Since any and all of the meats I use tend to end up in endless stirfries or grilled rare pot roasts are rarely on the menu. But atavistically I do make quite a lovely sauerbraten and this interesting dish follows the same lines.Using a great deal of wine in my cooking both apple and pear cider make a lovely difference. I do like the herbs chosen . . . so curiosity I daresay will see it made and tasted during the season to come . . . Hope you had a healthy and pleasant Hanukkah . . .

    Liked by 2 people

  4. The meat cut you used for this recipe in Italy is called “arrosto della vena”, taken from the front legs of veals or oxen. We do pretty much use a similar cooking process. I never used pear cider however, so that’s and interesting suggestion I will definitely try

    Liked by 2 people

  5. There is a Omaha Steaks store near me and I am on the waiting list for one of these roasts (whenever they come in again). So, maybe I will make it before the year is over. I’m surprised it is not readily available? Does sparkling cider have one of those corks like Champagne? If so I need a sub as I hate opening that kind of bottle πŸ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Indeed surprising! I found it pre-packed in a nearby supermarket and was under the impression it’s easily available. In case you can’t find it, any other cut for stewing can be used instead.
      As for the cider – the one I’ve used does have that type of cork, but I’ve seen a few that come in regular bottles and even easy to open cans. I’ve tried Angry Orchard apple cider and liked it, so I’m guessing their pear cider can work well, though I haven’t tried it yet. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I am finally going to make your roast. Question – you allow 1 night for marinating and 1 night to rest in the fridge after it’s been cooked? Why didn’t you just finish the recipe (gravy and pears) after the roast cooked and was still warm? Am I missing something here? Thanks…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sorry it took me a while to answer. Busy day…
      My main reason for this was that I wanted to slice the meat closer to serving time, as the cut is quite lean and can dry out. Another reason is that I wanted a light gravy, with only a small amount of flour to bind it, and this type can sometimes “break” while chilled.
      As for the pear, I wanted it to still be a bit crispy, and keep its color.
      Hope it makes sense! πŸ™‚


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