If you are thinking “native American”, this recipe probably wouldn’t raise an eyebrow. But we’ve long since stopped calling Native Americans “Indians”. No, the name of this dish refers to the Asian sub-continent of India. And that may be even more surprising. The cow is considered sacred by most Hindus. That makes beef taboo in all but two Indian states: Goa on the west coast and Kerala at the southern tip of India. There you will find it sold in restaurants. But in the rest of India, you’ll have to seek out international restaurants catering to Western customers who simply can’t live without their beef.
|Sacred Cow in front of McDonald’s…|
|Behold the Maharaja Mac|
Where, I wondered, does that leave McDonald’s? There are over 250 McDonald’s in 12 Indian cities and not one Big Mac to be found in any of them. Instead the offerings are limited to the McVeggie—bread, peas, carrots, potatoes, Indian spices, lettuce and Mayo on a sesame seed bun. The McChicken is self explanatory. The Filet o Fish sounds exactly like the one at home. And what is the Big Mac equivalent? Two browned chicken breasts, onions, lettuce, tomatoes and cheese on “ Sesame bedecked bread buns”. Top of the line, it’s called the Chicken Maharaja-Mac. And it costs just 60 rupees. That’s 1.30 cents. So what’s with Whole Foods “Indian Pot Roast”?
of the Yankee Pot Roast,
the New England Boiled Dinner
Pot Roast, or Yankee Pot Roast as it was first called, made its first appearance in 1881. Basically, it was a version of the New England Boiled Dinner. That particular dish featured cured meat—like corned beef—and vegetables—turnips, carrots, cabbage and potatoes—all boiled together. Yankee Pot Roast switched out the corned beef for fresh rump or round roast. The Pot of course referred to the deep dish the Pot roast was cooked in. There’s nothing more American to me than Pot Roast. But Pot Roast has evolved and today you can find recipes for Cacciatore-style Pot Roast and Chipotle Pot Roast. How long could it be before someone created “Indian Pot Roast”? And what a good idea it was! All the richness of Indian spices –cumin, ginger, turmeric and black pepper—are rubbed all over the meat. Then the browning is done, onions are added and, in a beef broth and tomato juice mixture, the whole thing goes in the oven for a good, long roast. But the spice rub is not where the Indian inflection stops. The vegetables used in this dish are typically Indian, particularly the cauliflower. And since cauliflower season is upon us, I wanted to share this delicious take on an old family favorite. Because there are potatoes in the dish, there’s no need for another starch. This is a wonderful introduction to the flavors of India in a form that’s as familiar as apple pie. Here’s the recipe:
Recipe for Indian Pot Roast from Whole Foods Market:
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon Sea Salt
½ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
One 2 ½-3 lb. boneless beef chuck roast
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 onions, thinly sliced
1 ¾ cup reduced salt beef broth
½ cup Tomato Juice
1 head of cauliflower cut into florets
1 lb. of carrots, cut into 1 inch chunks
½ lb. potatoes, cut into 1 inch chunks or use fingerling potatoes as I did.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a small bowl, combine cumin, salt, ginger, turmeric and pepper. Pat roast dry with paper towels and rub all over with the seasoning mixture.
In a large Dutch oven or oven-proof heavy saucepot, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the roast and brown on all sides. Remove to a plate and set aside. Add onions and ¼ cup of water and cook about 10 minutes until the onions are tender and golden, stirring occasionally.
Stir in the broth and the juice and bring to a boil. Add the roast back into the pot, cover and transfer to oven. Roast for 2 hours.
Stir in the potatoes, carrots and cauliflower and continue roasting for 45 minutes or until the vegetables and the meat are tender. Transfer the roast and the vegetables to a large serving platter. Drizzle with gravy from the pan, reserving what is left to pass after serving.