Hannukah dinner

It is customary to eat foods cooked in oil during Hannukah to commemorate the discovery of a small flask of pure olive oil, which was only supposed to last one day, but instead it lasted eight.  I did forego the jelly doughnuts, but couldn’t resist the potato latkes (pancakes) served with applesauce and (light) sour cream.

Pot roast in red wine

  • One  4-pound chuck or bottom-round roast, trimmed of fat
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • Generous amount of ground pepper
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 ½ cups dry red wine
  • 1 ½ cups beef broth
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ green pepper, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, minced
  • ½ pound mushrooms, sliced

In a deep stove and oven-proof casserole dish just slightly wider than your roast, heat up oil over medium-high heat.  Mix flour, salt and pepper together. Sprinkle flour mixture on one side of the meat and rub it in.  Flip the roast over and repeat on the other side.  Rub remaining flour mixture onto the sides of the roast.  When the oil is hot, put the roast in the casserole and brown it, then flip it over and brown the other side.

Removed the browned roast to a cutting board.  Add wine and broth to the pan and scrape up any browned bits.  Add vegetables.  Return roast to the pan.  Using a ladle, spoon liquid over the top of the roast.  Put the cover on the dish (or cover it tightly with foil) and put it in a 325 degree oven on the lowest shelf.  Roast will cook about three hours.  Or until it can pierced easily with a knife.

Roasted Balsamic root vegetables

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic peeled and smashed but still whole
  • 1 pound each carrots, parsnips and beets, root ends, stem ends removed. Peeled and cut into 1 ½” chunks
  • 2 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp minced rosemary
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper

Marinate garlic in olive oil for about 1 ½ hours.  Remove garlic and discard.  Blend the oil, vinegar, rosemary, salt and pepper together.  Toss with the vegetables and spread them out in a baking dish in a single layer.  Put on the top shelf of oven and roast 75-90 minutes.  Stir mixture once to allow even browning.  Turn the heat off.  Take the roast casserole out of the oven.  Take the roast out of the dish and put it on a cutting board to rest.  If the sauce is not thick enough, thicken it with a paste of 1 tbsp cornstarch and 2 tbsp water and heat over high heat until thickened, stirring occasionally.

Potato Latkes

  • 2 pounds russet (floury) potatoes, shredded
  • ½ onion minced
  • 1 egg
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 6 tsp oil

Put shredded potatoes in a clean kitchen towel. Wrap towel around potatoes and wring out as much moisture as you can.  Mix the potatoes with the remaining ingredients.  Heat 2 tsp oil in a non-stick skillet over medium high heat.  When oil is hot, spoon about 3 tbsp of the mixture into the skillet and flatten it to make a 2-in pancake. Repeat to make three more pancakes.  Cook for about 5 minutes or until brown on the bottom. Flip pancakes over and brown the other side.  Remove pancakes with a pancake turner and put them on a heat proof serving platter.  Put the platter in the oven to keep it warm under the residual heat.  Repeat, two times to make 8 more pancakes, for a total of 12 small pancakes.

While latkes are cooking, steam one 1 pound of frozen green beans according to package directions.  Add 1 tbsp butter and toss.

Slice roast and top with gravy.  Serve with roasted vegetables and green beans, and latkes topped with applesauce and light sour cream. Serves 6.

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