(4-6 hours, served 8)
This is a dish of Dutch / Sri Lankan origin, perfect for a Sunday roast, when you have time for long, slow (yet easy) cooking. A great dinner party dish. Yummy with rice — also great in weekday lunch sandwiches on hearty Italian bread, or shredded into a pita or folded naan, with some pickled onions and a little yogurt. Long-handled metal tongs will help with moving the large piece of hot meat. Delicious with a deep red wine; garnish with cilantro if desired.
3 lb. chuck roast
3 T oil or ghee
1/2 c. vinegar
1 T salt
1 T pepper
1 T tamarind, dissolved in one c. water
2 medium onions, finely chopped
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 T finely chopped fresh ginger
1 stick cinnamon
2 stalks curry leaves
1 stalk lemon grass, chopped
2 T Sri Lankan curry powder
2 t. chili powder
1 t. turmeric
1/2 t. fenugreek seeds
2 t. salt
1 cup coconut milk
1. Pierce the beef all over with a fork or skewer and marinate in vinegar, 1 T salt, and 1 T pepper for 2-4 hours. (I find this easiest to do in a plastic bag, turning periodically.)
2. Heat the oil or ghee on high in a large, heavy pot, and sear the beef until lightly brown on all side, which will seal the meat and help to retain the juices; it also adds great depth of flavor to the sauce. Remove the meat from the pan and set aside.
3. To the same pan, add the tamarind water, onions, garlic, ginger, cinnamon, curry leaves, lemon grass, curry powder, chili powder, turmeric, fenugreek, and remaining salt. Stir to combine, scraping up any browned meat on the bottom of the pan.
4. Return the meat to the pot, bring to a boil, cover the pot well (the steam needs to stay in, to cook the meat), and simmer gently until meat is tender, approximately 2 hours.
5. Add coconut milk and simmer uncovered 15 minutes.
6. Remove meat to a serving dish; if the gravy is too thin, reduce it by boiling rapidly uncovered. Transfer gravy to a serving bowl. Slice the meat into the desired thickness, and pour gravy over the slices; serve hot with rice or bread.