Pot roast with strawberry sauce
The sauce traces its origin on an accident that took place in Baguio a few months ago. Speedy and I were browsing the flea market stalls behind Wright Park and there was this sales girl practically pushing jars of strawberry jam at us. The price was good and we took a chance. Huge mistake, it turned out. The jam was so thick it wasn’t spreadable. Too much pectin, I suspect.
The jar sat on the kitchen island and languished, suffering the same fate as all the other results of food shopping disasters. Then, Sam, ever the food genius, suggested that I turn it into a syrup that could be poured over pancakes and ice cream. Brilliant! It was the first thing I did when I got up this morning. I scraped the contents of the jar into a sauce pan, added water and simmered the mixture until the jam had thinned down into a silky syrupy consistency. Sam would be pleased when she comes home on the weekend.
But I then realized that the long and careful simmering of strawberry syrup didn’t exactly solve the problem of what Speedy and I would have for lunch today. I had thawed a strip of beef brisket in the fridge overnight, I hadn’t decided yet what dish it would become, I took another look at the strawberry syrup and decided that, for convenience’s sake, they would have to go together somehow. Most times, you give up something with potential for greatness when you take short cuts for convenience’s sake. Not in this case. The disastrous jam and the quickie pot roast went beautifully together — another proof that meat and fruits are, when properly combined, quite excellent partners.
If you want to make something similar, I’m not going to suggest that you buy bad strawberry jam just to make the sauce. Take a good jar of strawberry jam, heat it with a little water to make it pourable and that’s that.
For the pot roast, simply brown a piece of beef brisket in butter, pour in water to cover half of the meat, add salt, pepper, garlic and bay leaves, and simmer away. Turn the meat every half hour or so and add more water if the liquid dries up before the meat is done. Don’t add too much liquid though. Ideally, the liquid should be zero by the time the beef is done. Cool the meat for half an hour, slice, smother with the strawberry sauce and serve with vegetables and herbed rice.