An old-fashioned braised beef roast updated for today's tastes with Asian flavours and shiitake mushrooms.
1 package (1/2 oz.) dried shiitake mushrooms
1 cup boiling water
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 beef pot roast, blade or rump, about 3-1/2 to 4 lb.
4 long French shallots, thinly sliced, or 8 small shallots
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp minced ginger
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cracked black peppercorns
8 oz. fresh shiitake mushrooms, stems removed
1/3 cup vodka (optional)
1 can (10 oz.) condensed beef broth (undiluted)
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tbsp oyster sauce
2 tbsp hoisin sauce
1 tsp finely chopped chili pepper (optional)
2 tbsp cornstarch dissolved in 2 tbsp cold water
Step 1: In a heatproof bowl, soak mushrooms in boiling water for 30 minutes. Strain through a fine sieve, reserving liquid. Pat mushrooms dry with paper towel and chop finely. Set aside.
Step 2: In a skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add meat and brown on all sides. Transfer to slow cooker.
Step 3: Reduce heat in skillet to medium. Add shallots to pan and cook until soft. Add garlic, ginger, salt, peppercorns and reserved mushrooms. Cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add fresh mushrooms and cook, stirring, for 1-2 minutes. Add vodka, if using, and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add reserved mushroom soaking liquid and beef broth, and bring to a boil.
Step 4: Pour mixture over meat, cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours or on high for 4-5 hours, until meat is tender. Transfer roast to a large platter. Using a slotted spoon, remove solids from cooking liquid and arrange around roast. Cover with foil and keep warm.
Step 5: In a saucepan, over medium heat, bring cooking liquid to a boil. Add soy sauce, oyster sauce, hoisin sauce and chili pepper, if using. Cook for 5 minutes until liquid is reduced by one third. Stir in dissolved cornstarch and cook until sauce thickens. Pour over roast and mushrooms. Serve with rice or mashed potatoes.
Reprinted with permission from Judith Finlayson's The 150 Best Slow Cooker Recipes (2001 Robert Rose).