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Puerto Rican Pot Roast

This recipe comes from Daisy Cooks.  I love her style!

  • 1 pound smoked ham, cut into ½-inch cubes (about 3 cups)
  • ½ cup Spanish olives, pitted and coarsely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons Recaito Sauce
  • One 3 to 3 ½ pound rump roast
  • Fine sea or kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons Achtiote Oil
  • 2 red bell peppers, cored, seeded and cut into ½ -inch strips
  • ¼ cup tomato paste
  • 1/3 cup white wine vinegar
  • 6 cups water or 3 cans (14 ½ ounces) chicken broth
  • One 8-ounce can Spanish-style tomato sauce
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 large Idaho potatoes (about 2 ½ pounds)

1. Grind the ham in a food processor until it’s coarsely chopped—some larger pieces are ok. Set aside 1 cup of the ground ham and stir the olives and recaito into the remaining 2 cups. Take a look at the rump roast. You will be able to see the “grain” of the meat—fibers that run in one direction. You will slice the finished pot roast against the grain, so you want to make pockets of stuffing more or less diagonal to the grain, so some of the stuffing shows in each slice. Make deep cuts about 1 inch apart and diagonally against the grain with a boning knife. To make the holes large enough to fill easily, wiggle a finger around in each cut. Fill each hole to about ½ inch from the opening. Don’t overstuff or when the meat shrinks it will squeeze out all the stuffing. If a little stuffing does get squeezed out during cooking that’s fine; it flavors the sauce. Season the outside of the roast generously with salt and pepper.

2. Heat the achiote oil in a Dutch oven large enough to hold the meat and potatoes comfortably—a 5-quart Dutch oven works well—over medium heat. Add the roast and cook, turning it occasionally, until well-browned on all sides, about 10 minutes. (A sturdy pair of tongs comes in handy here.) The achiote oil will make the meat brown quickly—so keep an eye on it, lowering the heat if the oil begins to discolor. Lift the beef out to a plate and carefully pour or spoon off all but about a tablespoon of the fat from the pan. Add the red peppers and the remaining ham and stir until the little bits that are stuck to the bottom of the pot are loosened and the peppers start to soften, about 4 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and cook,

stirring so it doesn’t stick and burn, for a minute or two. Stir in the vinegar, bring it to a boil and cook until the liquid is syrupy, about 4 minutes.

3. Return the meat to the Dutch oven, stir in the liquid of your choice, the tomato sauce, and the bay leaves. Bring to a boil and boil for 15 minutes, skimming the foam and fat from the surface. Adjust the heat so the liquid is at a happy simmer. Cover and cook until the meat is tender, about 2 hours.

4. Remove the meat to a carving board and cover it loosely with aluminum foil to keep it warm while cooking the potatoes.

5. Bring the sauce to a boil. Let it boil while you peel and cut the potatoes into ½-inch slices. Add the potatoes and cook over low heat until tender, about 20 minutes.

6. Carve the meat against the grain into slices about ¼-inch thick—thick enough so the filling stays in place. Transfer the potatoes to a platter with a slotted spoon. Lay the slices of beef over the potatoes and spoon enough of the sauce over the meat to moisten it. Spoon the remaining sauce into a boat and pass it separately. Sprinkle the chopped parsley over the top.

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