Asado Negro (Venezuelan Roast Beef)

Asado Negro (Venezuelan Roast Beef)

4 lb beef chuck, tied for a roast
4 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
3 stalks of celery, washed, peeled and thinly sliced
1 leek, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced and washed
2 white onions, peeled, cut in half and sliced thinly in half rounds
3 dried bay leaves
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
1 cup of sugar
1 cup of water
1 cup cabernet sauvignon wine (an inexpensive Chilean one would do nicely)
2 cups of white wine vinegar
3 tbsp of brown sugar
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tbsp of vegetable oil
2 large green bell peppers, stemmed, seeded and cut in half inch cubes
8 medium white button mushrooms, sliced thinly
sea salt, to taste
ground pepper, to taste
5 parsley sprigs, washed, leaves removed and roughly chopped (for garnish, optional)

Using a sharp paring knife, make incisions on all sides of the roast and insert the slices of garlic. Combine the celery, leek, onions, bay leaves, olive oil and Worchestershire sauce in a sealable plastic bag. Add the roast, pressing out as much air as possible and seal the bag. Place in refrigerator overnight for best flavor, or for at least for 3 hours.

In a deep pot over medium high heat, combine sugar and water, stir infrequently and cook for about 30 minutes or until a dark caramel color is reached. Carefully add the wine, vinegar and brown sugar (the hot caramel will splatter) and cook, stirring just until there are no sugar lumps in mixture, about 5 minutes. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Remove the beef from marinade (reserving the marinade) and season with salt and pepper all over. Heat an oven safe medium-sized pot with a lid (large enough for the roast and vegetables) over high heat. Add the butter and vegetable oil. Sear the meat over high heat until brown on all sides. Remove to a plate.

Pour off any excess fat, leaving about 3 tablespoons in the pan. Add the reserved marinade and cook over high heat until the onions turn translucent, about 10 minutes. Return beef to pan with cooked marinade and scatter the bell pepper and sliced mushroom pieces on top and around the beef. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Pour the caramel-wine sauce over the beef, cover pot and place in oven for about 1 hour.

Remove from the oven, baste the beef with the juices, reduce oven temperature to 275°F and cook for another 11/2 hours, basting every 30 minutes.

Remove from the oven and let rest for 20 minutes. Place roast on cutting board and slice into ½-inch thick pieces. Place all cooked vegetables (but not the sauce) in an ovenproof dish and arrange beef slices over them and set aside. Taste the sauce, which should be of an almost syrupy consistency. If not, place in a pan and reduce over low heat until it reaches a syrupy consistency. Taste and re-season with salt and pepper if needed. Remove bay leaves from sauce pour over beef slices.

Return to the oven for 30 minutes at 275°F. Sprinkle with freshly chopped parsley and serve immediately.