Portuguese | Alcatra (Pot Roast Terceira Island-Style)
Updated on January 1, 2017
Alcatra is an Azorean-style pot roast. I had this dish often growing up. The bacon, onion, tomato, and spice mixture really make the dish. I wrote up the recipe as written in the cookbook. I cooked my roast for two hours at 400°F, then turned the oven down to 325°F and cooked it until it was falling apart.
Yield: 6 to 8 servings
1/4 pound lean slab bacon, cut into small dice
2 tablespoons olive oil
freshly ground pepper
4 pounds (or less) boned and rolled beef shoulder or chuck roast
2 large yellow onions, peeled and sliced thin
3 large garlic cloves, peeled and minced
2 large bay leaves, do not crumble
12 whole allspice
3 whole cloves
3 tablespoons tomato paste
4 cups dry white wine (buy two bottles)
Pat the beef dry, then salt and pepper it.
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Sauté the bacon in the olive oil in a large Dutch oven over moderately low heat 8 to 9 minutes or until all drippings cook out and only crisp brown bits remain; lift to paper toweling to drain with a slotted spoon.
In the drippings, brown the beef on all sides over moderately high heat. Lift the beef from the pot for the time being.
Dump the onions, bay leaves, peppercorns, allspice, and cloves into the pot and sauté, stirring often over moderate heat for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 3 to 5 minutes more, until onions are touched with brown. Blend in the tomato paste, turn the heat down low, cover, and steam 20 minutes.
Scoop half the tomato mixture into a small heat-proof bowl, return the beef and bacon to the pot, then spoon the tomato mixture on top. Add the wine and bring to a simmer.
Cover and cook 2 hours; uncover and turn the beef over in the pot liquid. Lower the oven temperature to moderately low 325°F, and cook covered about 1 hour longer or until tender and browned on top. Note: If at any point the kettle should threaten to boil dry, add a little water or additional dry white wine.
Brenda's Tip: I want to try this in a lower oven with longer cook time, 275° for 8 hours, for example. Alternatively, you can use a slow cooker. The other Alcatra recipe uses a slow cooker. The recipes are interchangeable.
(Adapted from "Pot Roast Terceira Island-Style" recipe, The Food of Portugal cookbook, p. 126.)