Mmmmmmm chocolate. I enjoy this sweet, dark delicious ambrosia whenever the mood takes me. I’m sure most of you would agree that chocolate is a food intimately tied to our emotions and with winter making an entrance, now is a great time of year to use chocolate. The sun’s mood lifting rays are increasingly weak and withdrawn. There’s frost on the windshield and snow on the ground. Winter’s icy chill is upon us promising months of cold and misery. The seasonal gloom, the distressing doldrums that make winter the most depressing season of the year have set in with a malevolent, blistering cackle which make eating chocolate a right and necessity, rather than a luxury.
Chocolate can lift anyone’s mood- it is, in fact, my antidepressant of choice. But I have a few other tried a true prescriptions that make winter’s grip less intense; meditation next to a roaring fire, eggnog laced with rum, bright crispy snow crackling beneath the glide of cross country skis and a kitchen perfumed with the mouthwatering aroma of roasting beef.
This next recipe combines the essence and mood lifting properties of chocolate with the succulent promise of roasted beef. Even though chocolate is part of the sauce, I assure you, this dish is entirely savory. The cocoa gives the sauce a depth that you can’t achieve with any other ingredient and the effect of the entire meal is entirely satisfying. You can’t eat this and hate winter at the same time. Give this chocolate pulled beef a try anytime the thermometer dips down low. It’ll be sure to elevate you and your taste buds to new heights.
Preheat oven to 250F
Salt and pepper
1/2 onion, sliced
1/4 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. molasses
1/4 c. cocoa powder
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 c. beef stock
Set a large frying pan over med/low heat and pour in 1 Tbsp olive oil. Sauté onions until they are lovely and soft and then remove them from the pan and set aside. Turn the heat up to med/high and pour in 2 more Tbsp of oil. When the oil shimmers and is quite hot, sear the beef, seasoned with salt and pepper about 3-5 minutes each side. Don’t touch the meat while it sears, just wait until a crust forms over the cooked side, then flip. Once all sides of beef have been seared, move the meat to a braising pot and pour all the rest of the ingredients (premixed in a bowl) over it. Put on the lid and pop the meat into the oven for 5 hours.
Once the meat is fully cooked, remove it from the pot- let it settle for ten minutes and then pull it apart with a fork. Once the meat is completely shredded, put it back into the sauce and then serve your delicious anti-depressant over potatoes, rice or quinoa.