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COMFORT FOOD : Forget frivolous fare. Ignore the exotic. In times of trouble we turn to the familar and seek the solace of home. : Foods that reassure: Big breakfasts. Warm doughnuts. A simple steak. Beef stew. And ambrosia. : A Few of Our Favorite Things : . . . A Bowl of Beef

January 24, 1991|CHARLES PERRY

I never thought about it before, but this is what I actually cook when it's time to stay at home and regroup. It's no particular recipe--I guess it combines ingredients from my mother's pot roast with . . . I don't know, a rich spaghetti sauce, maybe. Anyway, it does the trick for me--I find this dish sort of like lying in bed and pulling a blanket over your head.




4 onions, coarsely chopped

1 (3 1/2-pound) chuck roast

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 (28-ounce) cans whole tomatoes, with juice

1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste

1 teaspoon salt

5 carrots, peeled and cut in thick slices

2 black peppercorns

1 bay leaf

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1 whole clove

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Sugar, optional

Cooked rice or canned hominy

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in 8-quart saucepot over medium heat. Add onions and saute until transparent, stirring occasionally. Remove onions from pot and set aside.

Trim bone, fat and cartilage from beef and cut meat into 1-inch cubes. Place 5 or 6 pieces at time in pot and saute until light brown, adding more oil if necessary. Add garlic to pot and saute briefly in remaining oil.

Return meat and onions to saucepot and add tomatoes, tomato paste and salt. Bring slowly to boil. Add carrots, peppercorns, bay leaf, thyme, clove and cinnamon. Reduce heat, cover loosely and simmer 1 hour. Uncover and cook another 1 1/2 hours, or until meat is tender and sauce has thickened, stirring occasionally. (Add water if necessary.) Adjust seasonings to taste. Some tomato pastes are more acidic than others and dash of sugar may be desired. Serve with rice. Makes 6 servings.

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