Coffee Up That Cow! [Coffee Braised Beef w Orange and Cinnamon]

I like coffee. I like it hot, I like it cold. I like it black, I like it creamy and sweet. I like it in a mug, I like it in a paper cup. I like it with breakfast, I like it with my pot roast.

Wait. What?

Coffee? Pot roast? Yes, you read correctly. I’m not losing it. I like it with my pot roast. That is to say, I like my pot roast braised in it. 

(a crumpled, well loved bag of Bridgehead coffee. A staple in our house… and not only because Mr Goudalife works there)

The more I think of the two together, the more normal it seems. I’ve heard of people getting very distinct ‘beefy’ tastes shortly after drinking a cup of coffee. I don’t think I’ve ever experienced that, but like cocoa, the bold flavour only seemed natural to pair with beef.

This braise turned out incredibly well for my first coffee/meat experiment. It’s hard to describe a specific flavour from it since the addition of citrus and cinnamon really played in well with the beef. I didn’t serve the roast with potatoes like I normally would, but instead relied on some carrots and parsnips to beef (har har) up the meal.

If you’re opposed to incredibly tender, flavourful beef, that can hardly hold itself together when you finally remove it from the oven… don’t make this. You won’t like it. Not one bit.

And for the love of God, if you tell me you don’t like parsnips we’re going to have a problem. It’ll be the next great Brussels sprout/butternut squash fiasco of 2010 and it’ll be all I cook for the next 6 months. Don’t do that to me. It’s a great inconvenience in my life and a real bore to read. 

This pot roast packs a punch in the flavour department and is extremely easy to make. I would suggest, though, that you make it on a day when you’re home and can start it early in the afternoon. Otherwise you’ll be eating at 8:30pm, like me.

If you like a starch with your meat, serve with some egg noodles or potatoes of your choice.

Coffee Braised Beef with Cinnamon and Orange
adapted from Gourmet 2006

1 large onion, chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups strong brewed coffee
3 (3- by 1-inch) strips fresh orange zest
1-2 tbsp cinnamon (I like cinnamon a lot so I added about 1.5tbsp and you could taste it just enough)
2 teaspoons packed brown sugar
1 3 1/2-lb boneless beef chuck roast
Salt and pepper
3 each carrots and parsnips (or vegetable of your choice) chopped into large chunks, optional
Parsley to garnich, optional

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 325°F.

Cook onion in oil in large heavy pot over med-high heat, stirring, until golden, (+/- 5 minutes). Add garlic and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Stir in coffee, orange, cinnamon, and brown sugar, then bring to a simmer. Season beef with salt and pepper and add to pot. Transfer pot to oven and braise, tightly covered, until meat is very tender, 3 1/2 to 4 hours.

If your pot lid does not fit tightly, slip a piece of parchement or wax paper in between the pot and the lid.

When there’s about 30-40 minutes left in the roasting time, add the chunks of carrot and parsnip. Cover and slip back in the oven.

Skim as much fat as you can from the sauce and serve in a big bowl. Like any braise, this tastes even better the next day!