Revised 2012 Dec 15
2 tablespoons bacon fat or coconut oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 rib celery, chopped
1 pound mushrooms, (white or cremini), quartered
2 tablespoons tomato paste
14.5 ounces canned chopped tomatoes
1/2 cup tomato sauce
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 cup water
1 cup red wine, divided
1 large garlic head
4 sprigs fresh thyme
1 sprig fresh rosemary
ground black pepper
Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 300°F. Pat the chuck roast dry with paper towels and season generously with salt and pepper.
Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat until just smoking. Brown roast on all sides, 8 to 12 minutes. Transfer roast to large plate.
Reduce heat to medium and cook onion, celery, mushrooms, and tomato paste until vegetables begin to soften, about 8 minutes.
Add diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, sugar, water, 1/2 cup wine, garlic, and thyme.
Return roast and accumulated juices to pot and bring to simmer over medium-high heat.
Place piece of foil over pot, cover with lid, and transfer pot to oven. After an hour, flip the roast over and return to the oven. Cook for a total of 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 hours. It's done when the meat is fork tender. It should almost fall apart as you put a fork in it. The difference between undercooked and perfect is often as little as 30 minutes so, if you are in doubt, cook your meat a little longer. When the meat is fully cooked, uncover the pot and let the roast rest in the juices for 30 minutes.
Skim off whatever fat you can. Transfer roast to a carving board and tent with foil.
Remove and reserve the garlic head. Add the remaining 1/2 cup of wine to pot, bring to boil over medium-high heat, and cook until sauce begins to thicken, about 12 minutes. Meanwhile, carefully squeeze garlic from halves and mash into paste. Add rosemary to pot and simmer until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Remove and discard rosemary and thyme sprigs, stir in mashed garlic, and season sauce with salt and pepper.
Cut the meat against the grain into 1/2-inch-thick slices, or pull apart into large pieces. Transfer meat to serving platter and pour 3/4 cup sauce over meat. Serve with remaining sauce.
If the garlic cloves are fairly large then I find it easier to peel and halve them. It's a little harder to find them afterwards.
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