This recipe is pure magic. Not because it requires some sort of next-level kitchen prowess that’s going to dazzle and delight your dinner party guests. Not because there’s some kind of mysterious culinary alchemy fusing unlikely ingredients into some new expression of palate-expanding poetry. No. This recipe is magic, because it hardly requires any actual cooking, at all. In fact, the hands-on time is somewhere around five minutes, or in other words, the same time it takes to both “open a can” and “break apart a bulb of garlic.”
The resulting braise is so simply delicious, so innocent and adaptable in flavor, that you’ll wonder why you’re not making it at least once a week. And it’s even better the next day. Serve it over egg noodles, for they are nature’s perfect food. Mashed potatoes. Orzo. Quinoa.* Fold it into tacos. Stack it on a sandwich.
*Please don’t serve this over quinoa.
Peel the garlic before it goes in. Or don’t. It doesn’t matter. This dish is impossible to mess up, and the garlic can be squeezed from the clove by your dining companions, spread onto crusty bread like butter.
Add more ingredients, if you want. An onion. Some red wine. Some red pepper flakes. A bay leaf. Or don’t. Again, it doesn’t matter, and in a way, mucking with the ingredients takes away from the awesome simplicity of the recipe.
- 1 (28 oz) can whole San Marzano tomatoes, including juice
- 1 (3.5 lb) boneless chuck roast
- 1 head garlic, separated into cloves (unpeeled)
- Preheat oven to 300°.
- Put roast in an ovenproof 5-quart heavy pot or Dutch oven with a lid. Use your hands to roughly tear up whole tomatoes, and scatter over roast with tomato juice from the can. Add garlic around it. Season liberally with salt and pepper. Braise in middle of oven, covered, until very tender, 3 to 4 hours.
- Cut roast into 1/4-inch-thick slices and serve with sauce and garlic.