This is my streamlined and oh-so-easy version of the meltingly delicious Iraqi daube my mother-in-law taught me this Christmas. The Scientist has done repeated taste tests on the subsequent reincarnations of said daube, and this is our mutual favorite. When we can't get hers, that is. :o)
Crock Pot Iraqi Daube
2 1/2 lbs. boneless chuck roast
Freshly ground pepper
5-6 cloves of garlic, peeled
1 bay leaf
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 tsp. whole cloves
1/4 tsp. whole allspice
1/4 tsp. whole cardamon seeds
1/8 tsp. whole peppercorns
2 oz. tomato paste (1/2 a 4 oz. can)
1 cup lower sodium beef broth (Swanson's is great)
1/2 tsp. salt, if desired
Generously season chuck roast with sea salt and freshly ground pepper, then sear all sides of the meat in a skillet over medium-high heat. Transfer to a Crock Pot. Add all other ingredients.
Set the Crock Pot to "high" (300 F) and cook for 3 1/2 hours. That's it!
Serve with plenty of basmati rice for sure, and tabbouli if you're feeling especially kind. Otherwise a simple salad will suffice.
Good cooks'll tell ya: Be ye conservative with the spices. If I say 1/4 tsp, I don't mean a heaping 1/4 tsp. Which is difficult, I know, since unlike well-behaved (but boring) ground spices, whole spices tend to protrude in funny ways, but you'll work it out. I could tell a funny story about too many spices, but that would be telling...maybe later, if I get permission from the one who is essentially the subject of the humor.
Why You Might Choose This Recipe Over the Other One especially since my MIL's daube is awesome:
-First, mine is considerably more economical, since it uses chuck roast vs. leg of lamb.
-Second, chuck roast doesn't require any stabbing, peeling, pre-boiling, or other simple but time-consuming preparation.
-Third, it requires zero attention while cooking, as it's done in the Crock Pot.
-Fourth, it's scaled down to serve 4-5 adults vs. many many more.
-Fifth (and last), it's not just good, it's grrrrreat!!!! I mean it. And the leftovers are the stuff dreams are made of.
My suggestion: make this one first to see if you like it. If you enjoy the flavors and texture, try the other one. There's something truly wonderful about having a big 'ol beefy soup bone in your dish that is sacrificed in this recipe.
Truth be told, I never thought there would be a day when I'd stock ingredients like whole allspice, cloves, and cardamon, much less that I'd cook meat with them, but here you have it, folks. This is one of the nicest and easiest things I would ever serve an adventurous, meat-eating dinner guest. I'm afraid that my chicken-eating little sister Grover simply won't appreciate this one. Sigh. But my formerly vegetarian sister K-Rob just might. You never know when K-Rob's steely sense of adventure is going to triumph over plain crazy Grover (crazy in a very lovable, reassuringly stable, non-clinical way). By that I mean I'm sometimes surprised what K-Rob will eat (and enjoy) that Grover won't. That's what's cool about growing up and getting re-acquainted with your family. People I think I know just keep surprising me.
The moral of the story: try this daube. If you like pot roast and you like Middle Eastern flavors, you'll love this!