Cider Days and Cider Pot Roast

Cider Pot Roastweb

 
Life slows down in early November here in western Massachusetts. Our leaves have begun their steep decline: the bright colors of the local landscape are fast giving way to the grays and silvers that foretell winter’s whites.
 
Halloween is over (each day I tell myself I will put away the orange lights and haunted houses TOMORROW!), and the family bustle of Thanksgiving has yet to sneak up on us. We might have nothing to do in the hilltowns—if it weren’t for Cider Days.
 
Cider Days were started about 15 years ago in the quiet town of Colrain, where our lovely hard West County Cider was born. The annual event (which takes place this coming weekend) has several functions.
 
It celebrates the end of the harvest season. It educates interested folks in the ins and outs of cider making (both hard and sweet) and cider cookery. And it gives local residents a final fall festival of demonstrations, sales, and hearty meals.
 
Lots of local restaurateurs will be serving apple- and cider-themed dishes, including my friends at the Green Emporium, where apple pizza and apple martinis will be among the featured dishes.
 
If you’re in the area, take advantage of this final chance to get outdoors before the snow falls, to ponder the harvest and the winter to come.
 
If you’re not, you may use your own local cider in this slightly sweet pot roast, adapted from cider expert Vrest Orton.
 
Cider Pot Roast
 
Ingredients:
 
1-1/2 cups sweet cider (plus more later if needed)
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 teaspoons salt
2 cinnamon sticks
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
5 cloves
1 large onion, sliced
1 3-to-4-pound pot roast
flour as needed
canola oil as needed
1 pound carrots, cut into fairly small slices
 
Instructions:
 
Combine the cider, sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and onion. Pour this marinade over the beef, and let it stand, covered, in the refrigerator for 24 hours. Turn and baste from time to time. Remove the roast from the marinade (save the marinade!), and sprinkle it with flour.
 
Heat the oil, and brown the meat in it in a Dutch oven. Lower the heat, add the marinade and about 1 cup water, and cover tightly. Simmer for 3 hours. After the first hour, be sure to turn the roast every half hour or so, and to add more cider and water if the meat looks a bit dry.
 
At the end of the 3 hours, throw in the carrots; make sure they are covered with liquid. Cook for another 1 to 2 hours. Serve with noodles. Serves 4 to 6.

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4 Responses to “Cider Days and Cider Pot Roast”

  1. Julie says:

    You are such a great advocate not only for local products, but local venues too – I love that about you. That, and of course your recipes! Thank you.

  2. Frank says:

    This I will definitely make on the next cold weekend… sounds great!

  3. Mary Carey says:

    Tinky — I remember reading something by you – about making jams, I think — a long time ago and seeing that you were at UT at apparently the same time I was, (about 1985 till about 1994 by the time I finished my dissertation but had since relocated back up here.) We probably crossed paths. Did you ever take Texas lit with Don Graham, for instance? I’ll be at Cider Days; maybe I’ll see you. I love your book ideas. I see we both love retro stuff.

  4. tinkyweisblat says:

    Your name is familiar, Mary; I’m sure we MUST have met! And I’ve just subscribed to your blog (other readers, Mary may be found at http://aboutamherst.blogspot.com). Enjoy the cider and the tradition…….

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