Michele Humes (I live in New York and I write about food.)

Sometimes It Really Is That Easy

I followed a recipe yesterday that took me way out of my comfort zone. I took a four-pound bottom round rump roast, put it in a stew pot with three finely sliced onions (the recipe called for six, which I didn’t have on hand, so I made up the difference in liquid with some water and white wine), a spoonful of white vinegar, and a bay leaf, and then I boiled it for four hours. That’s it. No searing, nothing.

A lot of water comes out of those onions, and a fair amount comes out of the meat, too. At the end of it all, you’re left with a very tender piece of meat sitting in several inches of what is basically French onion soup. You can thicken it up with some flour or corn starch and reduce it to a gravy. It’s great.

In an odd way, I think I followed this recipe because I didn’t believe it would work. That’s a big risk to take with a 27-dollar piece of meat, but I can be perverse that way. The method went against everything I thought I knew about meat (the importance of browning, the deglazing of sucs), and I just needed to know. And now I do.