The solstice has come and gone. The days are lengthening, but the daylight comes in sluggish increments at first. The average daily temperature won’t start rising in earnest again until February and then only in fits and starts until about April. With the distraction of the holidays out of the way this time of year gets difficult for me. I am not a lover of winter. I need something to get me through these days. A project, a reason to rise. This year I thought, perhaps, I would blog some of our favorite dark days dinners. Those warming, healing, nutrition-packed things we eat between Christmas and mud season when the daylight peeks out from behind grey clouds for only a few hours each day.
Roast is a staple here this time of year, making an appearance on our weekly menu at least a couple times every month and sometimes as often as weekly. I make a few variations and this one is the quickest, easiest and probably the most “traditional.” It’s as close to the pot roast I grew up eating at my Grandpa’s for Sunday dinner as any of them get, depending almost entirely on the juices of a good cut of beef and the indulgence of a dutch oven filled most of the way with root veg — which, given their reasonable price-point and wide availability even in the coldest of locales this time of year is an indulgence even locavores and moral-eaters can afford.
If you’re looking for an entirely whole-foods meal you could omit the beer and instead add a splash of bone broth to the pot — or if you’re short on bone broth, water and a few stalks of celery — but I have always liked that I can support both local farms and local brews in one fell swoop of the single dutch oven dinner. Whatever suits your fancy is fine. Just enjoy and keep warm; that’s the important part.