1/2 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 (4 to 5-1/2 pounds) beef chuck roast, trimmed of excess fat
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
4 bay leaves
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 cups water
2 cups freshly brewed coffee
1 tablespoon instant flour
2 tablespoons butter, chilled
1/4 cup whiskey (optional)
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 325 F.
On a large plate or platter, stir together flour, salt and pepper. Dust the roast with the seasoned flour, discarding any excess. Heat the oil in a large, heavy ovenproof skillet over medium heat until hot. Add the roast and brown on all sides, about 5 minutes a side. Remove the roast from the skillet and set aside.
Add onions to the drippings in the skillet and saute over medium heat until they are softened. Return the roast to the skillet; add bay leaves, thyme, water and coffee. Bring to a simmer, stirring and turning to combine the seasonings with the roast. Cover and place the skillet in the oven. Bake for 3 to 3 1/2 hours or until fork tender. Remove the roast from the skillet, discard any bones or gristle and set aside, loosely covered with aluminum foil.
To prepare the gravy, place the skillet over medium heat, skim off any excess fat and add water, if necessary, to equal about 2 1/2 cups liquid. Sprinkle the instant flour over the gravy in the skillet and cook about 5 minutes, stirring until smooth and thickened. Stir in the butter and whiskey, if desired, and season with salt and pepper. Return the roast to the skillet to warm in the gravy, then serve.
Serve with plenty of hot, buttered wide egg noodles.
Yield: 6 to 8 servings.