Originally created 04/02/97

Beef entree has little fat, big taste



If you're a bona fide meat lover, this lean cranberry pot roast provides the meaty satisfaction of a tender pot roast with a fraction of the fat. The meat is slowly braised in a no-fuss sauce of beef broth, port wine, onions and canned cranberry sauce until it almost melts in your mouth. Yet, each serving contains just 8.4 grams of fat.

The recipe is low in fat because it starts with an extra-lean cut of meat, such as the London broil. London broil steaks, when cut from the portion of the beef called the top round, contain almost no internal marbling and are trimmed until they have virtually no fat around the edges. Because the meat is so lean, it can be tough if it is not braised or marinated.

In this recipe, the London broil is seared in a skillet with no added fat, and simmered, covered, in the oven until it is meltingly tender. As the meat cooks, the sauce develops a rich, meaty flavor with a hint of tangy sweetness from the cranberry sauce and port wine. At the last minute, you thicken the sauce with cornstarch to create a delicious gravy. When you serve the meat with extra-wide noodles on the side, you have a satisfying beef dinner that gets just 15 percent of its calories from fat.

LEAN CRANBERRY POT ROAST

Corn oil cooking spray

1 1/2 pounds beef London broil steak, trimmed of all visible fat

1/3 cup ruby port wine

2 cups canned beef broth or broth prepared from dry bouillon

1 cup chopped onion

1 cup whole-berry cranberry sauce

2 tablespoons cornstarch, mixed with 3 tablespoons water

4 1/2 cups hot, cooked extra wide noodles

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly coat a large baking dish with corn oil cooking spray. Set aside.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Sear the London broil for 5 to 6 minutes per side, or until both sides are very brown. Transfer the meat to the prepared pan. Reduce the heat to low and pour the port wine into the pan, using a wooden or plastic spoon to scrape up any brown bits in the skillet.

Bring wine to a boil. Add the beef broth and onion and simmer for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the onion is soft. Stir in the cranberry sauce, breaking it into small lumps with the spoon. Pour the broth mixture over the meat and immediately seal with several layers of aluminum foil. Make sure the pan is sealed so the cooking broth doesn't evaporate.

Bake for 30 minutes, then reduce heat to 325 degrees. Continue cooking for 1 1/2 hours longer. The meat should be fork tender. Drain the meat and pour the cooking broth into a saucepan. Slice the meat into chunks. Bring the broth to a boil and stir in the cornstarch. Cook 30 seconds, or until the broth thickens to the consistency of gravy. Serve each portion of meat with some sauce and 3/4 cup of noodles.

Makes 6 servings.

Nutritional information per serving with noodles: Calories, 513; fat, 8.4 grams (15 percent of calories from fat); protein, 48 grams; carbohydrates, 55 grams; cholesterol, 141 milligrams; sodium, 525 milligrams.

Nutritional information per serving without noodles: Calories, 343; fat, 6.6 grams (18 percent of calories from fat); protein, 42 grams; carbohydrates, 23 grams; cholesterol, 101 milligrams; sodium, 327 milligrams.

If you have a recipe you would like streamlined to contain less fat and fewer calories, send a self-addressed stamped envelope to Charlotte Balcomb Lane at 2411 A Rice Ave., Albuquerque, N.M. 87104.