Asado negro has its primary home in Caracas, where it is often served during the Christmas holidays, alongside fried sweet plantains and white rice, with perhaps a tart green salad for contrast. The meat is napped in blackness that comes not from fire or smoke but from the absorption of all colours into one.
- 1 cup white sugar
- 2 teaspoons brown sugar
- 2 cups white wine vinegar
- 1 cup dry red wine
- 1½ tablespoons canola oil
- 1½ tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 kg beef roast
- 5 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
- 1 large Spanish onion, peeled and thinly sliced (can be substituted for regular onions, and can also be substituted for red onions, though they will make the dish a little sweeter.)
- 2 sticks celery, chopped
- 2 leeks, white and light-green parts only, washed well and thinly sliced
- 2 bay leaves
- ⅓ cup Worcestershire sauce
- ¾ tablespoon soy sauce
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 green capsicum (bell pepper), stemmed, seeded and thinly sliced
- 1 red capsicum (bell pepper), stemmed, seeded and thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons coriander, well washed and roughly chopped, for garnish
- Preheat the oven to 190°C. (375°F ; Gas Mark 5). Combine the white sugar and 1 cup of water in a heavy saucepan and cook, without stirring, over medium-high heat until the sugar dissolves and turns dark caramel, 8 to 10 minutes. Carefully add the brown sugar, vinegar and wine, and cook, stirring, until all the caramel has melted. Set aside.
- Heat a Dutch oven large enough to hold the meat over medium-high heat. When hot, add the canola oil and butter. When these begin to shimmer and foam, sear the roast on all sides. Transfer the meat to a platter and set aside.
- Add the garlic, onion, celery, leeks and bay leaves to the Dutch oven and cook over medium-high heat until they have softened and almost begun to brown. Add the Worcestershire and soy sauces and stir to incorporate, then return the meat to the pot and season with salt and pepper.
- Cover with the capsicum slices and pour the caramel sauce over the top. Cover, place in the oven and cook for approximately 2½ hours — basting and turning the meat every 45 minutes — until it is very tender.
- Remove the meat and allow it to stand on a platter, covered in foil, for at least 30 minutes. If the sauce is not syrupy and thick, remove the vegetables (discard the bay leaves) and arrange them around the meat, then place the Dutch oven, uncovered, over medium-high heat and allow the sauce to reduce.
- When the sauce is ready, slice the meat and return it, along with the vegetables, to the sauce and reheat in the oven or, covered, on the stove. Check the seasoning and garnish with chopped coriander.