Friday, February 25, 2011

Pot Roast

Pot Roast.

A no-brainer for some.  A fear-inducer for others.

But as long as you're not a vegetarian or diametrically opposed to cooking large hunks of meat, in my humble opinion, a basic pot roast should have a firm standing in your recipe repertoire. 


Because it's relatively easy to prepare, it makes the house smell awesome, most men (and some picky eaters) love it, once you get it going it's not time-consuming, and there will likely be leftovers. 

That's a good thing.

You can have leftovers of the actual roast the following day, or you can shred the meat in your food processor and make roast beef sandwiches.

There are several ways to roast a roast. 
  • By first "searing" it on the stove top in a Dutch Oven or large skillet, then transferring it to the oven,
  • By "roasting" it at a high oven temperature for about 20 minutes then turning down the heat for the remaining cook time, and
The recipe that follows is the Dutch Oven/skillet method.  It's my personal favorite.   But I'm including links for the other approaches, too, just because I love you.

Let me begin discussion of this method with a warning.

I have only burned myself a few times in the kitchen.

One of those times was when I was searing a roast.  The hot oil splatters.  Wear long sleeves (and an apron, if you have one, to protect your clothes).  I also use the pot lid as a shield. 
Heat up the oil in the Dutch Oven (or skillet).

Season the roast with salt and pepper. 
(Don't do this until right before you begin to cook it
or the salt will pull the moisture out of the meat.)

Carefully (!) lower the roast into the oil.
I use these tongs to maneuver the meat.
Over medium-high heat, brown meat on all sides, about 5 minutes on each side.

Cut up the veggies.
I used carrots, onions, parsnips and potatoes.

The meat is still browning.
See all of that delicious "residue" in the bottom of the pot?
It is responsible for the awesomeness of the roast's flavor.

Now we're going to start adding some liquid to the pot.
You'll need some beef broth.
I love this stuff.
I think it's the next best thing to homemade beef stock.

 Add about 2 cups.
(Watch out for the sputtering juices.)

Grab your measuring cup.

Add about 1/2 cup of red wine.
This is optional, but it creates a beautiful depth of flavor.

Roughly mince about 4 cloves of garlic.
(That's 4 teaspoons if you want to use the very convenient pre-minced stuff.)

Add it to the pan.
Oh my goodness.
This smells so good.

 Add the onions,

bay leaves and thyme,

and two tablespoons of tomato paste.

Put the roast in a 325 degrees oven and bake for several hours,

Don't be afraid to use a meat thermometer.

I bought mine for $5 and use it all the time!

It saved me from over-cooking this roast.

See Meat Temperatures 101 for correlating meat doneness
(rare, medium, well-done, etc.).

 (I baked mine for about an hour and a half.)

Then pull it out and add in the rest of the vegetables.
Bake for another hour until veggies are tender.


Leave the knives in the drawer!
This is fork-tender perfection.

Use the leftovers to make a roast beef sandwich!

Pot Roast
Serves 8

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 5-pound beef chuck roast
Salt and pepper
2 cups beef stock or reduced sodium canned beef broth
1/2 cup red wine (optional)
3 onions, cut into large wedges
4 cloves garlic, chopped (or 4 teaspoons)
2 dried bay leaves
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 pounds carrots, cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks
2 pounds potatoes, cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a Dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat. Sprinkle roast all over with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Place in pan, and brown on all sides, about 10 minutes.

2.  Turn meat fat side up. Add stock, wine, if using, onions, garlic, bay leaves, and thyme. Stir in tomato paste. Bring to a simmer, cover; put in the oven, and roast for 2-3 hours (check temperature for doneness). Add carrots and potatoes, and cook until vegetables are tender, about 1 hour more.

3.  Transfer the roast, carrots, and potatoes to a platter. With a spoon, skim the fat off the surface of the cooking liquid. Cut the roast into thick slices, and serve with the vegetables. Pass the pan juices separately.

Slightly adapted from Martha Stewart's recipe


Caneel said...

I love pot roast! Crockpot is my favorite way these busy days, but they are ALL good!