Sunday, February 27, 2011

Perfect Pot Roast

Nothing tastes better on a winter's day that a great pot roast. I think I may have finally perfected my recipe. But I think I've perfected recipes all the darn time; then I perfect them some more. So let's go with the current edition of perfect pot roast.  Start with a Dutch oven or other heavy oven safe pot. Preheat the oven to 325 F.

  Heat a little olive oil in your Dutch oven on the stove.  Salt & pepper your boneless chuck roast. A 3 pounder should feed 4 to 6 people. I like to buy 3lb roasts and cut them in two. I salt them and freeze them, pulling out a 1 and 1/2 pound roast whenever I want to cook a pot roast for just the two of us. Make sure the meat is thawed before you start. Once the oil gets hot, brown the chuck roast on all sides in the pan.
Get it good and brown on all sides before removing to a plate.

While the meat is browning you can either finely chop  half a carrot, half a onion and half a stick of celery or do what I do and use frozen Mirepoix Mix like I do. About half a cup's worth
Put the chopped veggies in the pot and sprinkle a little sugar on top to aid carmelization

Add in 2 cloves of minced garlic. Hint: put a little water in with garlic and let it sit for a bit before adding to heat. That keeps it from burning. Nothing tastes worse that burnt acrid garlic.
Let the garlic cook for a few seconds. As soon as you smell it, it's done.  Now time to add the braising liquids.  I use this terrific trio:
One cup Chicken Broth, One cup beef or veal broth ( I love the veal broth) and a couple of good glugs of red wine. Add them to the pot along with some fresh thyme. (pull the leaves from about 3 sprigs or use about 1/2 tsp dried thyme) Add a little pepper, but not salt right now.
Bring the liquid to a simmer, making sure to scrape any brown bits from the bottom of the pan to incorporate into the liquid and then put the beef back into the liquid. Now cover it with foil. Do NOT skip this step.

Put the lid on and put it in the oven.

Cook for 3 hours at 325 F. If you really want to, you could put the whole mixture into a slow cooker and let it go for much longer. But since the Dutch Oven is already dirty and you don't have to do anything but let it sit in the oven, I'd pick the oven. But if you prefer, put the meat and liquid in the slow cooker. Don't skip the foil step, though. You want to lock in as much liquid as possible. Sometimes I turn the meat every hour. Sometimes not.

I roast the vegetables separately. About an hour before the roast is finished, I put in the vegetables. I use potatoes and prepackaged baby carrots, cutting the potatoes to be roughly the same size as the carrots. I toss them in olive oil, salt and pepper.

I put parchment paper down on a cookie sheet and stick them in the oven to roast while the meat finished.

 Around the 2 and half/3 hour mark check to see if the meat is fall-apart tender. If it is, it's time to reduce the sauce. Move the beef to a plate or bowl and cover. Then turn up the heat, add a splosh of wine and reduce the liquid left in the pan by half.

If you want while it's reducing, you can make my secret sauce. (Shhhh don't tell a soul)  The magic ingredients are Ketchup, mustard and Worstershire Sauce

The intricate recipe is a couple of glugs of ketchup, a squire of mustard (enough to make it orangish red) and a few drops of Worstershire Sauce.

By the time the sauce reduces, the veggies should be roasted
 Time to salt the sauce to taste and serve. Put beautifully tender beef into a bowl

Add roasted vegetables

Now add the sauce
Now it's time to eat.

1 3lb boneless chuck roast
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup beef or veal broth
1/4 cup red wine
2 cloves garlic minced
2 stalks fresh thyme minced
1/4 mire poix mix or 1/2 carrot, small onion & celery stalk finely diced
Olive oil
Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper

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