Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Pot Roast

If there's one meal that says "fall" to me, it's pot roast. This is the ultimate comfort food. I've tried a zillion different recipes for it, but nothing beats the recipe I am going to share with you here. This recipe will give you a mouth-watering, beautifully moist pot roast every, single time.

Pot roast can't be hurried. You have to go nice and slow, braising the meat so that the collagen melts and the meat remains moist. We're going to cook it in both beef and chicken broth with a generous helping of vegetables for really rich flavor.

This is on the menu for Saturday night, mainly so that I have the time to manage the 4 hours of cooking time. I always serve this with buttered, dumpling egg noodles, but a lot of people like mashed potatoes with their pot roast. This recipe is a variation of one from my cooking bible, Cook's Illustrated, and serves 6 to 8 people. If you don't want to hassle with making your own sauce, skip step #3 and see my note at the bottom of this blog.

1 chuck-eye roast, about 31/2 to 4 pounds
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 large carrot, chopped medium
1 large rib of celery, chopped medium
6 cloves of garlic, minced
2 teaspoons sugar
1 3/4 cup chicken broth
1 3/4 cup beef broth
1 sprig fresh thyme
1/4 cup dry red wine
Kosher salt
Fresh ground pepper


  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 300 degrees. Thoroughly pat roast dry with paper towels; sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.
  2. Heat oil in large heavy-bottomed Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering but not smoking. Brown roast thoroughly on all sides, reducing heat if fat begins to smoke, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer roast to large plate; set aside. Reduce heat to medium; add onion, carrot, and celery to pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Add garlic and sugar; cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add 1 cup of chicken broth, 1 cup of beef broth and thyme, scraping bottom of pan with wooden spoon to loosen browned bits. Return roast and any accumulated juices to pot; add enough additional broth to come halfway up sides of roast. Bring liquid to simmer over medium heat, then place large piece of foil over pot and cover tightly with lid; transfer pot to oven. Cook, flipping roast over every 60 minutes, for 4 hours.
  3. Transfer roast to carving board; tent with foil to keep warm. Allow liquid in pot to settle about 5 minutes, then use wide spoon to skim fat off surface; discard thyme sprig and vegetables. Boil over high heat until reduced to about 1 1/2 cups, about 8 minutes. Add red wine and reduce again to 1 1/2 cups, about 2 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. 
  4. Using chef’s or carving knife, cut meat against the grain into 1/2-inch-thick slices, or pull apart into large pieces; transfer meat to serving plates with buttered, dumpling egg noodles and pour about a 1/4 cup of sauce over each serving.
Wine pairing: Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah or Pinot Noir

Note on Sauce: Making the sauce at the end can be time consuming and a bit of a hassle, especially if you have company. When I don't want to hassle with making the sauce from scratch, I will just use a high- end, packaged gravy sauce. My favorite is Knorr Classic Brown Gravy Mix from Germany. I can make it during the final minutes of cooking the pot roast. When I pull the roast out of the oven, the gravy is ready and I can just divide up the meat and serve. Cheating? But, of course. But, very efficient and easy.

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