Friday, January 22, 2010

Pot Roast

I was at Ralph's the other day looking for pasta and a yellow sign caught my eye. Beef was on sale! I am drawn to beef sales because a lot of the really great cuts are way too expensive for everyday cooking. So, I ran over to see what it was and saw it was boneless Chuck roast. I bought a 4 lb roast for myself saving $10! I'd figure out what to do with it when I got home.

At first I was thinking roast beef, but then I discovered that Chuck roast needs to be cooked long and slow to get tender and delicious. There were two primary methods of cooking the meat--braising or pot roasting. All the braising recipes were wine heavy and mushroom centric. So it turned out that it was Pot Roast. Pot Roast is delicious, but I've had trouble with it in the past.

So I turned to my Pioneer Woman Cookbook and lo and behold there was a recipe. And the ingredient list rounded out our dinner to a total cost of $16 with enough food for 6! Interestingly, the pioneer woman's recipe in her book is slightly different than the one online so I'll just re-write it here. I cannot tell you how incredibly easy this was to make! And, the best part? Joey loved it! The meat was as tender as could be and had a nice flavor that wasn't super over-powering.

You will never need another recipe for Pot Roast. Also, I suppose you could do this in the slow cooker but I can't pretend I know the timing. I used a 9-qt Le Creuset Dutch Oven. You could use a smaller size dutch oven but whatever you use make sure it is both stove and oven safe. Because I used such a gigantic pot, I needed twice the amount of beef stock the recipe called for. Below is the recipe I used for my huge pot.

Pot Roast
4 Cups Beef Stock
1 4-lb boneless beef chuck roast
7 carrots, well washed not peeled
2 yellow onions, peeled
1 lb new red potatoes, cut into quarters (or smaller) (actually I added these myself, Ree serves her pot roast with mashed potatoes)
Kosher salt
5 sprigs fresh thyme
5 sprigs fresh rosemary
3 T olive oil

1. Preheat the oven to 275
2. Heat your huge oven-safe pot over high heat. Add the olive oil and swirl to cover the pan. You want the pan to be very hot
3. Cut the carrots into 2 inch chunks. Cut the onions in half cross-wise and cut off the ends. Heavily salt the meat with Kosher salt. I probably used a couple of handfuls, pressing it into the meat so it stuck.
4. Throw the onions into the very hot pot and brown for 1 minute per side (2 sides only). Remove the onions to plate. Add carrots to the hot pot and toss with oil for about 1 minute, remove to plate.
5. Sear the meat 1 minute per side (all 4 sides), remove to plate.
6. De-glaze the pan by pouring 1 cup of beef stock and scraping the bottom of the pan with your whisk. Whisk throughout until the brown bits are gone. Turn off the heat.
7. Add the meat to the pan. Surround with the carrots, onions and potatoes. Try to get the potatoes near the top of the pan (so they don't sit in the liquid). Pour the beef stock in until it reaches halfway up the meat (I needed about 3 cups for this).
8. Add the sprigs of thyme and rosemary to the pot. Try to get some in the liquid and some on the top.
9. Cover the pot and stick it in the oven for about 1 hour per pound. I cooked my 4lb roast for 4 hours. The meat is done when you stick a fork in it and it goes right in as though it were jello
10. Cut the meat against the grain and serve with potatoes and carrots and maybe a little of the juices poured on top.

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