Classic Pot Roast

One of the first things I really perfected was the pot roast. My father, bless his heart, taught me how to make it when I was still pretty young, but back then it was only okay. But, I think I’ve really come to a nice balance over the years to the point that even my sister and mother will eat pot roast when it’s made (they used to avidly refuse before). So, I consider that a success.

Now, in my initial adolescent repertoire, pot roast was made entirely with beef broth. Gross. Well, it works, don’t get me wrong, but the broth has very little flavor that the pot roast doesn’t already have. And you know what any slow roasted meat really benefits from? That’s right. Wine.

Beef needs red wine (white wine would be a little weird). Red wine is my preferred drinking wine mostly because a cheap red wine will taste good enough whereas a cheap white wine is simply disgusting. But I really only drink wine for special occasions. I’m really falling down on my job as a wine aunt. But that’s not the point. Because I’m not a wine connoisseur like I am a cider connoisseur, I unfortunately cannot make any recommendations. But if you’re curious, this is the wine I used for this recipe.

IMG_0452

Typically I use a cabernet sauvignon because that’s all that is in my house. But since I had to go out and actually buy a bottle, I went with a zinfandel. Why? Two reasons really and neither have to do with cooking or drinking. 1) We have a maroon area rug we bought for cheap at Wal-mart our sophomore year of college that we aptly named ‘Zinfandel’ because of it’s red wine-ish hue. We like to name inanimate objects, I’m still working on the name for the oven (our last one was called Heinrich). And 2) this wine had a picture of Alexander fucking Hamilton. You may know him as one of our founding fathers or that guy on the $10 bill who established a national bank and essentially created Wall Street. One of the authors of the Federalist Papers (he wrote 51 of the 85 papers).He also had a sordid love affair with James Reynold’s wife, Maria, and broke the heart of the wonderful Elizabeth Schuyler. His son died in a duel in Jersey and he ironically died in that very same spot in a duel with Aaron Burr, the vice-president of Thomas Jefferson.

You might be wondering to yourself: how the hell do I know so much about Alexander Hamilton? Well, it’s not because I have a love of early American history. In fact, that’s the exact opposite of the history I love. I’m more of a 20th century global war-culture kind of person. No. I just obsessively listen to the music from the Broadway hit, Hamilton, written by the wonderful Lin-Manuel Miranda.

So yeah. My obsession with a Broadway musical that everyone should listen to prompted me to by a bottle of Zinfandel with Hamilton’s face on it.

More to the dish. I started by heating some olive oil in a skillet. I seasoned my pot roast pretty liberally on one side with salt and pepper.

IMG_0451

Then I threw this in a pan and let it sear for a good couple of minutes so I could get a nice color on it. I seasoned the other side while it was cooking in the pan and then I flipped the roast and let it sear on the other side.

IMG_0453

Once it was done, I transferred it to my slow cooker to await the rest of the stuff that it would be cooked with.

To the pan of hot oil, I threw in some onions, celery, carrots, and parsnips. you’ll notice if you look very carefully that some of the parsnips have been cut into heart shapes. Well, that’s because I made it for our annual Valentine’s day dinner where we all use the couple’s day as an excuse to have a “fancier” meal. And I like to constantly profess my love for one of my roommates so we make a really romantic set-up to annoy her. We’re not very nice people.

While this was sauteing, I prepared my liquids. There was the red wine, obviously, but I also measured out some Worcestershire sauce and a little bit of beef stock as well.

After the vegetables got a little soft, I added in the garlic. I let this go for another minute or so and then added in the liquids.After the liquid started boiling a little bit, I poured it into the crock pot with my roast and then threw in my herb mixture. I used savory, marjoram, and thyme for this one. Then I gave it one last good mix and put the lid on the crock pot.

IMG_0459

I let this cook on low for about 10 hours, but’s it’s pretty much done after 8 hours. I like cooking this kind of meat low and slow. Pot roast is a pretty cheap cut of meat so cooking it too fast will make it tough. But it would cook well on high in a crock pot too, but I’m not sure if it will be nearly as fall-apart-tender as the low cooking method.

IMG_0473

After the long stewing time, I took the meat and vegetables onto a platter and topped it with a bit of parsley. I always make a little gravy with my pot roast, mostly because I almost always make mashed potatoes with it. All I do is pour some of the remaining roast liquid into a pot and add a bit of cornstarch. Whisk that in to get rid of any lumps and bring it to a boil. After it boils for a couple minutes, it should be the perfect gravy consistency and then I top it off with a little bit of pepper and some parsley for flavor.

There’s also a method of making this in an oven if you don’t have a slow cooker. When doing it this way, I much prefer using a Dutch oven because I can do all the searing and such in the same pan. I detailed the oven method after my slow cooker recipe. If you also don’t have a dutch oven, all you need to do is sear everything and cook everything in a pan and transfer it to a roasting pan and then placing that in the oven. In that case, it’s important to cover the roast with aluminum foil to keep the roast from drying out.


Classic Pot Roast

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 8-10 hours

Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 2.5 lb beef pot roast
  • 3 stalks celery
  • 4 carrots
  • 3 parsnips
  • 1 onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1 tbs Worcestershire
  • ½ cup beef broth
  • 1 tbs savory
  • 1 tbs marjoram
  • 1 tbs thyme
  • 1 tbs salt
  • 1 tbs pepper
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley
  • 2 tbs cornstarch

Preparation

Using a slow-cooker

  1. Heat olive oil in a pan over medium high heat
  2. Season liberally one side of the roast with salt and pepper
  3. Place roast seasoned-side down into the pan and sear for about 3 minutes
  4. Season other side, turn over, and sear the other side for the same amount of time
  5. When done, move roast to the slow cooker
  6. Reduce heat and add carrots, onions, celery, and parsnips
  7. Saute for 5-8 minutes or until vegetables begin to soften
  8. Add garlic and saute until aromatic
  9. Pour in red wine, Worcestershire, and beef broth to deglaze the pan
  10. When the liquid begins to boil, pour over the top of the roast into the slow cooker
  11. Add in savory, marjoram, and thyme and stir to combine
  12. Cook on low heat for 8-10 hours
  13. When roast is done, transfer meat and vegetables to a separate plate, sprinkle with parsley
  14. Pour remaining liquid into a sauce pan and heat over medium heat
  15. Whisk in cornstarch and bring to a boil
  16. Let boil for 1-2 minutes, whisking occasionally until the gravy is a desired thickness

Using a Dutch oven

  1. Preheat oven to 325˚F
  2. Heat olive oil in Dutch oven over medium high heat
  3. Season liberally one side of the roast with salt and pepper
  4. Place roast seasoned-side down into the pan and sear for about 3 minutes
  5. Season other side, turn over, and sear the other side for the same amount of time
  6. When done, take roast out and set aside
  7. Reduce heat and add carrots, onions, celery, and parsnips
  8. Saute for 5-8 minutes or until vegetables begin to soften
  9. Add garlic and saute until aromatic
  10. Pour in red wine, Worcestershire, and beef broth to deglaze the pan
  11. When the liquid begins to boil, return roast to the Dutch oven and make sure it is covered completely by the liquid
  12. Add in savory, marjoram, and thyme and stir to combine
  13. Cover with the lid, place into oven, and let cook for 3 hours
  14. When roast is done, transfer meat and vegetables to a separate plate, sprinkle with parsley
  15. Whisk cornstarch into the remaining liquid and bring to a boil
  16. Let boil for 1-2 minutes, whisking occasionally until the gravy is a desired thickness

Gluten-free, Dairy-free


 

Advertisements

One Comment Add yours

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s