The word “pot roast” can conjure up a wide array of images- anything from thick brown gloppy stuff in a school cafeteria to a glistening boeuf bourguignon served in a fancy French restaurant. In most of our everyday realities, it’s somewhere in between the two. I really never made pot roast at home because it’s just kind of… boring. But after we ordered our side of beef, I find myself wanting to revisit some old classics that will really let all this good meat shine.
This recipe fits the bill. Turns out that the key to delicious, melt-in-your-mouth, flavorful pot roast is simplicity. I mean, it makes sense, but for some reason, it didn’t occur to me how exceptionally tasty pot roast could be. And how much satisfaction it can give you for such minimal work. Oh, the satisfaction. The meat falls apart beneath your fork, the vegetables are tender but not mushy, and the flavor is surprisingly subtle for pot roast- I think the fresh herbs make a big difference here.
But at least some of the preconceptions about pot roast still stand- it’s good comfort food, to be sure, it sticks to your ribs when you’re super hungry as we so often are around here. It’s the perfect thing to have in the oven on a cold Sunday afternoon. It will make your house smell heavenly and your warm, satisfied belly will thank you later. It’s pot roast the way it was meant to be.
On another note, if you haven’t entered the giveaway for Marcella Hazan’s Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking, you still have a few more days to enter here!!!
Simply Delicious Pot Roast
Generously salt and pepper your chuck roast.
Heat a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Then add 2 to 3 tablespoons of olive oil (or you can do a butter/olive oil split). When the oil in the pot is very hot (but not smoking), add in the quartered onions, browning them on one side and then the other. Remove the onions to a plate.
Throw the carrots into the same very hot pan and toss them around a bit until slightly browned, about a minute or so.
If needed, add a bit more olive oil to the very hot pan. Place the meat in the pan and sear it for about a minute on all sides until it is nice and brown all over. Remove the roast to a plate.
With the burner still on high, use either red wine or beef broth (about 1 cup) to deglaze the pan, scraping the bottom with a whisk to get all of that wonderful flavor up.
When the bottom of the pan is sufficiently deglazed, place the roast back into the pan and add enough beef stock to cover the meat halfway (about 2 to 3 cups). Add in the onion and the carrots, as well as 3 or 4 sprigs of fresh rosemary and about 3 sprigs of fresh thyme.
Put the lid on, then roast in a 275 degree oven for about 4 hours.
Once the roast is done, if you’d like a bit of a thicker gravy (I do), you can take out the meat, herb sprigs, and most of the veggies, then hit the remaining juices with an immersion blender until smooth. Pour over the roast and veggies or serve on the side.