Dinner’s Gone to Pot (Roast)

17 Feb

Today’s dinner is another one of my all-time favorites (and it’s already cooking by the way, since it does take some time). I love pot roast; it was always one of my favorite meals growing up. The best thing about pot roast is that shouldn’t even have to slice it. Just leaning a knife or fork up against it should make it fall apart (we always called it “the meat that falls apart” when we were growing up). The nice thing about pot roast is that it’s nearly impossible to overcook it. if you don’t think it looks right to you, leave it in a little longer. I’ve tried a few different recipes over the years, but this one from an old America’s Test Kitchen cookbook seems to give me the best results. I have cooked it in the slow cooker before and it comes out just fine also, but I like the gravy that comes out of this one better.

Simple Pot Roast

1 boneless chuck roast (about 3 1/2 pounds)

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 medium onion, chopped medium

1 small carrot, chopped medium

1 small rib celery, chopped medium

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 teaspoons sugar

1 cup chicken broth

1 cup beef broth

1 sprig fresh thyme

1-2 cups water

1/4 cup dry red wine

Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 300 degrees. Thoroughly pat the roast dry with paper towels; sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.

Heat the oil in a large heavy-bottomed Dutch Oven over medium-high heat until shimmering but not smoking. Brown the roast thoroughly on all sides, reducing the heat if the fat begins to smoke, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer the roast to a large plate; set aside. Reduce the heat to medium; add the onion, carrot and celery to the pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the garlic and the sugar; cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the chicken and beef broths and thyme, scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to loosen the browned bits. Return the roast and any accumulated juices to the pot; add enough water to come halfway up the sides of the roast. Place a large piece of foil over the pot and cover tightly with a lid; bring the liquid to a simmer over medium heat, then transfer the pot to the oven. Cook turning the roast every 30 minutes, until fully tender and a meat fork or sharp knife slips in and out of the meat, 3 1/2 to 4 hours.

Transfer the roast to a carving board; tent with foil to keep warm. Allow the liquid in the pot to settle about 5 minutes, then use a wide spoon to skim the fat off the surface; discard the thyme sprig. Boil over high heat until reduced to about 1 1/2 cups, about 8 minutes. Add the red wine and reduce again to 1 1/2 cups, about 2 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Using a chef’s knife or carving knife, cut the meat into 1/2-inch-thick slices, or pull apart into large pieces; transfer the meat to a warmed serving platter and pour about 1/2 cup of sauce over the meat. Serve, passing the remaining sauce separately.

Yum, yum. There are variations of this recipe, of course. One adds root vegetables such as carrots, small red potatoes and parsnips after the roast is done. Just strain the liquid after you remove the roast, pour the liquid back in the pot, return the roast and the new vegetables to the pot and continue to until the vegetables are almost tender, about 20 to 30 minutes. Then remove the roast, add the wine and boil the vegetables over high heat until fully tender, about another 10 minutes. Remove the vegetables with a slotted spoon, and you are good to go.

I like to serve pot roast with mashed potatoes instead of putting potatoes in the pot with the roast. I love the mashed potatoes with the gravy produced by this roast. I have made mashed potatoes a few times on this meal plan, but if you would like the recipe, you can just click here to see it from an earlier posting.

I was going to make green beans to go with the pot roast, but when I got Adams Farms yesterday, Brussels sprouts were on sale, so I am making those instead. I love Brussels sprouts, but I admit they are an acquired taste. A lot of people don’t care for them, but we eat them regularly in our house. One of my favorite ways to cook them is to make them in a skillet with some bacon and shallots, which is what I am going to do tonight.

Skillet-Braised Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Shallots

4 ounces bacon (4 slices), chopped fine

2 shallots, sliced thin

1 pound Brussels sprouts, stem ends trimmed, discolored leaves removed, and halved through the stem

1/2 cup water


1 tablespoon butter

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar


Cook the bacon and shallots together in a large skillet over medium heat until the bacon is crisp and the shallots are browned, about 10 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.

Add the Brussels sprouts, water, and 1/2 teaspoon salt to the skillet and increase the heat to medium-high. Cover and simmer until the Brussels sprouts are bright green, about 9 minutes. Uncover the pan and cook until the liquid has evaporated and the sprouts are tender, about 5 minutes longer.

Off the heat, stir in the bacon mixture, butter and vinegar. Season with salt and pepper to taste before serving.

You really need to halve the sprouts when you are braising them like this. If you leave them whole, they are just too dense and won’t cook well all the way through, making them mushy outside and nearly raw inside. Cooking them this way also eliminates the aroma sprouts can give off that seems to turn a lot of people off to them.

So that’s today’s meal. If they are any leftovers, you can make a great open-faced sandwich with the pot roast and gravy with some mashed potatoes on the side. We have tomorrow marked as a leftovers night for dinner, so we may have that ourselves. We have the meal plan for next week just about finalized, so I will be writing about that tomorrow. I will say that all the meals for next week are going to be one pot meals and two of them are specifically slow cooker meals. Check it out tomorrow to see what you have to look forward to for dinners. If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, please feel free to pass them along here. Thanks again for checking the blog out. I am pretty happy with the way things are going with it so far, so we’ll keep going! Enjoy your day and enjoy your meal tonight!

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Posted by on February 17, 2012 in Beef, Cooking, Dinner, Potatoes, Vegetables


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