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Keeping Up with the Classics – America’s Test Kitchen Classic Pot Roast

Making a pot roast dinner is always a family favorite for us. I can remember the days of having a pot roast when I was a child and just the smell of it cooking was enough to make you feel good and you could not wait for dinnertime. Pot roast takes a long time, but with this recipe most of the work is done before the cooking and then you have four hours or so to do other things, relax and wait for the wonderful meal to come. This recipe from America’s Test Kitchen is a really simple one and is a little bit different from the pot roast recipe I have posted in the past. With this recipe you let the meat cook for several hours without having to turn it every 30 minutes like I have in the past.

Classic Pot Roast

1 (3 1/2- to 4-pound) boneless beef chuck-eye roast, pulled into two pieces at natural seam and trimmed of large knobs of fat
Kosher salt
2 tablespoons butter
2 medium onions, halved and sliced thin (about 2 cups)
1 large carrot, chopped medium (about 1 cup)
1 celery rib, chopped medium (about 3/4 cup)
2 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed through garlic press (about 2 teaspoons)
1 cup beef broth, plus 1 to 2 cups for sauce
1/2 cup dry red wine, plus 1/4 cup for sauce
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 bay leaf
1 sprig plus 1/4 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
Ground black pepper
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

Sprinkle the pieces of meat with 1 tablespoon of kosher salt (1½ teaspoons if using table salt), place the meat on a wire rack set in a rimmed baking sheet, and let the meat stand at room temperature for 1 hour.

Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat the oven to 300 degrees. Heat the butter in a heavy-bottomed Dutch oven over medium heat. When the foaming subsides, add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are softened and beginning to brown, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add the carrot and celery; continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes longer. Add the garlic and cook until it is fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in 1 cup of beef broth, ½ cup of red wine, tomato paste, bay leaf, and thyme sprig; bring the mixture to simmer.
 Pat the beef dry with paper towels and season it generously with pepper. Using 3 pieces of kitchen twine, tie each piece of meat into a loaf shape for even cooking.
 Nestle the meat on top of the vegetables. Cover the pot tightly with a large piece of aluminum foil and cover the pot with a lid; transfer the pot to the oven. Cook the beef until it is fully tender and a sharp knife easily slips in and out of the meat, about 3½ to 4 hours, turning the meat halfway through the cooking process.
Transfer the roasts to a cutting board and tent the meat loosely with foil. Strain the liquid through a mesh strainer into a 4-cup liquid measuring cup. Discard the bay leaf and the thyme sprig. Transfer the vegetables to a blender jar. Allow the liquid to settle for 5 minutes, then skim any fat off the surface. Add more beef broth as necessary to bring the liquid amount to 3 cups. Place the liquid in the blender with the vegetables and blend everything until it is smooth, about 2 minutes. Transfer the sauce to a medium saucepan and bring it to a simmer over medium heat.
 While the sauce heats, remove the twine from the roast and slice it against the grain into ½-inch-thick slices. Transfer the meat to a large serving platter. Stir the chopped thyme, the remaining ¼ cup of red wine, and the balsamic vinegar into the sauce and season it to taste with salt and pepper. Spoon half of the sauce over the meat; pass the remaining sauce separately.
This meal is wonderful and the sauce just tops everything off. Splitting the roast into 2 smaller roasts makes a big difference in the cooking time and really helps to soften and break down the meat, making it just melt and fall apart when you go to slice it. This recipe also only puts half of the broth in up front so instead of the meat braising in all of the liquid through the cooking time, it sits above a lot of the liquid, letting the roasts brown while cooking so you can skip searing the meat beforehand. The sauce tastes wonderful as well and makes great gravy for the meat, the vegetables and of course the mashed potatoes that you need to serve with any pot roast. I’ll certainly be using this recipe again when I make pot roast.
That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. I just wanted to say a quick thank you to all that have been following along and visited the blog last week to help make it the busiest week I have ever had on the blog. Thanks for all of your interest in the recipes and I plan to keep on sharing all kinds of good things. Until next time, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!
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Posted by on April 21, 2014 in Beef, Cooking, Dinner, Gravy, Sauce

 

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Dinner’s Gone to Pot (Roast)

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

Salt

1 tablespoon butter

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

Pepper

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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This Week’s Meal Plan

We made it home from Saranac Lake. Winter Carnival was lots of fun and we had a great time visiting everyone, but we are all pretty tired tonight, so they’ll be no cooking tonight. Tonight we rely on the delivery of Planet Wings to feed us. They have good wings and burgers and we don’t have to leave the comfort of our home to enjoy it, so that’s what we are going with today. if you want to check out Planet Wings, you can visit their website here. We did, however, go shopping and have the meal plan in place for this week. Since it is going to be a bit chillier this week, we are going with two soup dinners for the week to war us up:

Monday: Chicken and Rice Soup

Tuesday: A special Valentine’s Day meal: Riesling Onion Soup with Herbed Croutons, Rib Eye Steak with Red-Wine Sauce, Spinach Sauteed with Pine Nuts, and Warm Molten Chocolate Cakes (I know, a dessert! Well it’s a special occasion)

Wednesday: Cream of Cauliflower Soup (our meat-free meal of the week)

Thursday:Oven-Fried Catfish with Potatoes and an Herb Salad with Champagne Vinaigrette

Friday: Pot Roast, Mashed Potatoes and Green Beans

Saturday: We have down as a leftovers day.

Sunday: Roast Leg of Lamb, Roasted Potatoes, Carrots

You’ll need a few things that you may not normally buy to make some of these recipes, like the Riesling wine for the onion soup, cocoa powder for the chocolate cakes, pine nuts for the spinach, champagne vinegar for the vinaigrette, catfish, and leg of lamb. We’re doing some entertaining this week since Sean is off on Friday, we’ll entertain for Sunday dinner, and Valentine’s Day will be a special weeknight meal, so we do have some more labor-intensive recipes this week, but none of them are very difficult or time consuming. Even though the pot roast takes several hours to cook, once it’s prepared, it pretty much takes care of itself, and you could do it in a slow cooker if you prefer. You’ll also need lots of chicken stock this week since we are really making 3 soups, so if you had a chance to make some of your own stock, you’re in luck. I’ll have to make some more stock of my own to cover everything for the week.

Well, sorry, it’s a short post today, but I am tired from all the driving (it’s a 4 hour trip back from Saranac Lake) and I am going to eat some wings 🙂 Tune in tomorrow to start off the week with a nice, simple recipe of Chicken and Rice Soup. if you have any questions, comments or just want to say hello, please do! I look forward to any input at all. Have a great night and we’ll start cooking again tomorrow!

 
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Posted by on February 12, 2012 in Cooking, Dinner, Meal Plan Menu

 

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Jennifer Probst

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Laissez Faire

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