Friday, September 23, 2011

Classic Pot Roast- Great Time Saving Meal

I hate feeling rushed at dinner time so I love when I find recipes that I can make earlier in the day. The other day I decided to try a recipe that I found on the America's Test Kitchen website for Classic Pot Roast.


- 3 1/2 to 4 pound boneless beef chuck-eye roast pulled into two pieces at the natural seam and trimmed of  large knobs of fat (I did not do this because the roast I bought was not the right shape- I'll do better next time, I promise)
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- kosher salt
- 2 medium onions, halved and sliced thin
- 1 large carrot, chopped into medium pieces
- 1 celery rib, chopped into medium pieces
- 2 medium garlic cloves, minced
- 1 cup beef broth, plus 1 to 2 cups for the sauce (I used vegetable stock as it was what I had on hand)
- 1/2 cup dry red wine, plus 1/4 cup for the sauce (I omitted this and added more broth as I am pregnant and do not feel like buying wine that I can't drink)
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 sprig plus 1/4 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves (I used dried as it was what I had on hand)
- ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

***note*** I did not make the sauce as my family is not into sauces. This means that I only used one cup of beef broth plus 1/2 cup to replace the omitted wine and did not use any balsamic vinegar.

Sprinkle the meat with one tablespoon of Kosher salt and let stand at room temperature for about an hour (meat that is brought to room temperature cooks more evenly).

Adjust the oven rack to the lower middle position and preheat the oven to 300 degrees.

Heat the butter in a dutch oven over medium heat. Once the butter stops foaming add the onions and cook until they are softened and starting to brown (about ten minutes).

Add the carrots and celery and cook for five more minutes (don't forget to stir!).

Add the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds, until fragrant (I love the smell of fresh garlic).

Mix in the broth, 1/2 cup of wine (I omitted this and added an additional 1/2 cup of broth), tomato paste, bay leaf and thyme sprig. Bring to a simmer.

Pat the roast dry with paper towels and season with lots of ground pepper. Using three pieces of kitchen twine tie each piece of meat into a loaf shape so that they cook evenly (remind me to buy a better chuck roast next time). Plop the meat on top of the vegetables. Cover the dutch oven with aluminum foil and then put the lid on.

Put the pan into the preheated oven. Cook until a sharp knife easily slips in and out of the meat, about 3 1/2 to four hours, making sure that you flip the meat over about halfway through cooking. Resist the urge to open the dutch oven except for the one time to flip the roast- you'll let out all of the heat which will affect the cooking time.

Once done, transfer the roast to a cutting board and tent with aluminum foil to let rest. Remove the twine and slice. Yum!

I didn't make the sauce, but that doesn't mean that you can't! to make the sauce, strain the liquid from the dutch oven into a four cup measuring cup allowing it to settle for about five minutes. Throw away the bay leaf on thyme sprig and put the strained vegetables into the blender. Skim fat off of the liquid in the measuring cup and then add as much beef broth as necessary to bring the liquid amount to three cups. Pour the liquid into the blender with the vegetables and blend until smooth. Pour the sauce into a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer. Then add the chopped thyme, 1/4 cup of wine and balsamic vinegar. Season with salt and pepper and pour sauce over the meat, saving half to be passed around the table.

The verdict on this dish was that it was really good! The meat came out so tender which is amazing considering what a cheap cut it was. Next time I make this (and there will be a next time) I will do a much better job at picking out the meat. I really had no idea what I was looking for before but now I do. 

Another wonderful thing about this meal is that I was able to prepare it much earlier in the day so when dinner time came around the only thing I had to make was some mashed potatoes (I could have even made those earlier in the day and reheated them but I was tired and lazy). This will be a great cold weather recipe because here in Massachusetts it won't be long before we start seeing the dreaded snow!

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