Thursday, February 28, 2013

It All Falls Apart: Pot Roast


When I was a starving college student, subsisting on Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, Jamba Juice, and tears, I lived for the Sunday nights I could drive 30 minutes from school to get my Auntie Vee's cooking. Sunday nights at her house meant free laundry, the "Amazing Race", and hearty dinners that felt like home.  My favorite was her pot roast, a meltingly tender hunk of beef braised in Lipton's Onion Soup mix with carrots and potatoes, and served over a pile of white rice doused in gravy and unconditional love. It was her Pot Roast I learned to make for my friends one Sunday night, kicking off a decade of cooking that continues to this day.

A few Sundays ago, I decided it was time to make Pot Roast. The air was crisp and cool - perfect weather for braising, and I invited some friends to share in the beefy bounty. Over the years, I modified my aunt's recipe, taking a cue from Emeril Lagasse and BAM! stuffing the roast all over with garlic, and substituting caramelized onions for Lipton's. Also wine. Did I mention the wine? Ah, glorious adulthood! Half a bottle for the beef, half a bottle for the cook, I say – it'll help you and the beef unwind with complexity. The recipe below is just a starting point; if food is, as they say, love, then there's no one right way to do it. The moment the meat falls apart, you'll know.

Servings: 4 college boys, or 6 normal people
Prep Time: 4 hours

3.5 pounds beef chuck roast (7-bone if you can find it/if you have a pot large enough to fit it)
6 cloves of garlic, or more to taste, peeled
2 large onions, chopped in half widthwise
3 carrots, peeled and chopped into 1" pieces
2 potatoes, peeled and cut into 1" cubes
1/2 a bottle of red wine
4-5 sprigs of fresh thyme
salt and pepper, to taste
2 tbsp olive oil, divided
tap water

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees

Pat your meat dry with paper towels, and using a paring knife, cut 1-2" deep slits all over the roast. Stuff the slits with the garlic, cutting cloves into smaller pieces if necessary to fit. Season the roast liberally with salt and pepper.

Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in large stockpot or dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering, and add the beef, turning occasionally until well-browned on each side. Remove to a plate. Add remaining 2 tablespoons of oil to the pot, and place the onions, cut side down, into the pot. Reduce heat to low, and cook until soft and caramelized, 10-15 minutes. Add 1/2 bottle of wine and thyme, increase heat to high, and bring to a boil. Reduce the wine by 1/3, and then add the beef  back to the pot, nestling it amongst the onion halves. Add water so liquid just covers beef. Cover, and place pot in center rack of oven for 2.5 hours. Add carrots and potatoes and return to oven, cooking until vegetables are fork-tender and the meat falls apart when you so much as look at it.

Remove from the oven and arrange the veggies and meat on a serving platter. Reduce the remaining braising liquid over high heat until thickened, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve the meat in chunks with veggies, rice and covered in sauce. 

Nutrition Info (1 Serving): Coming Soon!!
Calories , Total Fat: g, Sat. Fat: g, Cholesterol: mg, Sodium: mg, Carb: g, Fiber: g, Sugars: g, Protein: g

One Response so far.

  1. Unknown says:

    a better way of cooking pot roast. i really love this. it is so tender and juicy. so yummy. visit for more recipes.

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