Sunday, October 30, 2011

Pot Roast Love

I think I've mentioned in the past that Sunday dinner at my house growing up was pot roast with carrots and potatoes nearly every Sunday. It still is, actually. It's one of my mom's best meals. Somehow that pot roast magic skill didn't managed to transfer into my brain before I left home. I know, SHOCKING! I had Mom write down what she did shortly after we got married and I followed her instructions to the letter only to discover that either I was roast challenged (very possibly) or that same level of goodness could only be achieved by my mom. I satisfied myself with inviting myself to dinner every week that we lived close enough and really enjoying the weeks we made the trek after we moved. I didn't really attempt it again until several years later...largely because we couldn't afford to actually purchase anything more expensive than ground beef but that's a tale for another day.

I'm a huge fan of putting roast in the crock pot and do that most often. It's pretty hard to mess things up in a crock pot because it does all the work for you. That said sometimes I am not a good enough planner and don't get it started in time. I have this lovely red Dutch oven that I got for my birthday a couple of years ago and although it's not Le Crueset it's pretty darned good. I did the research between Lodge and Le Crueset and decided that the end result was so close to the same that I couldn't justify $250-300 on one pan. Lodge has served me well with my other Dutch ovens so that's what I got and guess what....it makes a roast that is on a par with my mom's! Finally!

Depending on how much time I've got I like to brown the onions and carrots as well as the roast before I start them all together in the oven. It works without that step but the flavor it is a bit richer if you do it. Sometimes I cook the potatoes in the same pot but usually I do those separately on the stove. I just like the texture better with gravy. So, here's the secret so that you can have some pot roast love at your house too!

Pot Roast Love

1 large roast (we like chuck usually)
1 onion; cut into eighths or quarters
1 1/2 lbs baby carrots
Johnny's seasoned salt
black pepper
Herbs of your choice
olive oil
2 c. beef broth

Heat a couple of tablespoons olive oil in the Dutch oven over med high-high heat.

Quickly brown the onions in the olive oil and set aside. Brown the carrots until you start to see little brown marks and set them aside as well.

Season the meat with seasoning salt and pepper. Sear your roast on all sides until it's nice and brown. A good pair of tongs will help you get the sides without burning yourself. Set roast aside.

Deglaze your pan with 1 c. beef broth. Scrape the little bits off the bottom of the pan. Put the roast, carrots and onion (and potatoes if that's the way you are cooking them) back in the pan and add enough broth to cover the roast approx halfway. (you are braising the meat in case you are interested)

Add whatever herbs you like or just season well with salt and pepper. Rosemary and thyme are good as is a bay leaf or two. Cover.

Cook low and slow until the meat is falling apart. 275 degrees for 3 hours for a smaller roast (3 lbs.) add another hour for a 4-5 lb roast. You can do 350 for a little less time but it isn't as fall apart tender. It's all about time people.

Let meat rest 5-10 minutes before serving.

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