RECIPE: Pot Roast like Grandma's
This is a recipe I have had for a few years. You use a dutch oven to cook the meat. It is a great way to slow cook a tougher, cheaper piece of meat. The trick to a dutch oven is to sear your meat on the stove top, getting a nice seasoned base. Then, deglaze the bottom with some onions and/or wine, scraping up the bits with a spoon. Because the dutch oven is oven proof, it can bake for the rest of the time with it's cover in the oven. The result is a tender, flaky serving of meat. There is often a lot of juice, great for potatoes or some buttered noodles on the side (or warm bread!) This recipe is for a traditional pot roast, a great weekend fall meal. It's very basic in nature. Be sensitive to what meat you choose. You can check out my cheat sheet on a previous post (Meat Cuts 101). I would recommend a chuck roast, cross-rib roast, seven bone pot roast or arm roast for this. A cut that can cook in braising liquid for 2 1/2 hours to get fork tender is the key.
Pot Roast like Grandma's
1 Tbsp. olive oil
3 1/2 lb. chuck roast, trimmed
salt and pepper to taste
1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onion
1/2 cup chopped red onion
1 cup red wine
6 sprigs fresh thyme
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tsp. kosher salt
14 oz. beef broth
3 bay leaves
5 large carrots, cut into 1 inch pieces
3 large red potatoes, peeled and cut into 2 inch pieces
8 oz. white button mushroom, halved or quartered if large
Heat oven to 350˚. Heat olive oil in a dutch oven or oven safe dish. Sprinkle the meat with salt and fresh ground pepper on both sides. Brown the meat on all sides until brown (about 5 minutes on all sides with medium high heat.) Take the meat out of the pan and set aside and add the onions. With your tongs, toss the onions in the pan while scraping up all the brown bits from the bottom. Cook until tender, about 8 minutes. Deglaze the bottom of the pan with the red wine, scraping the bottom and sides.
Add the roast back into the pan, and add the broth, thyme sprigs, bay leaves, garlic and 1 tsp. salt. Heat to a simmer. Cover, remove the pan from heat and place on the middle of the oven. Bake for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or until meat is just tender.
Add the carrots, potatoes, mushrooms and jostle them in with the juices and meat. Recover and cook for 1 hour more, or so, until the vegetables are tender and you can easily flake off the meat with a fork. If things are still not tender enough, kick up your temp to 400˚ and cook for 15 more minutes at the higher temp and check it promptly. A little extra time at a higher heat to speed things up to finish is a great trick (especially when you have a hungry, restless crowd).
Remove the meat from the pan, and shred into chunks onto a serving platter using two forks. Serve the vegetables on the side as well as the pan juices. Serve with some extra bread for mopping up the juice.