Saturday, October 22, 2011

Perfect Pot Roast with Creamy Mashed Potatoes (My Way)

I've made many pot roasts in my life.  I've made them in my slow cooker, pressure cooker and in the oven.    I've been reading The Pioneer Woman's food blog for three years.  I even bought her cookbook, when it first came out-- and I've posted many of her recipes.   Every so often, Ree will post something with salad greens... or vegetables....or soups.  She's not always about comfort food, you know!  However, when I recorded an episode of PW's new Food Network show, and I watched Ree make her Perfect Pot Roast... well, my mind was set on making it.  However, I didn't exactly follow Ree's recipe.  I will tell you, in advance, that this is the best pot roast that I've made so far!

 Behold, a nicely marbled piece of 5 pound chuck roast... (season with salt & pepper)

 Three yellow onions and whole carrots...

 A Dutch oven, in my opinion, is my favorite way to braise.  I liked Ree's idea of cutting the onion in half, instead of chunks.  With a little olive oil, just give them a nice brown, remove and set aside.

Add a little more olive oil, and toss in the carrots (cut in really large chunks). Give those a nice sear, and here's my own touch-- in the last 30 seconds, add two whole cloves of garlic. Set those veggies aside...

 Add some more oil. and keep that Dutch Oven hot!

 Now, sear the meat.  Hear that sizzle!

...and give that meat a beautiful sear on both sides, and all around. 

Remove the meat.

I'm lucky enough to have an herb garden, where I could cut three sprigs of fresh rosemary and thyme. We're about to build some flavor for the braising liquid.

Ree tosses her herbs into the broth.  I wanted to tie them, so I could easily remove them. (I don't particularly care for bits of rosemary floating around in my gravy).  I have kitchen twine, but I save the rubber bands from when I buy celery.  I think they're easy to use, and then I just toss them.

I decided to deglaze all that beautiful brown bits with some red wine-- oh, about 3/4 cup.

 I added about 3 cups of beef stock.  I had to add something that Ree did not...

Tomato paste. I love that richness and depth of flavor and color it adds to sauces and braising liquids.
TIP:  At a restaurant supply store, I buy a package of those small plastic containers that you find in take-out foods.  I freeze 1-2 Tbsp. portions of tomato paste, once I open a can and only use a portion of it.  I also freeze leftover chipotle peppers and pesto sauce.

With a sharp knife, I carefully cut about 1 Tbsp. of frozen tomato paste...

...then, tossed it into the braising liquid.

Please pardon the out of focus Tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce.  Again, this was another layer of flavor that I added to Ree's original recipe.  Trust me, this adds a lot of flavor! Give it a taste... adjust the seasonings with more salt and pepper, if you feel it needs it. 

Add the meat back into the pot. Toss in the two garlic cloves. 

Set the tied herbs into the liquid.  Tuck those beautifully caramelized carrots and onions along the sides... nice, and cozy.
NOTE: In reading the many comments people left about pot roast, some people said that the carrots should only be added at the end, lest they become mushy.  I set aside half of the carrots, to test that theory. I'll let you know.

Add enough beef stock so that the liquid comes up to about halfway of the meat. Put the lid on, and put into an oven, preheated to 275F.  Relax, and let this cook low and slow for 2-3 hours.
Of course, you could put all of this into a slow cooker.  On a lazy Sunday, I'm content to use a Dutch Oven.  It's just my preference.  

So, it's been about 3 hours, and I have to tell you-- the pot roast smells so good!  I decided to add the remaining carrots and let this go for another 45 minutes.

Pot roast. From scratch. No onion soup mix.  This is home cookin'!

 Toss away the herbs. They've done their job well.
The meat is very, very tender.  NOTE:  I recently watch Anne Burrell (Food Network/Secrets of a Restaurant Chef) make a pot roast, and she ties it so that slicing the meat is much easier.  In the future, I'm definitely going to do this. 

Overall, the meat was easy to slice.  I debated thickening the braising liquid into a thick gravy.  But, I decided not to.  Truth be told, I was hungry!

I made these Creamy Yukon Gold Mashed Potatoes, earlier in the day.  My secret to terrific mashed potatoes is to use a food mill, and I don't peel the potatoes.  I stir in a combo of cream cheese and butter, and some heavy cream. Yes, the fat gram police aren't pleased.  Once in a while, I say, live it up... and these potatoes are the best you can make.  I simply heated these in the last half hour that the pot roast was cooking-- right next to it.  They were hot, and steamy.  Serve the pot roast, and veggies and gravy right over a mound of creamy mashed potatoes.  Dig in!
VERDICT:  Seriously, this is the best pot roast I have ever made!  Let's start with the sauce-- the red wine, tomato paste, garlic and Worcestershire sauce kicked up the flavor a lot.  The meat was tender.  I loved the caramelized large chunks of onion. Yummy! The carrots were not mushy. They were sweet, and I couldn't tell the difference between the carrots I cooked at the beginning vs. the end.  The rosemary and thyme herbs were perfect, and I much preferred not having them in my sauce.  I did not regret that I didn't make the gravy thicker with flour or cornstarch.  The next day, the pot roast was even better!  Sadly, there were not enough leftovers to make pot roast soup.  With all due respect to The Pioneer Woman, my additions to the her recipe were an improvement.  We loved this recipe, and I can hardly wait for that first  California frosty cold winter night to make this again.  

A printable recipe card, with my adaptions, is at the end of this post.

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FOODalogue said...

Great post - love the narrative and step-by-step photos. I've come away with a desire for pot roast and a couple of new tips, like searing the vegetables in large pieces first and saving the vegetable rubber bands. Good job!

TKW said...

Your tomato paste trick is genius! I'm stealing it! That pot roast is yet another reason my Dad wants you as his second wife!

teresacooks said...

I made PW's pot roast the other day, exactly as the recipe was printed, as I was eating it I actually said out loud "next time I'd put in red wine" Now I'm thinking next time red wine and tomato paste, brilliant!

Sam @ My Carolina Kitchen said...

We watched Anne Burrell tie the pot roast too. Great idea. Love your idea of saving the celery rubber bands for the herbs and also how you save the left-over tomato paste. Such a shame to throw it away.

Valerie said...

Debby, you make this look so easy! I've never made a pot roast before, but maybe it's about time. :)

I love those photos of the fresh rosemary! So enticing.

Maureen, Milwaukee said...

Thanks for a great recipe with your additions! I add red wine and whole peeled garlic cloves to pot roast and they give yet more layers of flavor. I started using them after I had a wonderful pot roast at a little bistro outside San Diego. The chef told me he always used wine, garlic, and put in whole carrots and let them braise the whole cook-time with the roast. I took his advice, and just like you found, they're never too soft - and they add some wonderful sweetness. I recently made a slow-cooker pot roast and added raisins and cranberries, along with the onions, garlic, and carrots. The depth of flavor was really great. I discarded the fruit to make a gravy, but found my son nibbling at them in the kitchen, so maybe I'll leave them in the pan next time. Great photos and recipe - thanks!

Big Dude said...

Pot roast cooked with carrots and onions (my favorite part) with mashed taters and brown gravy - it doesn't get any better than that. Yours looks fabulous.

Joanne said...

I am forwarding this recipe to my mother because if there's anyone who needs an updated pot roast, it's her! That looks so moist and pull-apart awesome!

Christine said...

Hi Debby,
Great photos, especially the one of the seared roast. I can tell you right now, I'll be making this real soon. LA is slowly cooling and I'm lining up recipes for the "big oven". ;) Thanks so much!

Gloria (The Little Red House with the White Porch) said...

Another masterpiece, Debby! I like your additions to the recipe. THAT'S what makes it so delicious. I wish I could take a bite out of that first photo you have at the top of the post!

bellini said...

Deep, rich and colourful flavours Debby! U can feel myself being satisfied just looking at your photos.

Sue/the view from great island said...

I just made a pot roast a few days ago and I'm still in the mood for more. Your mashed potatoes sound amazing, too!

The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

Braised beef is on everyone's brain these days and I know I MUST make it soon. I'm hoping to do an imitation of the one I had in Italy.

BTW, I keep forgetting to tell you I love the haircut!

Rita said...

I happen to see you on Bellinni's blog and something caught my attention. You are my kind of cook/chef. It was a pleasure reading you and seeing how you end up with such a Perfect meal.
Have not made a good pot roast in ages and this really sound like that special recipe I used to make. Nothing beats a good pot roast; thanks for the inspiration.

Cathy at Wives with Knives said...

This looks like the perfect pot roast, Debby. There is so much great information in this post and I can't wait to try your recipe. Your tutorials are so helpful and take the fear factor out of recipe preparation. Pot roast was my dad's favorite meal and I think of him every time I prepare it.

Ciao Chow Linda said...

Could this get any better? Well yes, if I were eating some of it right now. What a great looking pot roast.

Tina said...

This was delicious! I thickened the gravy as that's the way we usually like it. This was also the most expensive pot roast I have ever made.We live in China and beef here is like shoe leather. I happened to have a big chunk of rib eye that turned out not to be worthy of steaks in my freezer, and it did the trick. Thanks for a great recipe to make my first ever pot roast while living here!

Becki's Whole Life said...

This looks amazing and the mashed potatoes sound great, too! I like that you also give the veggies a nice sear along with the meat in this. Mmmm....I want a pot roast now!

Cathy at Wives with Knives said...

I'm back to tell you that I prepared a pot roast yesterday using this recipe and it was as you described - perfect. The herbs, red wine and tomato paste add so much flavor and I wasn't even tempted to thicken the gravy. I know tonight's leftovers will be even better. Thanks for sharing, Debby.

Sarah E. said...

That looks incredible!

Laura @ Hip Pressure Cooking said...

Beautiful photographs... finally another lover of step-by-step photos AND pressure cooking.

I used to live in the San Francisco Bay Area and came down to Monterey and Carmel almost every other weekend - I don't blame you for not imagining wanting to live anywhere else. Most hope to live where you are!

I'm looking forward to your next pressure cooker recipes - be sure to add a link to it from my facebook page so my readers can hear about your next recipe, too!!



Anonymous said...

I have this pot roast in the oven at this very minute.I even went and bought the cast iron pot to roast it in-red and I love it.Will let you know how it turns out.

Anonymous said...

Not for nothng, but how do you know your recipe was an improvement if you didn't make her original recipe? Really thought that was a tacky comment.

Debby Foodiewife said...

Dear July 1st, 2017 Anonymous Person:
I really debated just deleting your rude comment. It never fails, that after 8 years of food blogging it's usually the anonymous posters who leave nasty comments. I looked at my post, again, and I am convinced that you are just having a bad day and needed to act like a blog troll. Lucky me.
First, let me remind you that I am a fan of PW. Big time. I have ALL of her cookbooks. My changes were based on experience, and I know what I'm doing in the kitchen. Tomato paste makes a braising sauce taste better. Fact.
That I chose to not chop up my herbs, but tie them for easy disposal is an advanced chef's tip I learned a long time ago.
Your comment was tacky, Anonymous. I owe nobody an apology.
You are rude, plain and simple, and so I will leave your comment up and my rebuttal. Though, I doubt you'll read it. If you do, I seriously doubt you'd apologize for your rudeness.
I wish you peace and kindness in your life.