Saturday, October 22, 2011
Perfect Pot Roast with Creamy Mashed Potatoes (My Way)
Behold, a nicely marbled piece of 5 pound chuck roast... (season with salt & pepper)
Three yellow onions and whole carrots...
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.
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...
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'!
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.