As a cook — I suppose I can call myself a “cook” now — pot roast is another one of those foods that intimidate me. Even more so than ribs or a boston butt. At least with a butt and ribs, I have some kind of diagnostic instrumentation available.
Beyond the initial prep and a brief interruption later in the cook to introduce some veggies, it is all about leaving the damned lid closed. It is a black box. A chewy, fatty, tough cut of beef goes in and, if all goes well, a fork tender cut of tasty delicious meat comes out.
Of course, my mother — if she reads this (which she occasionally does) — will likely laugh at me. Pot roast always seems to be something she’d just toss together at the last second and it would turn out perfect.
I decided to have a crack at a pot roast today and the results were excellent. Could be better, but excellent none-the-less. And damned easy.
- Started with about a 5lbs chunk of beef chuck pot roast, bone in. It was an odd cut. It was about an inch and half thick. Fatty. Tough, but all natural. Cheap at $2/lbs.
- Browned the meat in canola oil, not olive or grapeseed. Since I was cooking in a seasoned, but not coated, cast iron dutch oven, I used a bit more oil than the recipe called for.
- Tossed in a splash of bourbon.
- Used red onions instead of yellow.
- Smushed about 2 heads of garlic. Smashing the cloves makes ’em easy to peel and releases more flavor.
- Added considerably more than 1/2 cup of red wine.
- Diced some large carrots and halved small potatoes as the vegetable.
- Cooked the meat over low heat — a simmer — for 2 hours. Added carrots and potatoes on top. Cooked for another hour and half.
It was delicious. Fork tender; no need for a knife to serve or eat. Everyone loved it, even my relatively picky son.
Next time, I’ll use less liquid and up the cooking time a bit. No risk of drying out given the very little amount of liquid loss observed. I’m also betting that the drippings could be made into a killer gravy, but I have not the remotest clue in the world as to how to pull that off!