Thursday, October 14, 2010

Pot Roast Beef

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I don’t really have a recipe for pot roast and have never tried to write one.  It’s more of a feel than an exact science.  It all depends on the size of the roast.  My meat cut of choice for pot roast is a well-marbled chuck that is about 3 – 4 inches thick.  I like this cut because it has a little more fat than other cuts which results in a juicy fork tender roast.

When I am purchasing a roast I try to visualize the pot that I plan to cook it in to assist me in choosing the right size.

Pot Roast is one of the easiest meals to make with a huge wow factor.  Fork tender roast with a hearty beef gravy accompanied with creamy potatoes and sweet carrots.

This is how I make my pot roast.  Simple without the frills.

I generously season the chuck roast with kosher salt and black pepper on both sides and flour the whole roast liberally pressing the flour into the meat making sure that the entire roast is coated well.  This process is what’s going to thicken your gravy so be generous and get the meat to take in as much flour as it can.

A heavy bottomed pot or dutch oven comes in handy when making a pot roast.  Heat it on high and add about 2 – 3 Tbsp. cooking oil and fry the roast to a golden brown on all sides adding more oil as needed.  This step is where most of the flavor comes from as well as the beautiful brown color to your gravy. 

When the roast is beautifully browned on all sides remove it from the pot and set aside.  Add a couple more Tbsp. of oil to the pot and toss in 1 large onion, chopped small and about 2 – 3 large stalks of celery, chopped small along with a couple of cloves of garlic, minced.  Cook over med heat until soft scraping up any burnt bits that may have been left behind when browning the meat.  Season the onions and celery with a pinch or two of kosher salt and black pepper.

When the onions and celery are soft put the meat back into the pot and add one can of beef broth and enough water to completely come up the sides of the meat without covering it. Bring to a boil, lower heat to med-low and cover the pot.  Let the roast cook on low for an hour to an hour and a half, depending on the size of the roast it could take up to 2 hours.  To check if the meat is tender; place a fork in the thickest part and if the fork comes out easily it is done.  ** the sauce needs to bubble to thicken.

Another option is to finish the roast in a 325 degree oven for 4 – 5 hours or in a crock pot for on low for 6 -8 hours or high for 4-5 hours.

No matter what finishing method you choose.  Always make the effort to flour and brown the meat well and sauté the onions and celery on the stove top.  This is the magic in making a flavorful pot roast.

You can cook the potatoes and carrots several ways.  Either add them to the pot 30 - 45 minutes before the meat is done (this is a feel thing), Cut them up and cook then in boiling salted water for about 8 – 10 minutes or place them on a sheet pan; season with salt and pepper and roast them in the oven 400 degrees for about 40 minutes (roasting makes the carrots sweet).  Then you can add them to the pot with the gravy to get them saucy.

Pot roast ingredients are basic, as you probably guessed, that’s not what makes it delicious, it’s all in the preparation.  As I said earlier, no matter what finishing method you choose, don’t skip the browning of the meat and sautéing the onions and celery.

INGREDIENTS FOR POT ROAST
3 – 4” thick chuck roast, any size
            Flour for dredging roast
1          large onion, chopped small
2 – 3    large celery stalks, chopped small
1 – 2    cloves of garlic, minced
1          14 oz. can beef broth (I like Swanson's)
1          14 oz. can water
            Salt and pepper

** if your gravy doesn't thicken as much as you would like - mix together 2T. cornstach and 2T. water and pour into boiling sauce.


NOTE: 
One can of beef broth is good for up to a 3 pound roast.  Once you get larger than that - double the beef broth and water.

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