Who doesn’t love pot roast? Well, I suppose some of my vegetarian friends are not fans, but most everyone else I know deems pot roast as the ultimate comfort food. However, I have heard many friends complain that they have not been successful… that often the meat comes out tough!
Contrary to belief, tough pot roast is not a result of over-cooking… but of UNDER-cooking! And the science of that is not always consistent. For example, the rule of thumb is to cook low and slow, about 1 hour per pound of meat. But temperatures in ovens vary and sometimes the weather can throw everything off… so shoot for an hour per pound, but if it’s not falling apart tender then put it back in and check it every 20 minutes. I had a small 2lb roast this time, yet it took 3 hours. You just never know. But the longer in the oven the more the connective tissues break down and turn into succulent deliciousness.
Because of the intimidation factor so many feel when facing The Pot Roast… I took a lot of extra photos for some step-by-step assurance of what things should look like. Scroll through the photos with my comments and then read all of the directions before beginning… so you will feel confident as you go along. This is actually a very simple and inexpensive meal – so relax! And in 3-5 hours your patience will pay off and you’ll have an amazing meal to serve your family and friends.
I chose a bottom round tender cut – but you can use a chuck roast as well. Look for good marbling.
GENEROUSLY salt and pepper both sides!
The other side had a layer of fat – don’t be tempted to remove this – you will need this for browning and it will render away! Put this side in the pan first.
Start by lightly browning your vegetables in a teaspoon of oil. Then remove from the pan.
Then put the meat in the same pan (fat side down). Add a touch more oil if needed. Brown on each side – I stand it on the ends to get every side, Only a few minutes per side is needed. You want a good caramelized browning.
Now return everything to the pot! Add beef stock until it’s about half way up the meat.
Isn’t it lovely?
You know your meat is done when it easily pulls apart with forks.
Voila! Great over mashed potatoes or rice or even egg noodles.
- 1 whole (4 To 5 Pounds) Bottom Round Roast or Chuck Roast
- 2 Tablespoons Grapeseed Oil (or an oil that has a high smoke point)
- 2 whole Onions or one bag of frozen pearl onions (which I used)
- 6 whole Carrots (cut in 1″ pieces) or 1/2 bag of baby carrots
- 3 stalks celery (cut in 1″ pieces)
- Salt To Taste
- Pepper To Taste
- 1 cup Your favorite Red Wine (optional, you can just use beef broth if you prefer)
- 2 cups To 3 Cups Beef Stock
- 3 sprigs Fresh Thyme (or dried if that’s all you have)
- 3 sprigs Fresh Rosemary (or dried if that’s all you have)
Ready to Cook?
First and foremost, choose a nicely marbled piece of meat. This will enhance the flavor of your pot roast. I chose the bottom round because it’s a little bit leaner. But make sure you do see a decent amount of marbling. Generously salt and pepper your meat.
Heat a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Then add 2 to 3 tablespoons of oil (or you can do a butter/ oil split). I use a ceramic-covered cast iron pot. It needs to a heavy, stove-to-oven pot.
Peel and cut two onions in half and cut 6 to 8 carrots into 2-inch slices (you can peel them, but you don’t have to). When the oil in the pot is very hot (but not smoking), add in the halved onions, browning them on one side and then the other. Remove the onions to a plate.
Throw the carrots and celery into the same very hot pan and toss them around a bit until slightly browned, about a minute or so. Remove and repeat process with the mushrooms, though for less than a minute (do not cook thoroughly).
If needed, add a bit more oil to the very hot pan. Place the meat in the pan (fat side down) and sear it for about a minute on all sides until it is nice and brown all over. Remove the roast to a plate.
With the burner still on high, use either red wine or beef broth (about 1 cup) to de-glaze the pan, scraping the bottom with a whisk or wooden spoon to get all of that wonderful flavor up.
When the bottom of the pan is sufficiently de-glazed, place the roast back into the pan and add enough beef stock to cover the meat halfway (about 2 to 3 cups). Add in the vegetables, as well as 3 or 4 sprigs of fresh rosemary and about 3 sprigs of fresh thyme (a teaspoon of each if using dried).
Put the lid on, then roast in a 275F oven for 2-3 hours (for a 2lb roast). For a 4 to 5lb roast, plan on 4-5 hours.
Transfer meat to a cutting board. Test it using two forks to pull meat apart. Is it easy? Then you did it! A little tough? Put it back in and test every 20 minutes. Once done, cut meat into chunks and serve with the vegetables over mashed potatoes (or other favorite starch). Be sure to pour the juices over the top. Uh-Mazing!
The Perfect Bite
This is a perfect opportunity to stack your fork with a little bit of everything… swirl it in the juices and let it all melt in your mouth.
The Perfect Pairing
I used the Rex Goliath Pinot Noir to cook with as well as paired it with the meal. This is a very heavy, rich plate and needs a lighter touch to accompany it. It’s smooth and velvety dry with a harmonic blend of black cherry with a touch of vanilla that stays on the tongue to produce a pleasant finish.
The Perfect Health
This dish is packed with vegetables and if you did like I did and your veg ratio to meat is much greater… then scoop up a few ladles full of veg and some broth and throw it all on the blender. Puree until smooth and use this instead of making a gravy with flour. Much healthier and incredibly tasty! Keep adding broth until you reach your desired consistency.