Monday, April 4, 2011

Pot Roast so good it will draw the neighbors to your house

Tonight I made Pot Roast. The base recipe is from "The Silver Palate Cookbook", with some additional tweaks and adds that have been incorporated over time. This is another one of those tried and true, go to recipes that is a sure winner and can just as easily be dressed up for company as served to the family for some good home cooking.

You all may have gathered at this point that I have a soft spot for recipes that: (a) can either be made in about 30-40 minutes or cook for longer periods of time, basically unattended and (b) have layered flavors. This is definitely one of those recipes.

The Other Half walked in the door saying that he could smell dinner out in the driveway and that the next door neighbor asked what time he should come over. Guess that's what comes from cooking something in the oven for 4 hours!

Couple of notes:

I start with a large cast iron dutch oven and let it sit on the burner on low while I am prepping the ingredients to go into the pot so that it gets thoroughly hot. Once ready to start cooking, turn the heat up to medium to warm your oil and then begin to add your ingredients.

Though the original recipe calls for a beef shoulder or cross rib roast rolled and tied, I usually buy the "pot roast" cut at the grocery store and it is fine. Actually The Other Half says he prefers it when I use the slightly less expensive cut of beef - it gets very buttery and falls apart so easily that you can almost eat the whole dish with a fork.

I have used a Gascon Malbec twice now making this recipe with very nice results.

I use baby carrots and cut them in half to save time and because we always have a supply in the house - that's what we feed the dogs as treats.

I like to put the dutch oven on top of a quarter sheet (cookie sheet) covered with tin foil. It saves the bottom of my oven from the inevitable spill and makes it easier to get the dish in and out of the oven - this sucker can be kind of heavy to move around.

I like to serve with crusty bread to soak up the juice and a green salad with a light vinaigrette dressing. Drink a glass of the Malbec that you cooked with and you have a most satisfying meal.

Pot Roast

3 1/ - 4 lbs. pot roast
Ground black pepper to taste (I usually use about a tsp)
3 Tbs olive oil
2 cups beef stock (I have also used vegetable stock with sodium free beef buillon mixed in)
2 cups dry red wine
1 bunch of parsley, chopped fine, plus additional for garnish
1 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic powder
2 bay leaves
7 whole cloves
2 1/2 cups corsely chopped onion (I good size spanish onion does the trick)
2 cups peeled carrot chunks, 1-inch chunks
8 medium size potatoes scrubbed and cut into quarters
2 cups diced tomatoes with juice (I like Muir Glen Fire Roasted Organic Diced Tomatoes)
1 Cup diced celery (about 2 good size spears)
1 package button mushrooms, cleaned and quartered

Preheat oven to 350.

Rub roast with pepper. Heat olive oil in a heavy casserole, sear roast for several minutes on each side, browning well. Add onions and brown in meat fat for a few more minutes.

Pour in stock and wine and add parsley, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp pepper and the whole cloves. Stir in carrots, potatoes, tomatoes and celery. Liquid in casserole should just cover vegetables. Add additonal stock, if necessary. Bring to a simmer on top of the stove, cover and bake in center of oven for 2 1/2 hours.

Uncover and add mushrooms. Cook another 1-1 1/2 hours, basting frequently, until meat is fork tender.

I would love to get some feedback and see if you are enjoying the recipes or if there is anything you would like me to talk about. Or if anyone would like to be a guest blogger I would love to hear from you!