Beef Pot Roast

Beef Pot Roast was a staple around my house when I was young. Unfortunately, I never bothered to ask my Mother the history of her recipe, but she used to make it on Sundays in the cold months and it is one of my Father’s favorites. Every family has its own version of pot roast, which for most defines a sense of true comfort food and memories of being around the table at home.

I have slightly modified my Mother’s recipe from the traditional “all in the pot” process to a little more involved two-step braise. Not complicated by any means, I think the two-step process makes for more control and an easier and less caloric final gravy. The secret is a slow braise that not only creates the most luxurious richness and tenderness of an inexpensive beef cut, elevates the potatoes, carrots and onions which become imbibed in a luster of beefy goodness. My Mother made her pot roast in an old enameled cast iron pot that dated from the depression era that seemed solely intended to transform fairly modest ingredients into a hearty hot meal to feed a crowd. She would buy whatever inexpensive beef cut was on sale, but I almost always choose a boneless beef chuck roast for its marbled quality.

I also utilize homemade beef stock that I prepare several times a year that is surprisingly easy to make. You can see the recipe here. If you utilize store bought stock, make sure to buy an unsalted variety.

This recipe can easily be scaled up. To read more about my beef pot roast, see the post My Dad’s Hands, here.

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Instructions

  • 1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
  • 2. n a large heavy Dutch oven, heat oil over medium high heat on the stovetop until shimmering. Pat the roast with paper towels until dry and generously season with salt and pepper. Sear the roast on each side for four to five minutes until it has picked up a dark color and some of its fat has been rendered. Remove the roast to a platter and pour off all but one tablespoon of the oil and rendered fat.
  • 3. Replace the Dutch oven on the burner and over medium heat, add the chopped onion, carrot and celery. Sauté this mixture until it soft and has picked up some brown spots and is fragrant. Add the garlic and sauté for an additional minute. Add the wine and let this reduce until the liquid is halved.
  • 4. Once the wine has reduced, add the roast back to the Dutch oven and add the stock to just to the top of the roast along with the herb bundle. Let this mixture come to a boil. Once boiling, place the lid on the Dutch oven and carefully place in the preheated oven for two hours.
  • 5. While the roast is finishing its initial braise, prepare the vegetables for the final braise and setup a strainer over a non-glass bowl or large measuring container (heated liquids can cause cool glass containers to shatter).
  • 6. When the roast has completed its initial braise, carefully remove it from the oven and place the roast on a platter. Taking care, pour the braising liquid and chopped vegetables into the strainer, pressing the solids to remove liquid. You should have now about three quarters of the liquid volume you started with. Return this liquid to the Dutch oven along with the roast. Skim any accumulated fat from the surface of the liquid. Nestle the prepared vegetables around the roast and season with salt and pepper generously. If the potatoes are much larger than the carrots, wait to add the carrots for about fifteen minutes. Re-cover the Dutch oven and return to the oven.
  • 7. The dish will be done when the vegetables are cooked through but still have firmness, about another forty-five minutes to an hour.
  • 8. When complete, adjust seasonings as needed and plate roast and vegetables to a warm platter with some of the gravy ladled over. Serve the remaining gravy alongside. If the gravy is too thin, tent the platter with foil and reduce the gravy for a few minutes on high heat.