Is there any meal more American than pot roast? Seriously, when I think about it I think of a relaxing Sunday with the family filled with football in the afternoon and pot roast for dinner then pie for dessert. The good qualities of pot roast are that it is pretty simple to make and it cooks for a while so you can leave it while you do other more fun things. The bad qualities of pot roast are that it can be pretty dry and if not seasoned properly, pretty bland. As a result of the bad qualities, I don’t make pot roast very often. Eric and I hate dry, overcooked meat; let’s face it, you might as well throw away the $15 you just spent on that roast because it tastes more like beef jerky than anything else. But alas, Ina Garten came to the rescue again! I found her recipe for Company Pot Roast and was dying to try it.
This recipe had some dynamite ingredients including brandy, red wine and tomatoes. And in true Ina fashion I thought, “How bad could that be?”
To start the roast, prep all your basic ingredients; chop up carrots, leeks, celery and onion.
Season the roast and dredge it in flour. Saute the roast in a hot dutch oven over medium heat until all the sides are nicely browned.
Remove the roast and then saute all the veggies, being sure to add seasoning.
Once the veggies are soft (about 10 minutes), add in all your liquid, meat, herb bundle and meat into the dutch oven and bring to a boil.
Cook the roast in the oven for 2.5 hours or until it reaches a temp of 160 degrees. This is where I made the classic pot roast mistake. I should have used my favorite new gadget, my meat thermometer but instead I just cooked the roast for 2.5 hours and followed the recipe. My meat was on the end of being dry. Any longer and Eric would have made a face at me after his first bite. I was safe but walking a fine line to dry-town. Next time, I will use my meat thermometer and take the roast out sooner.
The best part about this roast is the magnificent sauce. The red wine, brandy, veggies, tomatoes, chicken stock and meat juice create a delicious sauce for the meat. To thicken the sauce, the recipe calls for you to put half of it in a blender or food processor but I used my trusty immersion blender, pulsed it a few times in the pot and voila! thick sauce without extra dishes and hot sauce splashing everywhere.
I served my roast with fresh green beans and buttery bread. Some people like potatoes with their roast but I find it too filling for me to eat, I feel like a blimp at the end of the meal! So we went with veggies and bread. I also had so much leftover sauce that I plan to use it with some buttered noodles today for lunch. Yum!
Here’s the recipe from Ina Garten:
- 1 (4 to 5-pound) prime boneless beef chuck roast, tied
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- All-purpose flour
- Good olive oil
- 2 cups chopped carrots (4 carrots)
- 2 cups chopped yellow onions (2 onions)
- 2 cups chopped celery (4 stalks)
- 2 cups chopped leeks, white and light green parts (2 to 4 leeks)
- 5 large garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
- 2 cups good red wine, such as Burgundy
- 2 tablespoons Cognac or brandy
- 1 (28-ounce) can whole plum tomatoes in puree
- 1 cup chicken stock, preferably homemade
- 1 chicken bouillon cube
- 3 branches fresh thyme
- 2 branches fresh rosemary
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
- Pat the beef dry with a paper towel. Season the roast all over with 1 tablespoon salt and 1½ teaspoons pepper. Dredge the whole roast in flour, including the ends. In a large Dutch oven, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add the roast and sear for 4 to 5 minutes, until nicely browned. Turn and sear the other side and then turn and sear the ends. This should take 4 to 5 minutes for each side. Remove the roast to a large plate.
- Add 2 tablespoons olive oil to the Dutch oven. Add the carrots, onions, celery, leeks, garlic, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1½ teaspoons pepper and cook over medium heat for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender but not browned. Add the wine and Cognac and bring to a boil. Add the tomatoes, chicken stock, bouillon cube, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Tie the thyme and rosemary together with kitchen string and add to the pot. Put the roast back into the pot, bring to a boil, and cover. Place in the oven for 2½ hours, until the meat is fork tender or about 160 degrees F internally. Turn the heat down to 250 degrees F after about an hour to keep the sauce at a simmer.
- Remove the roast to a cutting board. Remove the herb bundle and discard. Skim off as much fat as possible from the sauce. Transfer half the sauce and vegetables to a blender or a food processor fitted with the steel blade and puree until smooth. Pour the puree back into the pot, place on the stovetop over low heat, and return the sauce to a simmer. Place 2 tablespoons flour and the butter in a small bowl and mash them together with a fork. Stir into the sauce and simmer for 2 minutes, stirring until thickened. Taste for seasonings. Remove the strings from the roast, and slice the meat. Serve warm with the sauce spooned over it.