Monday, April 4, 2011

Pot Roast

I had my in-laws over for dinner recently and thought they might enjoy pot roast. I'd never made it before, so it was my excuse to try out an old classic. It was good (hearty with a nice, rich gravy)...very reminiscent of brisket (maybe I shouldn't have made it so close to Passover). I was in a little bit of a rush to serve, so I didn't take my time photographing the finished plate (but honestly, I don't think it would have made a bit of difference; pot roast just isn't all that sexy).
Yield: 8-12 servings

1 (4 to 5-pound) prime boneless beef chuck roast, tied
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
all-purpose flour
extra virgin 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 (or 1 teaspoon chicken Better-Than-Bouillon)
3 branches fresh thyme
2 branches fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted

Preheat oven to 325º F.
1.      Pat the beef dry with a paper towel. Season the roast all over with 1 tablespoon salt and 1 1/2 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.
2.      Add 2 tablespoons olive oil to the Dutch oven. Add the carrots, onions, celery, leeks, garlic, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1 1/2 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 2 1/2 hours, until the meat is fork tender or about 160º F. internally. Turn the heat down to 250º F. after about an hour to keep the sauce at a simmer.
3.      Remove the roast to a cutting board. Remove the herb bundle and discard. Skim off as much fat as possible from the sauce. Remove about half the vegetables and sauce. Using an immersion blender, puree the remaining vegetables and sauce until smooth. Add the reserved vegetables and sauce back into the pot and return the sauce to a simmer. Place 2 tablespoons flour and the melted 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.

slightly adapted from "Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics." All rights reserved.

dredged roast
browned roast

vegetables cooking

wine and cognac added
everything added (except the roast)
roast added back
cooked (ready to remove roast)
cooked roast
I know, it looks gross (but it's tender and tasty)
sauce and vegetables
gravy pureed

1 comment:

Judie Cleland said...

This was so tender and tasty. We are the lucky in-laws who enjoyed this dinner. Quite good.

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