Monday, June 27, 2011

My Favorite Pot Roast

It isn't exactly the season, but we just ate a pot roast last night, and it was fantastic. This summer I'm cooking for my friend's son while he is home from college, and this is one of the things that he requested. (My friend passed away this past January). I cannot put into words how good this pot roast is! It's worth the few extra steps of preparation. We like it served over mashed potatoes, although it would be equally good with roasted root vegetabls or egg noodles.

Adapted from Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker Cookbook (NYM Series):

  • Pot Roast (3-4 lbs)
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 1/2 cup diced celery
  • 1/2 cup diced carrots
  • 1/2 cup diced turnip
  • 2 T olive oil, divided
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 3/4 cup water
First, take the time to finely dice your vegetables--they are going to add some incredible flavor to your roast. Heat 1 T oil in a large skillet and saute the vegetables, stirring occasionally. The recipe recommends 5 minutes, but I saute them a little longer and I use my stainless steel skillet so that they leave browned bits in the bottom of the pan. After browning, move the vegetables to the crock pot, covering the bottom.

Next, heat the remaining 1 T of oil in the same skillet. Sprinkle the pot roast liberally with salt and pepper, and place it in the skillet to sear, approximately 3-4 minutes per side. After the roast is browned, place it in the crock pot over the vegetables.

Pour the red wine in the searing pan, and bring it to a boil. Scrape the sides and bottom of the pan to scrape up the browned bits. Let the wine reduce for a few minutes. The recipe says 2 minutes, I usually do it a bit longer. When the wine is a syrupy consistency, pour it carefully over the pot roast. I like to keep as much of the syrup on top of the meat as possible.

Return the pan to the heat and pour in the 3/4 cup of water. Bring to a boil, then pour it into the crock pot. I like to pour it onto the vegetable mixture so that the wine syrup stays concentrated on the meat.

Cook on low for 7-9 hours. When you are ready to serve, move the pot roast to a cutting board or serving platter. Put a strainer over a bowl and spur the vegetable mixture and juices through so that the strainer catches the solids. Press gently on the vegetable mixture to extract the juices. Let the mixture set for 5 minutes--the fats will rise to the top, and you can skim them off before serving the juices as a gravy for the pot roast.

We use the juices lightly, and I usually have between half and 3/4 cup of the juices left. I freeze them and add them to my next Minestrone, along with any shredded meat that might be left over after we enjoy this meal a few times. It adds a nice beefy flavor with few actual pieces of meat!

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