Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Perfect Pot Roast

I don't know about you, but I love beef.  Specifically, grass-fed and finished beef from one of our many local farms.  However, this type of beef typically costs much more than the grain-fed, feed lot counterpart you find in your local grocery stores.  Who wants to waste expensive meat on a so so or bad recipe?  Not me!

So, I set out to find a good pot roast recipe that didn't involve it basically boiling in a pot of water with potatoes and carrots for the day.  This was the only way I'd ever known to cook a pot roast (in the crockpot), and it worked for us for a long time.  However, after a while, we just were tired of it.  It didn't have a great flavor, and seemed like it could be much better.

Enter allrecipes.com.

After a little searching, I found this recipe.  I decided to give it a try.  It seemed almost too simple, but the reviews were great (don't you love getting to read reviews of recipes to know what to expect?).  Let me just say that this is the only recipe I will be using for our pot roasts from here on out.  Every time I make this meal both Nathan and I can go on and on about how much better this is than what I used to make.

I thought I'd go ahead and share the recipe here and a few tips that might be helpful.

Ingredients
2 tsp olive oil (I used coconut oil)
4 lb boneless chuck roast (I used bone in chuck roast)
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced (I love garlic, so I used 4 cloves)
2 bay leaves (I used 4)
1 tsp salt (I used Real Salt Sea Salt)
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Directions
1.Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).
2.Heat a heavy Dutch oven on top of the stove over medium high heat. Add oil, and sear meat in the center of the pan for 4 minutes. Turn meat over with tongs; sear all sides for 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Remove meat from pan. Arrange onion, garlic, and 1 bay leaf in the bottom of the pan, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Return meat to pan, place remaining bay leaf on top of meat, and cover.
3.Cook in the oven for 30 minutes at 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Reduce the heat to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C), and cook for 1 1/2 hours. Remove roast to a platter to rest for 10 to 15 minutes. Slice, and top with onions and gravy.

Tips
1.  You really, really, really do have to sear for the full 3-4 minutes.  Use a timer, it helps.
2.  Do NOT add the salt and pepper to the hot dutch oven before adding the onion and garlic.  Especially if you do not have an overhead vent.  Trust me.  You and your family will regret it and have to evacuate to avoid coughing fits.
3.  You may need to check on the roast after it has cooked for the initial 30 minutes at 325 and an hour at 350.  My roasts are thin and wide, so they cook faster.
4.  You could probably cut the salt in half if you wanted.  We like it at the full tsp, but it could be too salty for some.

This seriously is a delicous roast.  Once you pull the roast out there is a delicious gravy in the bottom that goes great over the meat and mashed potatoes (or mashed cauliflower, like we had to night).  The Pioneer Woman's Roasted Carrots are a perfect side with the potatoes and meat.  Along with some fresh baked bread and a salad.  Yum!

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