Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Pot Roast

Here's the thing about this pot roast. It reduced a grown man nearly to tears. If Tim hadn't already made up his mind to marry me, this would have put him over the edge. In fact, this pot roast may very well have spurred him into a shiny-ring-buying frenzy of activity. At any rate, Tim's just fallen in love with me for the millionth time because of this pot roast. Thank you, Pioneer Woman. You will need salt, pepper, beef broth or stock, four carrots, two onions, one large or two medium potatoes, fresh or dry rosemary and thyme, olive oil, a two or three pound chuck roast, and garlic. Heat a large pot or skillet over medium-high heat. Pour a nice coating of olive oil into the pan, and let it heat up. Meanwhile, salt your roast. Liberally. Using whatever salt is available to you. (I used Mediterranean Sea Salt in a grinder. But regular salt is good, too.) Next, apply pepper. Liberally. Better if it's fresh ground, but regular black pepper is fine. It's all good in the hood. Here's my master plan for doing this whole salt-and-pepper dance: Unwrap your roast, season the top, and then slip a plate on top. Invert, remove the styrofoam plate from the now top of the roast, and season that side. Voila! Easy as pie. Grab your onions. Slice and peel. Mmm. By now, that olive oil is probably starting to smoke. Good. Grab your tongs (I cannot emphasize the importance of tongs in this recipe), and stick your onions in the pot. Oooh...sizzle. Let them brown for about a minute, then flip. Let the other side brown a little. Remove your onions and put them on a plate. Ignore them for the next five minutes. That'll teach the onions to sizzle so loudly. Chop your carrots, and toss them in the pot. Let them brown, and pull them out. Show them the same coldness you're giving the onions. Slide the roast into the pan. We're going to sear it on each side. Let the roast get nice and yummy brown, then flip. Both sides should get nice and brown. Shouldn't take more than a minute on each side. Then pull it out and put it back on its plate. Now we're going to deglaze the pan. Mmm. Pour about a cup of beef broth into the pan, take your whisk, and scrape all that nice yummy brown stuff off the bottom of the pan. Ooooh....so nice. At this point, it's important to note that I diverge from the original recipe and photos. I think I made the right choice. (Tim thinks so too.) So here's what I did. I pulled out my Pyrex casserole dish and an oven bag. I stuck my roast in the bag, put the bag in the dish, and carried on. If you don't have an oven bag, and your pot is oven safe, just put the roast back in the pot. Pour the pan juices into the bag (very carefully), and arrange the onions and carrots. At this point, peel and chop your potatoes, and stick them in there as well. Pour in some more broth so that the meat is about half covered. Take a couple sprigs of rosemary and submerge them in the juices. Do the same with a couple sprigs of thyme. Put your roast in a 325F oven. If it's 3ish pounds, it'll need to cook for 3 hours. For a 4-5 pound roast, it'll need 4 hours. Let it go for two hours and fifteen minutes at 325F, and then reduce it to 300F for the last 45 minutes. I believe the phrase Tim used was, "that meat just dissolved." I gotta admit, I thought it was pretty good, too.

The boring stuff: Serves two with leftovers or three-four with no leftovers.
Difficulty: 2.

Takes 20-30 minutes of prep time and 3-4 hours of cook time.

Postscript 4/8/8: I made this recipe on the 31st....and Tim proposed on the 5th. So if you're looking to get hitched, might I recommend this recipe? It worked for me!

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