Sunday, March 16, 2014

A Tale of Two Pot Roasts - Low and Slow in the Oven

This is a tale of two pot roasts in two distinct ways. Here is the first way.

I am thrilled that I have actually made a successful pot roast thanks to Pioneer Woman's "Perfect Pot Roast" as opposed to my previous pot roast failure. When I made a successful pot roast Ree Drummond's way my husband made at least two comments about how much he loved it which was highly unusual for pot roast. Wahoo. Thanks Ree! Now that I had a successful pot roast under my belt I decided to make it for our church's pot luck.  I knew one pot roast wouldn't be enough. I decided to make two but I didn't have two identical pots.

Here is the tale of two pot roasts in the second sense.  I decided to take this opportunity to experiment. I made one pot roast in a stainless steal pot and the other in an enameled cast iron pot to see if I could see or taste a difference.

I have never really had a successful pot roast story until now.







Pot Roast - Low and Slow in the Oven
(Slightly adapted from Pioneer Women's "Perfect Pot Roast")

This is a recipe for 1 pot roast - I doubled it for my experiment
1 (3-5) lb. pot roast
salt and pepper
olive oil
1 dozen baby carrots
1 onion, halved and cut in thirds root to stem
3 - 4 cups of beef broth, homemade beef stock, or a combination (I use a combination)
2 cloves of garlic, sliced thin
1 bay leaf
2 - 3 sprigs of fresh rosemary
2 - 3 sprigs of fresh thyme
cornstarch, optional

1. Pre-heat the oven to 275 degrees. Set your pot roast out on the counter and pat dry with a paper towel.



2. Get all the other ingredients in place.



3. Cut onion in half and then in thirds from root to stem.



4. Heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil or just enough to slightly coat the entire bottom of a dutch oven over medium-high heat.



5. Add onions on a cut side down. After a minute or two use tongs to flip to the other cut side. After another minute or two toss the pan and let sear for another minute or two. When you have a good amount of light browning remove the onions from the pot and set aside. Both pots caramelized the onions equally well.



6. Add a dash more olive oil if it looks reduced. Add carrots and toss every two minutes for six minutes. Remove the onions with tongs and keep to the side with the onions. The enameled cast iron pot did a slightly better job of browning the onions.



7. Add a dash more olive oil if it looks reduced, just enough to have the entire bottom of the pot slightly covered in oil. Generously salt and pepper both sides of the roasts. Sear front for two minutes, back for two minutes, and each side for a minute each.







8. Set browned pot roast aside.



9. All that browning of the onions, carrots, and meat equals flavors. The browning left on the bottom of the pot is flavor that we need to keep. Add 1 cup of beef broth or stock to the pot, as it heats up work on scraping the brown bits and work it into the broth. Let the broth reduce by half.





10. Add a cup of beef stock if you have it for a more complex sauce. If you don't have homemade stock skip this step and add more broth later. I'm only adding the stock at this point to melt it from a gelatin to a liquid state.



11. Place the browned pot roast in the center of the pot. Surround the roast with the browned carrots and onions. Decorate the roast with garlic, bay leaf, thyme sprigs and rosemary sprigs. Add more beef broth if necessary so that liquid comes half way up the side of the roasts.





12. Place the covered roast into the oven for 3 hours. Don't open the oven. Do not peek until 3 hours have gone by.



13. Remove the pot roast from the oven and do the "pull apart test" with a fork. If the meat pulls away easily with a fork it's done.



14. If the roast is pull apart tender pull apart bite sized pieces away from any fat or gristle. It was at this point I noticed a big difference in the roasts. The roast in the cast enameled pot was significantly more tender than the one in the stainless steel pot. I actually ended up cooking the one in the stainless steel pot for an additional 45 minutes and it still wasn't as tender as the one in the cast enameled pot. The fat and bones are on the left and the pot roast pieces are on the right.



Note: you can serve it as is with the roasted vegetables and a little au jus spooned over (my favorite). Or, you could also serve the pot roast, veggies and au jus over mashed potatoes, noodles, polenta, or smashed cauliflower potatoes. YUM!



Here is another optional serving method. I mentioned at the beginning of this post that I was serving the pot roast for our church pot luck. For these church pot lucks I try to bring my dish in a crock pot because it's easier to find an outlet than to try to find room for a dish to keep warm in an oven. I knew the pot roast would do better in a crock pot with a gravy. If you would like the pot roast and vegetables in a a gravy you can do the following.

15. Pour the cooking liquid into a fat separator.



16. Pour the cooking liquid without the fat back into the pot and bring to a simmer.



17. Add 1 heaping tablespoon of cornstarch for each cup of liquid. Wait. Don't add the cornstarch directly into the broth. Create a slurry with some water before you add it to the broth.  Add the slurry to the broth to create a gravy. Adjust the seasoning adding more salt and pepper to taste.



18. Return the pot roast and vegetables back to the pot.



19. To serve the pot roast at the church pot luck I poured the pot roast, vegetables, and gravy into a crock pot. I placed the covered crock pot in the refrigerator over night (without the heating element) until the next day when I could heat it up at church. I made "Crock Pot Mashed Potatoes" to go with this "Pot Roast - Low and Slow in the Oven.

P.S. I didn't have any left overs.


1 comment:

  1. Looks yummy. What's not to love about pot roast especially on cold wintery days? m

    ReplyDelete

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