Have you ever had that experience where you smell something, and a person or a place pops into your mind? Smells are a really good prompter of memory. One of my favorite smell memories is walking into my grandma's kitchen when she was cooking a pot roast.
Grandma was a great cook.
Of course, it wasn't just about the good meal I knew was coming but the whole 'I love grandma's house' thing.
I'm willing to bet you've got some good grandma memories, too.
I still love a good pot roast, and we all need everyday recipes that work consistently and aren't fussy so we can spend more time with our families.
I've got one here for you....
This is a pretty simple recipe that uses grass-fed roasts which need to be braised (basically, cooked in liquid). In other words, the less expensive parts of the steer which will save you money.
I've adapted this recipe from Lynne Curry's Pure Beef cookbook (Running Press Publishers, 2012). I decided to add garlic and cooking sherry to change the flavor profile. The sauce I got was delicious! I didn't even have to make gravy; just spooned it over the shredded beef and vegetables at the table.
Now...if only I could have found a way to generate a smell that would make the multiplication tables pop right into my children's heads, I could have made a million bucks.
FIT FOR A KING POT ROAST
1 (3 to 3.5 lb) boneless Pasture Nectar Farm chuck roast
Kosher salt, some pepper
3 T. oil (preferably coconut oil or butter)
1 medium onion, chopped or cut into 1/2-inch wedges
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 T. flour (your choice of gluten-free OK)
3 c. beef stock with the fat if you have it (I used poultry and lamb)
1 T. Worcestershire sauce or organic shoyu
1 t. salt
1/4 t. black pepper
1/2 t. dried thyme leaves (or 1 t. fresh)
2 bay leaves
1/4 c. cooking sherry (the alcohol will burn off)
3 large carrots, peeled
2 lbs potatoes (or add other root veggies as you like such as parsnips)
Let the roast come to room temp for a couple of hours.
Preheat the oven to 275 degrees. Pat the roast dry and season both sides with kosher salt and pepper. Melt the oil in a large Dutch oven or oven-ready pot over medium-high heat, and sear the roast on both sides when the oil starts to shimmer. This gives another depth of flavor to your finished meal.
Give each side about 4 or 5 minutes at least. You want a nice deep brown color but you don't want to cook the meat inside very far.
When seared, remove the roast to a plate. Reduce heat to medium and add the onion and garlic; cook, stirring, until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes or so. Now add your flour and stir until it's absorbed.
Stir in the stock and Worcestershire or shoyu sauce. Use your spoon to scrape those yummy browned bits off the bottom of your pan for added flavor.
When it comes to a boil, add the salt, pepper, thyme, cooking sherry and bay leaves along with the beef plus the juices from the plate it was on. Don't waste any of that good taste!
Cover the pot with a good-fitting lid and put it in the oven for 2-1/2 hours.
Cut your vegetables as you like (I like to cut the potatoes into 1- or 2-inch pieces, and the carrots into 1 inch pieces, and slice the small ends. I think smaller pieces take up the flavor of the sauce better without giving you that 'pot roast vegetable' taste; you do remember that taste, right?)
Turn the roast over and put the vegetables in the liquid around the meat. Cover again, and bake for another 1-1/2 to 2 hours, or until the beef shreds easily with a fork, and the vegetables are very tender.
See that great sauce? You can separate the natural chunks of the roast or shred it. We served it in a bowl, like stew, or you can put the meat and vegetables on a platter, and serve the sauce on the side.
Some reserved sauce over rice makes a great side dish for another meal.
We have plenty of chuck roasts in the farm store right now. Our rump and sirloin tip roasts would work, too.
Feel free to forward this to a friend, and let me know how it turns out for you!