Tuesday, March 16, 2010

PW's Perfect Roast

I'm a pot roast kind of gal.
I've eaten it all my life.
Lots of varieties with different vegetables, cuts of meat and consistency.
I've also tried just as many recipes in my search to find the perfect pot roast.

I'm more of a basic pot roast kind of gal than I am a fancy schmancy pot roast kind of gal.
When I make pot roast, I make the basic recipe that my mama makes.
But, while my mom makes a dang good pot roast every time she cooks it, mine is hit and miss at best. 
Two things I always do are underseason and dry the roast out.

I had just about given up on a perfect but simple pot roast until I saw PW's recipe in her cookbook and also reread the pot roast post on her blog.

First thing PW convinced me was to let go of all my hangups about the fat running through a chuck roast.  Turns out this "marbeling" makes the meat tender...who knew?

Hello, Chuck, welcome to my home.

The next thing PW explained was that Kosher salt will stick to my roast better than table salt.
Didn't know this either.

Then, PW said to liberally season my Chuck on both sides with the Kosher salt.
Mom, just don't look at this picture.

Then PW said do the same thing with pepper.

Next, PW said to get out my dutch oven, put some olive oil in the pan and heat that oven up.

She might as well have told me to eat a Baskin Robbins chocolate chip ice cream cone.
I'm not an ice cream person...except when it comes to Baskin Robbins chocolate chip.
I love my LeCruset dutch oven as much as I love Baskin Robbins chocolate chip ice cream!

Come on out, Le friend and let's make a magic pot roast, shall we?

Then, PW said to cut two onions from root to tip, cut off the top and bottom and peel the halves.

I placed the onion halves face down in the hot olive oil to brown.

When they were brown on both sides, I removed them from the pan and put them on a plate.

Next, I took 6-8 washed, unpeeled carrots and chopped them into chunks.
I was a little worried about the "unpeeled part," but trust me, you can't even tell.

Then the carrots go right into the pan in the same oil as the onions.

As PW says, the point is not to cook them...you're just trying to brown them.

I put the seasoned pot roast in the pan to brown just like the onions and carrots.  

After just a few minutes, I turned the seasoned pot roast over on the other side and browned it as well.

After I browned the roast on both sides and the  ends, I removed it from the pot and placed it on a plate.

Another thing PW said for me to get over is thinking I need to wash this stuff out of the bottom of the pan.  I guess I've always thought of this stuff as nothing but an almost burnt pan.  But, turns out it's really good stuff that also adds flavor!

Using about a cup of beef stock, I "deglazed" the pan with a whisk.

After I stirred up all those good bits on the bottom of the pan, I put the meat back into the pot.

Then, I poured enough beef stock in the pot to cover about 1/2 of the meat.

I put the browned onions in on the sides of the pot and the carrots on top.

Now, here's where I think the flavor secret lies.  PW uses fresh thyme and rosemary, but I didn't have any on hand.  It's on my list of things to start growing this spring.   

I used about 1 tsp. each of the dried rosemary and thyme, making sure that the herbs reach the juice so they can meld with the flavors in the meat.

I put the lid on the dutch oven and placed it inside a 275 degree oven.

Another habit PW encouraged me to break is the "check it" habit.  Once I put the covered pot in the oven, I didn't even look at it until I had given it one hour per pound of meat.  I usually cook anywhere between 4-5 lbs. of pot roast because we like to eat roast beef sandwiches the next day. 
This is what my pot roast looked like when I first opened the lid after 4 hours.

This pot roast is fork tender.
And, let me tell you this.
I love carrots. Raw.
I have NEVER liked cooked carrots.
Until now.
The flavor in these carrots is out of this world!!

The first time I made PW's pot roast I also made her mashed potatoes (butter and cream cheese...Holy Smokes!!)
This time I had some fresh peas my mom gave me from her freezer, corn on the cob and biscuits.

And another delicious PW recipe, apple dumplings, for dessert.



  1. Great, now I'm hungry for pot roast at 7:20 AM. My husband makes a mean pot roast and it is oh, so, good...I think I will be sure to teach my daughter to marry a man that can cook:-)

  2. And to think I just bought a chuck roast on Monday! Hmmm...and PW's cookbook is sitting on my end table! I am glad you shared your experience making her roast, because now I am going to fix it for supper tonight! =)

  3. You are the second person this week to recommend this recipe so despite all my past pot roast failures I'm thinking I need to try again!