Friday, January 22, 2010

Pot Roast

Back to Chef Keller soon, promise.  We've had a busy week, for us at least, and the Keller recipes take a good deal of planning and organization. SO... I decided to cook a pot roast. Hello everyone, meet my friend Chuck. He is a roast. He will be our dinner for the next few nights.

And here he is with his friends:

That's thyme, garlic, bay leaves, salt, pepper, canola oil, Ruby Port and Madeira wine. Most classy chefs use a Cabernet Sauvignon or a Pinot Noir.. but not me... I am different. I love the way beef and Ruby Port play together the Port adds a sweetness and a depth of flavor that enhances the beef's natural flavor. And just FYI the only reason the Madeira is there is because I didn't have a full cup of Port in the bottle and Madeira shares many of the characteristics of Ruby Port. Use whatcha got! That's my motto.
First thing to do is dry the beef with paper towels; let it come to room temperature. Then generously season both sides with salt and freshly ground pepper. I use sea salt for this. In a heavy pan bring canola or other oil up to high heat. I use canola because of it's high smoke point and I LOVE/HATE my smoke detector... Love it as a silent sentinel. Hate it when it's a banshee screaming...YOU"RE BURNING SOMETHING which usually means I am searing meat. Sear each side for at least 5 minutes.. don't touch it! Let it go the entire 5 minutes on each side

When it is good and browned on both sides, take the meat out of the pan and pour off excess fat. Then pour in 1.5 c liquid (mine was port, madeira and some water) and deglaze the pan scraping up the brown bits on the bottom. Next add your aromatics. A couple of bay leaves, a couple of thyme sprigs, 2-3 cloves of garlic smushed and peeled and I also had some shallots on hand so I sliced them up as well.

When the wine has stopped sizzling throw in the seasonings and then lay the meat on top

I have often expressed how important it is to plan and have all ingredients ready...mise en place!! However, ahem, today I was not entirely organized. Because I had roasted a chicken at 450 degrees the other day, I needed to set my oven to the Clean cycle. When you want to prepare a pot roast you do not want to see this

It's that "Door Locked" thing that gets in the way. So I simmered on the stove top. When the Oven Decides To Unlock.. put the roast in, covered, at 300.  Ideally you should have it in the oven for 2-3 hours on low heat to break down the connective tissue and tenderize the meat; it's the indirect heat of the oven environment that aids in this process. I didn't not have that much time due to the "Door Locked" issue. I had about an hour of oven time. In the meantime prepare your veggies.

Give them all a shower and in the case of the potatoes, a scrub, and chop them into pieces roughly equal in size so that they will cook at the same rate. I like to roast the veggies separately to keep their unique flavor. A little caramelization also brings out the sweetness in the carrots and onions. Feel free to use your favorite winter veggies... turnips, parsnips.. etc Once they are cut up, toss them in canola oil (high smoke point) and some sea salt or kosher salt, and some freshly ground black pepper.

Spread them out on a baking sheet.. don't OCD on the single layer, but spread them out.

When the meat is tender, take the pot out of the oven, place the meat on a resting platter. Deglaze the the brown spots in the pot with wine or water and get all that good flavor!  Meanwhile reset the oven temp to 450 and put the veggies in.

It isn't a pretty picture, but it's a ton of flavor! Once that's all done, strain the liquid into a fat separator and pour it back into the pot (minus fat). Reduce the liquid to sauce consistency (coats the back of a spoon) .

Slice up your roast removing the fatty parts and slice against the grain. throw the slices into the sauce/gravy mixture and toss to coat. When the veggies are tender pull them out and serve it up!

This is certainly not a photogenic dish. No elegant presentation's pot roast after all. I wish I could say this was the best pot roast ever! But.. it wasn't. The flavor was all there but the meat suffered from it's time on the stovetop. It would have been much better if I had thought ahead and set the oven on the cleaning cycle, say.. in the morning. So, yet another example of why planning and prep is important! Hope you try this sometime, it's great for a weekend meal, only about 30 min of your time, with 3 hours in the oven.

I'm hitting the books looking for the next Keller dish.

See you soon.


  1. I have received a couple of questions regarding the fat separator. It's basically a vessel with a spout coming from the bottom. It's pictured in the Chicken Stock for the Soul post earlier this month. Cheers!

  2. thats a meal for 2 or one cal lol gj sally