The first thing required for a good pot roast is a good cut of meat. It is a mistake to get the absolutely cheapest hunk of beef that you can find. Pot roast can be made of a less expensive cut of meat but in order for it to have amazing flavor it still needs to be a quality piece of meat. Organic grass fed, black angus…. go for the best you can afford. You will reap the benefit of more flavor, more tenderness, and more servings since you will have less waste. Plan on 2 generous servings per pound of meat.
Be sure to get the meat out of the fridge and allow it to stand at room temperature for about a half hour. This will help it to cook more evenly. Put your kosher salt/pepper/turbinado sugar/herb mixture on the meat and rub it in. During the time the meat is coming to room temperature the flavors will be being absorbed by the meat.
O.k..once you know how to caramelize the pot roast you are well on your way to a perfect pot roast. I like to use a flavored oil to sear the meat and caramelize it. One of my favorites for pot roast is to sear in a white truffle oil to give just a hint of mushroom flavor, but you can use a basil oil, chipotle oil, or garlic oil. Using a heavy pot will make the whole thing cook more evenly which means more tender, more flavorful meat.
Once you have the meat seared and caramelized you will want to add :
- 2 onions, peeled and cut in fourths
- 3 cloves of garlic, peeled. By leaving them whole the flavor will be more delicate
- 4 carrots, peeled and sliced
- 4 stalks of celery, left whole
- Liquid to come about 1/4 way up the meat – the liquid can be red wine, beer, water, beef broth or V-8. You can even do a combination of several of those.
Now, bring the liquid to a simmer and put the cover on the pot. Leave simmering until the meat is fork tender. Yeah, you can use a crockpot but I like doing this on the stove better. I just think the finished meat has a better texture. This is going to take about four hours.
You can either serve the juice thickened or au jus. If you want to thicken it that is easily done. Just remove the meat and vegetables, add three tablespoons of cornstarch (organic, please) and stir until the juice thickens. You can also puree the vegetables into the juice to thicken it.
Hey, pot roast is nothing if it isn’t versatile!