As always, I'll be honest with you guys. I am not pot roast's biggest fan. Perhaps I've carried this preconceived notion that most pot roasts were prepared by our grandmother's accompanied with a thick goopy gravy over mushy potatoes and carrots. At least that's how I remember viewing the dish through the eyes of my childhood.
It wasn't until recently that I fell back into adoration with pot roast after chatting with my future aunt-in-law - is that the correct terminology these days? - Reenie broadened my pot roast horizons and that's why I'm here today, sharing with you her simple yet unbelievably savory roast recipe. Hands down this is the best roast I've ever whipped together and it's no wonder why it has become a staple within my winter cooking repertoire.
But who are we kidding, I'll probably make this during the summer too... It's just that good.
So, exactly why do I love this dish? It's easy and a big bang for the buck. I picked up this chuck roast for $37.00 - it's nearly 5 pounds and will sufficiently feed us for a few days after the initial meal. If Barrett and I plan on serving the leftovers for lunch, that's roughly $6.16 per meal. That's a blue ribbon in my book.
Okay, enough of my rambling. Let me show you how I made this pot roast perfection.
Here's what you'll need:
4-5lbs chuck roast with a good amount of marbling... also known as fat... also known as flavor.
Salt + Pepper
A dutch oven or an oven safe pot with lid
1) Reenie's secret to a delectable pot roast begins in the prep stage. First, you'll remove the roast from the packaging and place in a foil lined baking sheet. Then, salt and pepper both sides. Don't be stingy - it's a large piece of meat that needs the flavor from the seasonings.
2) Next, allow the roast to chill in the refrigerator - see what I did there? Cooking pun. You can let the roast rest for upwards to an hour, but if you're running short on time, 30 minutes will suffice. This allows the salt to form a crust which helps with the searing process.
Pro tip: this can also be done with steaks before throwing them on the grill or skillet. You'll thank me later.
3) Once you are ready to sear, pour 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil into the bottom of a deep dutch oven and heat to medium-high. When the oil is hot, place the roast into the oil and DON'T TOUCH IT. Heh, sorry, I'm passionate about a good sear. When the meat no longer sticks to the bottom of the pan, then you're ready to flip using solid sized tongs. Look for a golden brown exterior. The searing process is an important step to lock in all the flavor of the meat.
4) Now that you've successfully seared all the flavor into the roast, remove from the heat and cover the dutch oven with its lid. Place into a 300F degree oven for 3 to 3.5 hours. Cooking time really depends on the weight of the meat itself, but you want the roast to be fork tender as you will pull it apart once time has elapsed.
Now. Here's where party lines will stand divided: to gravy or not to gravy. I am team no gravy because I personally think it takes away from the flavor of the roast itself. Instead, when the roast is ready, I pull apart the meat using two forks and let it soak up the juices at the bottom of the dutch oven. The fancy French word for this is "au jus," and quite literally means "with juice."
I call it goooooodness.
Serve your roast in whichever way you fancy. I spooned the goodness over mashed sweet potatoes for this particular meal, but you could certainly go a more traditional route with "normal" mashed potatoes, roasted root vegetables such as parsnips or butternut squash, or even mushrooms sautéed in the juices of the roast. Another variation that I love? Shred the roast and mix into your favored jarred tomato pasta sauce over medium-low heat. Let the flavors simmer for a bit, then spoon over pasta. YUM. It's a fool proof recipe that is insanely easy to prepare, versatile and packed with rich flavors.
So, without further ado, enjoy your pot roast and if you're whipping this culinary wonder up in your kitchen tonight, let me know how your roast turns out.