Well, it has been a while since you heard from me, yes?
If you are reading this and it is still summer, and it is getting hot, like it is now, you are probably more concerned with finding cool things to eat, cool meals to cook and cool places to hide, instead of slaving in a hot kitchen to make a hearty batch of pot roast. But then again…if you have AC, or if it is cooling off for you at night, you might just be in the mood for some beef, gravy and potatoes, like my hubby is. Meat and gravy-always sounds good to him.
Yes, there are a million pot roast recipes out there on the web. But if my family wants to make the dish that I serve, this is the only place to find it.
Sadly, I did not get a picture of the finished dish, sorry. We were too busy serving and eating it up. (slurp, slop, burp!)
Old Fashioned Pot Roast with Homemade Gravy
- 1 -3 1/2 pounds or so of Boneless Chuck Roast, cut into 3 or 4 pieces
- 1 or 2 onions (depending on the size. The Costco onions-the-size-of-a-soccer-ball or the 99 cent store tiny ones)
- 2 garlic cloves
- herbs of choice (I use garden rosemary and thyme)
- tomato paste
- beef AND chicken broth, about 1 1/2 cups each, give or take
- salt and pepper
- vegetable, coconut or olive oil
- carrots, potatoes, sweet potatoes or other root vegetable of choice
You will need a large sturdy dutch oven pot, preferably an iron one that holds heat in well and is not as likely to burn on the bottom. If you end up baking this, the burning is not as much an issue. I am cooking this stove top this time around, because it is hot out, like I think one of Gods angels in charge of baking heavenly bread went and left the global oven door open! Hello, close the door thank you!
Heat up some oil in your wonderful sturdy Le Creuset , le kirkland or other dutch oven. Salt the meat. When the dutch oven is good and hot, (if you put your hand over it and it shrivels up black, then its hot enough), add the oil and after about 30 seconds, add the meat. It should sizzle and pop. “spizzzz!”
Leave it a good few minutes to brown. Dont crowd the meat. If you are making a lot, brown a couple of pieces and when done, brown the rest. Too much meat in a pan gives you a gray simmered meat instead of a crisp brown meat. When one side is browned, turn it over and brown the other side. I use tongs. When done, remove to a plate and brown any other pieces you might need.
I do not flour the meat before browning. So don’t. It doesn’t need it.
Take the meat out and you will see nice brown bits on the bottom. Its aaaallllll good. Now I add in the onions that are rough chopped. Not diced. Not tiny.Rough, largish pieces. Stir these up a bit. Add in the diced garlic cloves. Now the tomato paste, about a tablespoon. Stir it around and inhale the wonderful magic.
Now some wine. I do not measure but just pour some in. If I were to guess, I’d say about 1/3 of a cup. I use a red, but a white would work too. Whatever you have on hand or in the fridge left over from that great dinner the other night. If you dont use wine, then just dont.
Stir it up again. The wine will reduce a bit and loosen up some of those brown bits.
Broth. This is the time to add the broth. I think all beef is a bit strong so I combine them. Not to mention that I usually have a box of both open in the fridge at any given time. I really should put dates on those things when I open them.I won’t. But I should. How much broth? I don’t cover the meat, but I make sure it is at least half way up the sides of the meat.
Add in the herbs. If not fresh ones, dried ones will do just fine. A bit more salt and pepper. Now…
If you are stove topping it, just set the flame to low, making sure it reaches a simmer, then leave it alone for a couple of hours.
If you are letting the oven do the work, set the oven temperature depending on how much time you have. 325 for 3-4 hours is good. It allows a more all surrounding heat. You could even set it for 300 degrees. If you are in a hurry, 350 for 2 1/2 to 3. But stove top is fastest.
Now go work in the garden, check your email, do laundry, watch a bread video. (What? You don’t watch bread made videos? Whassup?) Or do something else while your meat relaxes and tenderizes. The wine helps to tenderize the meat. If you are not using wine, add a tablespoon of vinegar of some kind to it. This will have the same effect.
An hour before you calculate the meat to be done (2 1/2-3 1/2 hours, depending on the way you are making it, stove top is fastest, and how large your meat is to begin with), you need to peel the potatoes and carrots. Any other vegetables you want to add? Go ahead and prep it. Celery root? Turnips? Whatever makes you happy.
Lift the lid carefully! Lots of steam will be poofing up. HOT stem. (Is there such a thing as cold steam?) Check the liquids. There may be more of it, coming from the meat. Or less, if the lid allows steam out. If it is dry, add more broth to it, enough to steam the vegetables nicely, about an inch deep or more. But not enough to cover the meat or anything that drastic.
Put the vegetables in and put the lid back on. Let is simmer gently, steaming the vegetables. Check them with a fork after about 1/2 an hour. It may take more depending on how large the pieces are, if they were chilled, and what kind of veggies you added.
When the vegetables are fork tender and the meat is so tender it tears apart as you pull it out to put on a platter, then it is time to make the gravy. Remove all meat and vegetables with a slotted spoon. Put the pot on the stove with a medium heat to bring the broth left in the pot to a simmer. In a small bowl or a measuring cup, put about 2 tablespoons of flour (or cornstarch or tapioca flour or arrowroot powder) and whisk it with enough water to make a paste. Put this paste into the simmering broth and stir it in to make the gravy. If it does not thicken up enough, make some more paste and add that too. It should only take a couple of minutes to thicken.
Perhaps you have a large serving platter Aunt Martha gave you and you want to show it off, not is the time to get it out. Place the pieces of beef in the center, vegetables around the edges. a little gravy drizzled over the meat with a gravy boat on the side. (Or a measuring cup).
And since I did not get a picture of the finished product, here is breakfast….