Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Rosemary Thyme Pot Roast

The weather is getting colder, I finally replaced the tank tops in my closet with sweaters, the pretty leaves are off the trees and in my yard, and my bed is now graced with flannel sheets.  Winter is officially right around the corner.  Every year I think to myself that global warming is really going to kick in this winter and it will never get below 40 degrees.  No luck so far. 

But with winter's inevitable return comes warming, wonderful, comfort food.  The menu in my kitchen is definitely seasonal and meals I wouldn't dream of making in my shorts and flip flops become staples when I am snuggled up in my sweats and fuzzy slippers.  Pot roast is one of those meals.  There is something irresistible about the aroma and warmth of a roast this time of year.  And because everyone is running around like chickens with their heads cut off during the holidays, the fact that pot roast is easy is just an added bonus.

I have several different recipes I use for pot roast.  And most of the time I don't follow them.  But I like to have a guide.  Recently I tried a new guide because I didn't have some of the ingredients suggested by my other guides.  I still ended up just throwing in what I felt like.  But I will pass on my pot roast guide to you.  Do what you like with it!

Cut up some onions, carrots, and potatoes.  I know some folks serve roast with mashed potatoes, but I like to just include the potatoes in the roast.  That way the whole meal cooks all at once.  To get a nice taste to the onions and carrots, brown them all in some olive oil before cooking.  You don't want to actually cook the veggies through at this point.  So just brown them. 
You might notice that I did my browning in a skillet.  I don't have a Dutch oven or an oven-safe pot so my "pot" roast is actually a "crock pot" roast.  Same difference. 
I used an arm roast because it's what I had.  I'm not an expert on cuts of meat and I won't pretend to be.  But the arm roast worked for me.  I trimmed off as much fat as I could before cooking it.  And that yielded some nice big chunks.  I know that the fat is what makes meat tender and juicy and delicious.  But it is also what makes gives Americans muffin tops and heart attacks.  So I trimmed it off.  When you have the meat trimmed, sprinkle it with salt and pepper, then sear the roast in olive oil.  Again, we aren't cooking the meat, just browning the outside.
To add some extra flavor to the roast, deglaze the pot, or skillet.  This releases any stuck on pieces of flavored goodness.  Just heat some beef stock on high and whisk away.  Stop to take a picture if you must.
When everything is ready, either place it all back in the pot or in a crock pot.  If you are cooking a crock pot, set it on low heat.  Sprinkle with the rosemary and thyme.  
Now just let 'er roast!  When the roast is finished, remove from the pot and slice up that tender meaty goodness.  Serve it with your veggies and some pan drippings.  And rejoice that there is at least one benefit of cold weather.

Rosemary Thyme Pot Roast
2 Tbsp olive oil
3-5 pound roast
2 onions, cut in half
7 carrots, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 lb red potatoes, cut into bite sized pieces
2 cups beef stock
1 tsp dried rosemary
1 tsp dried thyme
Preheat oven to 275 degrees.
Heat a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and heat.  Place the onions in the pot and brown on both sides, about a minute per side.  Remove onions from pan and cut them into quarters. 
Add carrots to the pan and brown them for about one minute.  
Remove the carrots from the skillet and add another tablespoon of oil.  Salt and pepper both sides of the meat.  Place the meat in the pot and sear it, about a minute per side.  Remove from pot.
With the burner on high, deglaze the pot by adding one cup of the beef stock, whisking constantly. 
When most of the bits are loosened, place the meat back in the pot and add the carrots, onions, and potatoes.  Pour enough beef stock into the pot to cover the meat halfway.  Sprinkle with rosemary and thyme.  Cover the pot and roast for 3-5 hours.
When the roast is done, remove the meat to a cutting board and slice against the grain.  Serve with pan juices.

Recipe adapted from the Pioneer Woman Cooks

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