My mother made magnificent pot roast. She'd haul out the big cast iron dutch oven and the Crisco and she'd brown the heck out of that roast. It'd have so much flavor. Potatoes, onions and carrots. And, gravy. The most important part, gravy. I love good gravy. Then, along came the cheater's way to make pot roast. Toss everything in the crockpot with a can of cream of mushroom soup, the same can filled with red wine and a packet of dried onion soup. It was nowhere as good as Mom's but it was a LOT quicker to make.
Every once in a while, I'd make the real thing. But, more often than not, I'd make the cheater's version. But, no matter what, pot roast always included potatoes, onions and carrots. Nothing else. So, I was intrigued when my friend, Liz, posted a recipe for a pot roast with tomatoes and mushrooms. It sounded good and I liked the idea of trying something different yet still comfort food. Nine times out of ten, Connie'll choose any other protein over beef. When I gave him a choice of this pot roast versus a roasted chicken, he opted for the pot roast. Interesting.
Most weekend days I'm at the office until 4 or 5. Weekdays, I'm lucky to escape by 6:30. This recipe takes a good four hours to make. It was going to be tough to find a day to make it. As it turned out, one of my long-time clients passed away. Her calling was on a Sunday from 2-5. We wanted to get there before the crowd so we could actually spend some time with her kids - one of whom lives out of town so I'd never met him. As an aside, meeting wonderful folks and being able to help them is absolutely the best part of my job. Losing them is the worst. Especially when they're as special as Pat was.
On the way back from the calling (midwest speak for wake for those of you in the east,) we stopped at the grocery and I picked up a chuck roast. Since Liz is a fantastic cook, I followed her recipe almost to the letter. When it came time to turn the liquid into a sauce, I thought it needed a little oomph. So, I added the balance of the cans of chicken broth and beef broth. Then, I added some of the black truffle salt she'd given me and thickened it with a bit of corn starch. Talk about good. This pot roast was incredible. Now, I'll be rotating. Mom's one time. Liz's the next... Here's a link to Liz's blog: That Skinny Chick can Bake. Please go check out her recipes :-)
Liz's Pot Roast
3 - 3 1/2 lb chuck roast
salt and pepper
medium onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
8 oz button mushrooms, quartered
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 t sugar
1/2 c beef broth
1/2 c chicken broth
1/2 c dry red wine
1 sprig thyme
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes with juice
1 1/2 c water (or use the rest of the canned broths)
1 sprig rosemary
Pat the chuck roast dry. Sprinkle it with salt and pepper. In a Dutch oven, heat a tablespoon of olive oil. When it is shimmering and a drop of water tossed in sizzles, add the pot roast. Brown it well on both sides. Remember what Alton Brown has taught us - when the roast releases easily, it's brown enough. Remove the pot roast to a plate.
See the wonderful fond that's left in the bottom of the pan?
If there's not much oil left in the pan, add a bit more. Put the carrots, onion, celery and mushrooms in the pan.
Saute them until they're soft.
Add the garlic and sugar and cook for about a minute.
Mix the tomatoes with the other vegetables. Put the roast back in the pan on top of the vegetables.
Add the beef broth, chicken broth, red wine, thyme and water or balance of the broth. Once the liquid has come to a simmer, remove the dutch oven from the heat and cover the top with foil. Put the lid over the foil and place in the oven at 300. Cook the roast for 3 1/2 to 4 hours. Flip the meat every 30 minutes and baste it with the broth.
When the roast is very tender and falling apart, remove the meat and vegetables from the pan. Add the rosemary.
About that time, George came in to see if there were any treats for a cat. He got a bite of meat, said thank you very much and I'll see you later.
Put the dutch oven back on the stovetop and simmer the liquid until it's reduced to about 1 1/2 cups. We added some black truffle salt and thickened the broth with some cornstarch.
To serve, the meat can either be sliced or shredded into large chunks. Discard the thyme and rosemary sprigs. Great served over mashed potatoes or noodles. We used roasted red potatoes.
adapted from That Skinny Chick can Bake!