Quintessential Comfort Food
Nothing says comfort food like a perfectly tender pot roast with a pile of mashed potatoes. It’s a staple in my fall/winter cooking repertoire, and once you’ve tried it, I’m convinced it’ll become a regular meal at your house too. Browning the beef is what develops the wonderfully rich, deep flavors in this recipe, so be sure not to rush this process.
Perfect Pot Roast
- 3 to 4 pounds beef chuck roast
- 2 cups flour
- Bouquet garni of fresh thyme, rosemary, bay leaf and parsley
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 5 garlic cloves, peeled
- 1 cup tomato puree
- 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
- 4 cups beef stock
- 3 yellow onions, sliced
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 3 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
- 1 medium leek, white and light green part diced
- 2 ribs celery, diced
- 1/2 cup fennel, chopped
- 2/3 cup rutabaga, chopped
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
Heat a large oven-proof roasting pan over medium heat on the stove. Add the olive oil.
Season the beef with salt and ground black pepper. Place the flour in a large plastic bag. Dredge the roast in the bag of flour, shaking it free of any excess flour. Discard the extra flour.
Brown the beef in the oil, about 5 minutes per side. Remove meat from pan and set aside.
Add the onions, garlic and bouquet garni of herbs to the roasting pan, cooking and stirring until nicely colored to a light brown, about 10 minutes.
Add stock and tomato. Bring to a boil and cook for 5 minutes. Add the meat back to the pan. The top of the roast should ‘crown’ out of the braising liquid.
Place a 5-inch square of foil on top of the exposed meat.
Place roasting pan in a 300-degree oven, covered for 3 hours.
Meanwhile, place the butter in a large sauté pan over high heat. When foaming add the carrot, fennel, leek, celery and rutabaga and sauté for about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
After the meat has been cooking for 2 hours, add the vegetables to the roasting pan.
Test the pot roast for tenderness after the last hour of cooking; a fork should turn easily in the roast (you may need to cook longer than 3 hours depending on the size of your roast).
Place the roasting pan on the stove top. With a slotted spoon, reserve the meat and vegetables to a serving bowl. Bring the liquids to a simmer and reduce by about half. Pour the reduced liquids over the meat and vegetables and serve.
Photograph by Madeleine Hill.