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Pot Roast - no idea what to do

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  • KeriT Apr 9, 2007 09:17 AM
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So after a few years of marriage I find out my husband loves pot roast. I have never made it and I don't even know if I ever had it (my mother was a non-red meat eater). Can anyone help me out - favorite recipes, techniques etc? Thanks!

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  1. I've made dozens of different pot roast recipes over 22 year of marriage, and by far the best one is from Cook's Illustrated. Do you have access to their website? If not, you can also find the recipe here: http://www.recipezaar.com/37554

    If you can find the "chuck eye" cut of beef, that's what CI recommends as best. They said 7-bone roasts and top-blade are also good.

    1. There are so many great variations- it's pretty simple to do. I find it always comes out best in a dutch oven or old heavy iron pot. The CI one is a good one to follow- then once you get the idea, you don't really need a recipe. I prefer it with the red potatoes, and also fresh string beans. It's one of those recipes though that is often better the next day, so be sure to make enough for leftovers!

      1. The recipe already posted is a good one. Here's my personal favorite.

        Marinate the roast in a bottle of inexpensive French salad dressing (the oil & vinegar kind) overnight.

        Next morning, sear it on all sides in a hot Dutch oven or cast iron skillet with a little fat. It should be dark brown all over.

        Chop fine a bell pepper, a medium white onion, and 3 or 4 stalks of celery. You can add a clove or two or garlic if you like. Add a couple of teaspoons of salt and of black pepper. Mix together and put on and around the roast.

        Cook as instructed, though I don't usually use any liquid, for half the cooking time. Now add vegetables. I'd suggest a few potatoes, a parsnip, a few carrots, some pearl onions, and a nice number of whole mushrooms. But's it's really up to you. Season these a bit, cover again, and cook and until the roast and the vegetables are tender.

        1. Pot roast makes a great crock pot meal that will cook while you are at work. I buy a chuck beef roast that is tied with string. Sorry, I forget the name of the cut, I just look for the string. It needs to be well marbled and a bit fatty. In the morning I dust it with seasoned flour and then brown the cut ends in a saute pan over heat a little hotter than medium but not as hot as medium high on an electric range. Put the seared meat in the crock pot on low. Put a 1/2 - 3/4 cup of water or so in the dirty pan and scrape up any bits. Add to the crock pot. The roast is going to give off plenty of water/juice so don't add much more water to the pot. Cook on low 6-8 hours. Remove roast. Pour juices into a pan. Pour some of the juice into a small bowl with 1/4 c of flour. Whisk the flour/juice smooth. Heat the pan juice to a strong simmer. Whisk in the flour/juice to make gravy. I have a favorite herb mix I add to boost the flavor. You can also add a tablespoon of ketchup. I prefer to let people salt and pepper at the table. We usually serve pot roast with Near East rice pilaf and peas. Or, add some peas to the rice pilaf and serve with carrots. It's a good idea to find out from your husband how he likes his pot roast. He might be used to having it served with mashed potatos. You can cook a pot roast on the stove if you don't have a crock pot but then, for us, it has to be a weekend meal. I agree, leftover pot roast is even better. Pot roast sandwiches are good,too. It's one of our son's favorite meals.

          1. The recipes will vary on your likes and dislikes but let's speak a little to the method. The jfoods do not own a crock pot but you will find many who swear by them on this site. I use an old trusted method of low and slow. It is of absolutely no use on a weekday night (hence the advance of crock pots) and i understand that the low and slow limits my calendar flexibility, but it's a cross I bear.

            I use a reynolds cooking bag or a dutch oven. Sear the meat and either cook or do not cook the veggies, your choice. Then add the liquids and seasoning and into a 300-325 oven for hours. Some people wil suggest ketchup, french dressing, wines, beef stocks, etc. you just need to experiment on what you and hubby like.

            About one-hour before the total time expires, I take out the meat and slice it and then return it to the oven for the last hour. Why? I screwed up years ago and started cutting the meat to early and it was not tender enough. Instead of throwing it out I continued to slice and returned the sliced meat to the liquid barising. The reult was outstanding. It became a regular process for all braised meats.

            2 Replies
            1. re: jfood

              I agree with the crock pot...and you can make it in minutes. I just use a quatered onion, a few chunks of celery, a handful of baby carrots (i put garlic in everything) and 6 cups of aujus (two packets of the powdered gravy mix). Let it cook all day on low or 4 -5 hours on high. If you like, throw in a couple of potatoes and the whole meal is right in one pot.

              1. re: BigSteve

                I forgot - if you like mushrooms - put 'em in.

            2. The best cut of meat I used was the part below the knee. It usually comes out more tender than the other cuts.

              3 Replies
              1. re: designerboy01

                DB,

                "below" the knee? I am not sure there is any "roast" that comes from that part of the cow. Which cut are you referring to?

                See this link:

                http://www.cooksillustrated.com/image...

                thx

                1. re: jfood

                  I get this from my Chinese butcher. Its called Gum Cheen Jeen. After tasting this once I never went back.

                  1. re: designerboy01

                    I always see chuck as the cut to use for pot roast. So, for my first pot roast, I got a boneless chuck. I've also tried a round roast for a slowcooker pot roast. I'm thinking of using brisket the next time.

                    My question is: does brisket, when cooked, have rough and large shred/grain? The chuck and the round did: the meat broke apart in larger shreds. (The chuck definitely had more flavour than the round.)

                    Which leads me to wonder, seeing the post above. When I go to a Chinese restaurant and order a "beef brisket" soup or a "braised beef brisket," the texture of the "brisket" is not quite the same as I think a brisket does. So perhaps what they've been calling "brisket" isn't really brisket at all and is really a "shank."

                    Thoughts?

              2. I don't use a recipe and vary often but techniquewise,

                1) dredge meat (room temp) in seasoned flour and braise about 2 minutes per side,
                2) take meat out, add chopped carrots, onions, celery, garlic (and whatever root type veggies I have), season and sautee until brownish,
                3) deglaze w/ red wine
                4) add tomatoes, mushrooms or potatoes if I want; and broth/water
                5) add meat, cook on low heat whether I use the crockpot, low simmer on the stove or put the lid on and in the oven.

                4 Replies
                1. re: chowser

                  I think you mean "brown," and not "braise" about 2 min per side.

                  IMO most potatoes would be disintegrated by the time the meat is done. I add them later on.

                  1. re: C. Hamster

                    LOL, I actually meant "sear" not braise. As I typed it, it didn't seem right but "sear" wasn't coming to me (words and names seem to escape me more and more as I get older...) so I went with it figuring people would know what I was talking about. I use a firmer potato. It does get slighly mushy but my kids like the texture, I don't eat the potatoes and it helps to thicken the broth.

                    1. re: chowser

                      I actually use red potatoes & they work great

                      1. re: pamd

                        I like the red, too. I use whatever catches my eye, yukon gold, fingerling, red, etc. but ones that will stand up to longer cooking.

                2. First, make sure you get a cut that takes to the slow braise method of cooking - a chuck roast is perfect. All the fatty streaks throughout the meat will break down during the slow cooking and help make the meat nice and tender.

                  For my favorite recipes, here's one - from Mike Ditka's restaurant in Chicago:

                  http://www.recipezaar.com/118127

                  I can't find (here on Chowhound or anywhere else) my Mom's Lemon Pot Roast. I know I posted it a couple of years ago on Home Cooking for foodiex2, I think, but it's not coming up in searches. I can post it tonight when I get home, if you'd like.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: LindaWhit

                    yes, Mom's Lemon was a very good one, thanks! here it is...
                    http://www.chowhound.com/topics/27966...

                    1. re: pamd

                      THANK you! Couldn't find it for the life of me, even when using Google's Advanced Search for "Mom's Lemon Pot Roast". It has now been Added to My Favorites...and the CH search function upgrade can't come soon enough. :-)

                  2. This recipe has replaced my former favorite pot roast recipe. It appeared recently in Gourmet. I've made it several times now, to rave reviews. The only thing I'd do differently is to make it into a stew by cutting the chuck roast into chunks. That way you can remove much of the excess fat before braising.

                    http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/rec...

                    1. Pot roast is great, as it is so forgiving- easy to cook, and really hard to mess up! I season the roast, rub with a bit of olive oil, and coat lightly with flour. Sear well on all sides. Into the crock pot with a bit of water and/ or beef stock ( sometimes I use better than boullion beef ), some red wine, garlic, a dash of worchestire and some tomato paste and butter. I usually add a cut up onion ( skin and all) and a carrot and celery stalk. Cook all day. Strain the liquid and thicken as you li ke. Great served with mahed potatoes and green beans. One of our winter go to dishes.

                      1. It's one of the easier things to cook. Here's what I do:

                        Brown the beef in a dutch oven, then put in an inch or two of water. Then I add chunks of onion, beef base, salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, celery powder and just a little Chinese 5-spice. Simmer on low heat for 3-4 hours. It;s ready when you insert a fork in it and can pull it out without lifting the meat. While cooking, add liquid as needed.

                        Note that any vegetables added at the start are for flavor, not eating.

                        If you use chuck roast, by the way, you;ll probably find that the eye is tender well before the rest of the cut. Unless I need the whole roast, sometimes I'll cut out the eye and eat it while letting the rest continue to cook.

                        So you don't need to worry so much about timing, you might wish to precook your eatin' vegetables till almost done, then put in the dutch oven for the last half hour or so to absorb flavors.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: mpalmer6c

                          I just put the roast in the crock pot with a envelope od liptons onion soup mix and
                          a glass od water. and let the crock pot do the rest..I serve mashed potatoes with
                          gravy made from the juice. corn, green salad. blackberry cobbler/ice cream.

                          1. re: bigjimbray

                            i agree with big jim's technique...no need to sear your roast at all... definitely use a slow cooker
                            his ingredients are okay...i rub the roast with a good deal of garlic powder and tabasco, add one can of coke, one bottle of chili sauce (the ketchup kind), one envelope of dried onion soup, any veggies that you like...cook on low for at least 8 hours...test meat for doneness...cook longer, if need be...remove the roast and check the thickness of the gravy, it should be perfect...if it's too thin cook on high for another hour with the top off, checking it once or twice...if it's too thick add some liquid (water, stock, red wine, etc.) cook on high with the top on, until desired consistency is achieved, eat the veggies too...tender, delicious, and foolproof!

                        2. If this was already suggested, I apologize...but vegetables to cook along with the pot roast should most definitely include red "new" potatoes, carrots, cut into two inch pieces, onions, like Vidalias, and some celery ribs also add a nice flavor. Enjoy...

                          1. add 1/4 cup of your favorite steak sauce to the roast and it gives it a little kick.

                            1. I flour it, brown it in a little oil in my dutch oven, take the meat out, saute some onions and garlic in the oil, toss the meat back in, add a bottle of beer, Guiness is wonderful, but you can use something lighter, and some beef stock. Cover it up, put in on a low flame, and add some potatoes about an hour before it is done. You can also toss it in the oven, if you want. (red wine works too, but the beer has a great, hearty taste that is good with rice or noodles.)

                              It doesn't look like much of anything until it has been cooking for a few hours, and then all of a sudden it gets glossy and rich and wonderful.

                              1. Pot Roast in Foil, flavorful and tender...Take a nice size pot roast ( use a cheaper cut ) and place it on a large piece of heavy duty foil...Spread the top with a can of cream of mushroom soup, and over that, sprinkle a packet of dry onion soup mix...Enclose the foil tightly around the pot roast and place it in a 13/9/2 pan...Cook 4 hours at 300 degrees...I usually use about a 4 lb pot roast for this...If you want to mix a little red wine with the soup, before spreading it on the roast, that is fine...Don't add any salt to this, as the soups have enough salt already...This is one of those fix it, and go do other things recipe...It is very good....

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: jinet12

                                  You can also find my recipe posted at www.recipezaar.com/56282
                                  ( In case you'd like to read the reviews to see what others thought of this recipe ).

                                  Pot Roast with Pepsi or Coke

                                  This is the "best tasting" roast I've ever had.
                                  The gravy was, "out of this world".

                                  3-4 lb. roast (almost any kind will do, but I used a pork roast)
                                  1 ( 12 ounce ) can Pepsi or Coke
                                  1 ( 10-3/4 ounce ) can cream of mushroom soup
                                  1 ( 1 ounce ) package dry onion soup mix
                                  1 teaspoon minced garlic ( optional )

                                  Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
                                  Place roast in a roasting pan that can be covered tightly.
                                  Pour Pepsi or Coke over the roast.
                                  In a bowl, mix soups and garlic together.
                                  Spread evenly over the roast.
                                  Cover tightly. Bake for 3-4 hours at 325 degrees.
                                  Serves 4-5. "ENJOY"!

                                2. my mom loves pot roast, and we often ate it growing up. i have never made one myself, as i live alone and would have too many leftovers, but whenever we had it, it was always served with applesauce on the side. i definitely recommend this.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: taryn

                                    Choose a roast that has at least some fat in it. Make slits all over. I like to stuff the roast with serrano or jalapeno peppers (I freeze them and then slice them in half lengthwise. They go in like little pepper-sicles). I add a demitasse spoonful of seasoning (Tony Chachere's) on top of each pepper. If you like, in every other slit, stuff with garlic and Tony's.

                                    For this method, I don't sear the roast like I usually would. Place the roast in a heavy pot with lid, and put it in the oven at 200 degrees, right before bedtime. No need to add any liquid at all. Now, go to bed, and wake up to the most fabulous smell imaginable!

                                  2. Pot roast--so easy. I too use the chuck roast tied with string, and try for the least fat I can find. Sear in olive oil on both sides, and add plenty of veggies. A good size onion, any type, quartered (this will disintegrate by the time all is said & done), a few potatoes halved, half a dozen or so carrots, cut in pieces. Add water to cover and herbs such as bay leaves (I used cracked), fine herbes, garlic powder (and fresh if you have it), thyme, etc. and of course salt and pepper (I use freshly-cracked white). Cook until tender. I then remove some of the stock and heat separately with cornstarch for gravy. I have also been known to pull a few veggies out for a snack while I'm waiting for the roast to finish :) Serve with fleur de sel at the table. (You can use stocks, wine, etc. but I find there's plenty of flavor from the roast itself.)

                                    1. Like others have mentioned, I brown well on all sides a chuck roast and throw in the crock pot. In the browning pan I then saute sliced onions and at the end, chopped garlic. Shallots sliced and sauteed are good, too. Throw all of this into crock pot along with 1-2 cups of Gallo burgundy. Cook on low and after a few hours, put in potatoes, after another hour, carrots. This smells so delicious, tastes great.