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Apr 4, 2012 06:38 PM

Can you help me salvage my pot roast?

The cheap supermarket brand (McCormick) dried thyme I bought today has completely ruined the flavor. I hadn't realized I was out and the market had no fresh. The dried leaves I usually use are from The Spice House and I've never had the experience of thyme making a pot roast (or anything) bitter. I put in about 1/2 tsp.

Do you have any ideas of what I could add to counteract the bitterness? It's been braising for a little over 3 hours now.

The rest of the ingredients are:
smidge of tomato paste
beef stock
bay leaf

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  1. Are you sure it's the thyme that's bitter? I've had more problems with onions, particularly at this time of year.

    1. I'm sorry to hear about the pot roast.

      My first inclination is that the bitterness probably isn't from the thyme. That seems like a strange source for bitterness. The wine seems like a far more likely source to me. Have you used this brand of wine before? Did you let the wine come to a boil before putting the lid on? If the alcohol isn't allowed to boil off it can add a bitterness to a dish. If you didn't let the wine boil for a while you might try taking the lid off for a while to see if some alcohol dissipates (sometimes it helps - sometimes not).

      I think I might let it reduce further to see if the wine mellows and then determine strategies. You might be able to add more tomato paste to add some sweetness and richness which might counter the bitterness. You might be able to add more stock and let it reduce further which could help - same with adding more vegetables at this point actually to help enhance the sweet flavors they provide when braised.

      2 Replies
      1. re: thimes

        Maybe "bitter" was the wrong way to describe it. It has an overpowering thyme taste - but bad thyme. It's definitely not a wine problem. I just used it to deglaze. I think I'll try a bit more tomato paste and stock.

        1. re: ChervilGeorge

          I agree with adding more tomato paste(but not very much), stock, and add a pinch of sugar. A neighbor suggested the sugar to me several years ago when I had a similar problem with thyme. good luck.