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My Christmas pot roast doesn't have much flavor

Made the CI Pot Roast that I have had good luck with before. Figured I would make today so it would taste better tomorrow. Meat (boneless chuck roast) is very tender but neither my husband nor I think it has much flavor.

Only took about 2 hours in my large Le Creuset because this was not a rolled roast. I removed the roast and mirepoix to a sauteuse pan and am making a mushroom sauce with the liquid and some red wine. But is there anything I can do to boost the flavor of the meat itself? Should I pour this mushroom sauce over it and let it sit in the sauce overnight?

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  1. did you cook it in water or stock? using the sauce as a marinade is a good idea, and reducing the liquid first should help, but often times meat just needs more salt to add oomph.

    9 Replies
    1. re: hotoynoodle

      I used only stock and red wine. I went ahead and poured the mushroom sauce (reduced) over all--but that soy sauce comment below is a possibility. May try that tomorrow if the mushroom sauce hasn't helped.

      It may taste better tomorrow just because I'll be more relaxed. I hardly ever like anything I make at the time I make it.

      1. re: Thanks4Food

        Or maybe some MSG.

        What did you season the roast with before browning? And if the roast was just sitting in the liquid it's not going to really pick up a lot of flavor. Since the recipe isn't here, there are a number of missing pieces :)

        1. re: c oliver

          It's the Cook's Illustrated recipe that I followed to a T--except that I doubled it. So generous S&P for the browning.

          1. re: Thanks4Food

            I wasn't joking about adding some MSG.

            1. re: c oliver

              To boost flavor in a gravy/sauce add: yeast flakes, dab of tomato paste, crumbled kelp - there are options other than MSG.

              1. re: AdinaA

                Of course there are. But MSG is super easy also.

              2. re: c oliver

                Maggi seasoning - sprinkle it in, works like a charm

          2. re: Thanks4Food

            I always add a good dash of worcestshire (similar to adding soy sauce), not to mention bay leaves and other aromatics.

            Maybe some extra salt and pepper too, in the liquid? So simple and elementary that I occasionally find myself forgetting about it!

            1. re: coll

              To whoever it was that recommended the Worcestershire sauce: my husband did do that the last time he had it and said it added a lot of flavor. I'll make it a regular part of the recipe. Thanks!

        2. Maybe a bit of soy sauce?

          1. Brown some onions, deglaze with a copuple of cups of wine, a whole bottle if it's a lrage roast, reduce the wine to a modest amount of deeply flavorful sauce. Soy sauce is just masking with salt. Wine and browning enhance and compliment the flavor of the meat.

            9 Replies
            1. re: AdinaA

              Soy sauce is not "just masking with salt ."

              It gives a terrific umami boost and is perfect for this situation.

              1. re: C. Hamster

                Yeah, it pretty much is. I grant you the umami, but this is a pot roast, it is endowed by nature with umami.

                I'm not denying the splendor of soy sauce-based dishes. Or of the East Asian cuisines based on them, or even that the Romans were onto something when they invented garum. Just asserting that soy sauce doesn't bring flavors out the way wine does, it masks them with salt.

                I do acknowledge that this is to some degree a matter of personal taste, not something we need to clash over - my Damascus steel blade against your Tamahagane.

              2. re: AdinaA

                Also (assuming that you drink your beer from a glass) save half finished bottles in the fridge and use to simmer meat, make savory sauces and soups.

                1. re: AdinaA

                  Curious about the drinking from a glass as opposed to a bottle (or can).

                  1. re: c oliver

                    I'm no epidemiologist, but people catch things from shared food. For example, bowls of dip become a vector if someone bites off the end of a celery stick, then uses the bitten end to scoop up more dip. Shared drinks certainly are a vector (I think I remember studies done on communion wine sipped from a shared chalice).

                    If someone drinks half a bottle of beer direct from the bottle, and you use the leftover to simmer a pot roast, would the heat of bringing it to a rolling boil kill every infection the original drinker might have had? Probably, the CDC would know for sure.

                2. re: AdinaA

                  I like AdinaA's suggestion of browning some onions with red wine. I would also chop up a dozen cloves of garlic and saute them with the onions. Then I would add another half dozen cloves of chopped, raw garlic to the onion and wine sauce after it was done cooking. I'd add two tablespoons of Lea and Perrins' Worcestershire sauce and a level teaspoon of granulated sugar. Mix this all together, slice the pot roast (the use of a Tamahagane or Damascus steel blade being optional) into thick pieces and let the pot roast slices marinate in the wine and other things liquid for 24 to 48 hours. Drain off the marinade. But since you have already cooked the meat, you can heat up the marinade, thicken it with corn starch, and use it as a sauce (or, more classically, skip the corn starch and reduce the sauce down to a syrupy consistency).

                  1. re: gfr1111

                    I didn't even think, but is it possible that you didn't use onions, garlic, celery, carrots? I tried to look up the recipe but don't see it, at least not easily.

                    1. re: coll

                      Mirepoix is mentioned in the OP.

                  2. re: AdinaA

                    Worcestershire sauce is a nice way to boost flavor on a bland roast.

                  3. You need to slice the pot roast, THEN put it into your completed but still hot mushroom sauce. Cool it down, chill, and reheat tomorrow. The wine should help a lot, since alcohol allows greater development/expression of the flavor components in a given dish.

                    1. Strain and degrease the liquid, reduce it a lot, and warm the sliced meat in it, preferably letting it sit in the liquid overnight, as greygarious says.

                        1. What grade of chuck roast did you use? USDA Select, as opposed to Choice, is tasteless. This is why I have given up on buying beef at Safeway. While it's too late to rescue your pot roast at this point, paying attention to the grade of meat can help in the future.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: bitchincook

                            Why do you find it tasteless? While I usually buy at Costco cause I want the HUGE ones, I also buy smaller ones from Safeway and think they're just as good. QUITE flavorful.

                          2. Something else occurs to me; you said it was done in two hours, which is awfully short. If you did it at a high temp, it would be overcooked and tasteless, not having had a low, slow interior bath in its juices.

                            6 Replies
                            1. re: mcf

                              I thought that too, but it's not impossible that the OP's boneless chuck was a fairly thin piece, like a boned-out 7-bone. Such a cut MIGHT finish in 2 hrs in correct heat, especially because OP says it was in a "large" Le Creuset.
                              We don't know the size or shape of either the roast or the pot, and OP did say the meat is tender.

                              1. re: greygarious

                                Sorry, I've been away. It wasn't a rolled roast but a flat chuck roast--maybe 2 inches thick. All I remember is it having a label that said "Hereford" on it like that was a great thing. I did ask for a 7-bone but they said they don't get those very often. The LeCreuset was the 7.25 oval.

                                We were too tired to try any of your suggestions above, but I will definitely try a shot of Worcestershire and/or soy sauce tonight.

                                I'm really mystified about this since the first time I made this it was out of this world. The only thing I did differently this time was to double the recipe with 2 roasts. And I didn't use any water at all but more wine and beef stock.

                                1. re: Thanks4Food

                                  Did you use the same meat from the same purveyor both times?

                                  And I have occasionally found that doubling/tripling a recipe inexplicably makes things go foobar even when done with great attention to detail.

                                  1. re: Thanks4Food

                                    Did you increase all the seasonings and veggies to compensate for the additional stock and wine proportionately?

                                    1. re: mcf

                                      I increased everything proportionately except for the liquids: since the roasts were flat they didn't need extra liquid for coming halfway up the side of the meat--in fact they were a bit drowned in the liquid using only the amount for one roast.

                                      To C. Hamster...I'm not sure on that one, but I would guess so. Whenever we want good meat we go to a small grocery store in a more chi-chi part of town.

                                      I will try it again without doubling and see if I achieve success.

                                2. re: mcf

                                  I was thinking the same. Even a good stew with smaller chunks of meat needs 2.5 hours in the oven.

                                3. IMHO, majority of flavor in a pot roast is in in the sauce. But using a highly acidic cooking liquid (like red wine or beer) definitely helps to flavor the meat and usually makes an amazing gravy.

                                  Here are my two favorite recipes using each:

                                  Beer -
                                  http://christophercooks.blogspot.com/...

                                  Red wine (works great for short ribs or chuck roast):
                                  http://christophercooks.blogspot.com/...