I have always loved comfort food and a well prepared pot roast tops the list. There are more recipes for pot roast than there are pots too cook them. Many of those recipes, however, produce dry, pasty-looking meat and vegetables that just don't quite make it. I've taken the best from lots of different techniques and come up with what I think is a recipe you'll enjoy time and again. Quite a few different cuts of beef are "suitable" for pot roast: bottom round, rump and front cut brisket to name a few. A blade cut chuck roast is far and away the best choice, however. It's fattier than the others and during the long, slow cooking process called braising, the chuck produces the most mouth watering end result. Be sure to brown the roast and vegetables before braising. This improves the flavor and also enhances the appearance as the high heat used during browning carmelizes the sugars in the meat. The quantity of each of the ingredients can be varied a little to suit your individual taste. Accordingly, the timing suggested is only a guide and you should test for doneness as you begin to approach the end of the cooking time. This recipe calls for cooking in a crock pot. You can also use a large heavy Dutch oven and cook in the oven.
- 3 -5 lbs blade cut chuck roast
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus more if needed
- 1 teaspoon salt, divided
- 1⁄2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper, divided
- 2 medium golden onions, cut in wedges
- 2 -3 carrots, cut into 2 inch sections
- 4 medium boiling potatoes, quartered
- 1 bay leaf
- 1⁄2 cup water or 1⁄2 cup cola or 1⁄2 cup beef stock or 1⁄2 cup vegetable stock
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon flour (I prefer Wondra.)
- Season the roast with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
- In a large skillet (not non-stick) heat the oil over medium-high heat.
- Add the roast and cook, turning often, until browned, about 10 minutes.
- Transfer the roast to a plate.
- Add more oil to the skillet if necessary and heat over medium-high heat.
- Add the onions, carrots and potatoes and cook, stirring often, until the they are slightly browned, about 5 minutes. Do not overcook.
- Transfer the vegetables to a slow-cooker, add the bay leaf and then place th roast on top of the vegetables.
- Add the water or other liquid to the skillet and bring to a boil, scraping up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Pour into the slow cooker.
- Cover and slow-cook until the roast is tender, perhaps 8 hours on low (200 degree) setting.
- Transfer the roast and vegetables to a platter using a slotted spoon and cover with foil to keep warm.
- Skim the fat from the surface of the cooking liquid.
- Remove the bay leaf.
- In a saucepan, melt the butter over very low heat.
- Add the flour and let bubble, stirring constantly, until lightly browned, about 1 minute.
- Whisk in the cooking liquid and bring to a simmer.
- Cook, whisking often, until thickened and reduced to about 1 cup.
- Using a sharp knife, slice the roast crosswise across the grain. Serve with the vegetables and gravy.