Monday, February 21, 2011

Not-Quite-Perfect Pot Roast

Believe it or not, I actually use my kitchen for more than just cupcakes, cookies, whoopies, cakes, breads… where was I?  Oh yes, sometimes I actually cook “real” food – with nutritional value! – in my kitchen.  And sometimes, when I conquer some recipe that I’ve struggled with or been afraid to try, I’ll share it here!

Last week we had some warm weather in Boston, which was great, but this being New England and it only being February, it got cold again quickly.  So I was in the mood for a hearty meal – and had recently seen this recipe for the “Perfect Pot Roast” on Pioneer Woman Cooks – one of my favorite sites for all things kitchen-related.  I had also recently purchased a dutch oven and was excited to use it!

So, I went to the store and purchased 3.5LBS of chuck roast and some carrots, fresh thyme and organic beef broth. 

I pre-heated the oven to 275 and salted and peppered the roast.  I wasn’t sure exactly what PW does, but I just poured some sea salt and ground pepper on the roast and rubbed it in.

And rinsed and chopped up the carrots.

Then I heated up the dutch oven on the stove and added some olive oil.  Warning: it heated up WAY faster than I thought, and the oil started smoking almost immediately.  FAIL.  So, I had to do that part again, and didn’t wait so long to add the oil – it worked much better the 2nd time.  I browned the carrots then took them out and browned each side of the roast (there were 3 sides, for the record) for about 45-60 seconds per side and removed it.  Then I poured some cabernet sauvignon (approx 1 cup) into the dutch oven to “de-glaze” it.  Not sure what that meant, exactly, but I basically just poured the red wine in and swished a whisk around until the remnants of beef came off the bottom.

I turned off the burner and put the roast back in and added 1 cup of beef broth and a little bit more wine.  Then I added the carrots and fresh thyme.  The recipe called for rosemary, but I’m not a big fan of rosemary so I used herbes de provence instead.  Side note: I had no idea what herbes de provence were, but saw this cute little pot of them at the Williams + Sonoma outlet when I was visiting Wrentham last summer.  I use them on everything!  Vegetables, meat, etc – they have a great flavor and go with almost everything.

Anyway.  Herbes de Provence – try them.  At this point I was ready to “roast”!  I put the pot roast in the over for 3 hours and waited.

And waited.

And waited.

When there were ~10 minutes left, I put some frozen garlic flatbread into the oven to heat up – I think mashed potatoes would have been great with the roast and carrots, but it was pretty late at this point and I didn’t want to eat some heavy, creamy potatoes. 

It came out great, for a first time try, in my opinon!  The meat could have probably been a bit rarer, and I think the sauce could have been more flavorful.  But, I conquered my fear of cooking a huge chunk of meat, and next time will experiment a bit more with seasoning and ingredients.

Bon appétit!


  1. just came across your blog! you have some great insights on your posts! oh my goodness i LOVE pot roast! what great pictures you have!