Pad Thai and sushi may be more your speed, but we bet you can’t resist a satisfying, old-fashioned pot roast. It’s the essence of comfort. Despite the abundance of pot roast recipes, there are some universal secrets. Choosing the right meat is top of the list. Select a thick cut (1 to 2 inches thick) from the beef chuck (shoulder) with or without the bone, frequently called a chuck roast. This tough cut of meat, when cooked right, transforms into tender succulence.
Searing the meat until it is dark brown is an essential step in developing deep, rich flavor. Add enough flavorful liquid (beef broth and wine) to almost cover the meat. This keeps it moist, allows the flavors to mingle and also produces lots of gravy. After that, it is all about low and slow. Cooking the pot roast in a 300F oven for several hours allows the meat to soften until it almost falls apart. Patience, patience, patience.
Classic Pot Roast with Mushrooms
Choosing the right meat is top of the list. Select a thick cut (1 to 2 inches thick) from the beef chuck (shoulder) with or without the bone, frequently called a chuck roast. This tough cut of meat, when cooked right, transforms into tender succulence.
3 pounds chuck roast (about 2 inches thick)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 1/2 cups thinly sliced yellow or white onion
3/4 cup diced carrot
3/4 cup diced celery or celery root
1 parsnip, peeled and diced
8 garlic cloves, chopped
1 pound shiitake or portabello mushrooms, sliced
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 1/2 cups reduced-sodium, low-fat beef broth
8 ounces tomato sauce
1 1/2 cups red wine
1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme leaves
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons cold water
1. Preheat oven to 300F.
2. Trim beef of all visible fat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large Dutch oven. Add beef and brown on all sides. Remove from pan.
3. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil, onion, carrot, celery and parsnip to pan. Sauté until lightly browned, about 8 minutes. Add garlic, mushrooms and chili powder and cook 3 minutes.
4. Return meat to pan. Add broth, tomato sauce, red wine, thyme and bay leaves. Bring to a boil. Cover, place in oven and cook 3 to 3 1/2 hours, until beef is fork tender. (There will be lots of liquid.)
5. Dissolve cornstarch in cold water. Pour cornstarch mixture into pan, stirring constantly. Return to oven and cook 15 minutes or until sauce thickens. Serves 10.
Per serving: 440 calories, 19g fat, 105mg chol., 42g prot., 18g carbs., 3g fiber, 510mg sodium
Recipe by Chef Chris Koetke, Kendall Col- lege School of Culinary Arts, Chicago, Ill.