Thursday, May 14, 2009

Perfecto Pot Roast

To date, this is the best pot roast I've ever made - or tasted for that matter. Mom, I know your heart is breaking as you read this. Sorry. I've made my mothers pot roast for years because it truly is good and really easy to boot.

As I began experimenting with recipes, I tried Kalyn's Kitchens version of Hungarian Pot Roast with the sour cream stirred into the sauce at the end. It was delish as well and made in the slow cooker, so this is the recipe I would use during the work week.

But it was Ina Garten's Company Pot Roast that had Jim chewing slowly, savoring every bite and then telling me how awesome I am. Okay, so any recipe that makes my fiance say how awesome I am is a definite winner. I love being the hero in the kitchen!

Ina's pot roast recipe is definitely gourmet with the addition of leeks, red wine, cognac, whole tomatoes and chicken bouillon. The tomato meat sauce is spectacular, and I've served the leftover sauce over pasta and also polenta - both stunning dishes!

Start with a 4-5 pound prime boneless beef chuck roast. Also gather 4 carrots, 2 onions, 3 leeks, 4 celery, red wine, cognac or brandy, 1 can of whole plum tomatoes in puree, 1 can chicken stock, 1 chicken bouillon cube, olive oil, thyme, rosemary, 1 T butter
Pat the beef dry with a paper towel and then lets season this with my mom's favorite mix: SPOG (Salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder).

Then dredge the whole roast in flour, including the ends.

In a large dutch oven (this is my green Rachael Ray Dutch Oven which I love), heat 2 T olive oil over medium heat. Add the roast and sear on all sides, about 4 minutes per side until it is nicely browned all over.

Turn and sear the ends as well. Remove the roast to a large plate, and set aside while we prep the veggies.

Four carrots, peeled and then give it a chunky chop.

The leeks need to be washed thoroughly since they hold a lot of grit when brought home from the store. Give these a rough chop as well.
You can also see I rinsed and chopped the celery.

Dice the onion and through all the veggies into the Dutch oven along with another 2 T of olive oil.

Add 1 T of salt, 1 1/2 t pepper and cook over medium heat for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender but not browned. Add garlic, then add 2 cups of good red wine and 2 t of brandy.
Update: Choose a wine that you would/could also drink. The recipe calls for red wine and suggest a bordeaux, although a merlot, cabernet, sirah, shiraz or blend of the above would do just fine - just be sure you LIKE the wine and you would actually drink it. Never cook with wine you wouldn't also drink.
This is a picture after garlic was added.

Here is a picture after the wine and brandy was added.

Once the mixture comes to a boil, add one can of chicken broth.

Add 1 (28-ounce) can whole plum tomatoes in puree.

Add one bouillon cube for flavor!

I'm starting my herb garden again - and I just LOVE cooking from my garden. Here is some rosemary that I just purchased but haven't planted yet.

Ina suggest wrapping the thyme and rosemary together with kitchen string and adding it to the pot. Instead I simply threw in one fresh sprig of rosemary.

Then threw in a pinch of dried thyme.

Preheat the oven to 325 and add the roast back to the dutch oven. Bring to a boil and cover. Place in the oven for 2 1/2 hours, until the meat is fork tender or about 160 degrees F internally. Turn the heat down to 250 degrees F after about an hour to keep the sauce at a simmer.

Remove the roast to a cutting board and let it rest before slicing. Remove the herb bundle and discard. Skim off as much fat as possible from the top of the sauce. Transfer half the sauce and veggies to a blender or use your hand held blender and puree half the sauce or to your own liking. I personally like chunky pieces of carrots and tomatoes in this sauce.

Fork tender roast.

Here is the chunky meat sauce that I ladled over the roast.

Perfecto Pot Roast!

Excellent over egg noodles, perfect for company or for your family! Thanks Ina for another GREAT recipe!


  1. That does look delicious! My father-in-law is coming for a visit and he is a "meat and potatoes" guy. This might be just the ticket. Thanks! :)

  2. This looks absolutely delicious! I also love that you do the step-by-step photos of the process. It's very helpful. :) My question is...what kind of wine is best for something like this? Is a merlot ok to use? I'm always kind of intimidated when a recipe calls for wine.

  3. I've made the recipe, and made the mistake (?) of only cooking to 160 degrees internal -- I should have paid attention to the '...or fork tender' part of that sentence! When I reheated it the next day, I simmered it for another few hours to 180, and got the falling-off-the-bone texture I was looking for. Is 160 cooked enough to melt the collagen properly? Maybe it was just me. Others?

  4. Anonymous, sorry for the late reply. I'm reviewing this recipe in order to make it for family this weekend and regarding wine, If you like merlot, use merlot. If you like cabernet, use a cab. I just highly suggest you taste the wine first and LIKE it yourself before adding it to your food. If you are NOT a wine drinker, then visit with someone in the wine department of your grocery store and explain what you are making so they can help you pick something around $10 that you can use.

    Jason, Sorry this didn't work for you the first time. I usually do not take the internal temperature into account, that is something Ina does. I use the rule of cooking an hour per pound of meat - and then test for "falling off the bone tenderness." I hope you give this recipe another shot.


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