There’s just something about a good old-fashioned, slow cooked pot roast that makes me smile. It’s not fancy food, by any means, but it’s comforting and cozy, and we needed a little bit of that yesterday. For some reason, I’ve been craving pot roast lately. I think it’s my inner calendar at work. It’s November, so my brain thinks it’s time to turn to comfort food. I had been thinking all week about how I wanted to make a pot roast for dinner on Sunday, but did I make it to the grocery store before Sunday rolled around? No.
So, Sunday arrived and I pulled out my favorite pot roast recipe. My heart dropped when I saw two small words: Red Wine. We were out of red wine and we live in one of those towns where you still can’t buy beer or wine on a Sunday. I knew that red wine wasn’t a requirement for every pot roast recipe, though, so I hit the internet in search of a sober roast.
It was harder to find one than I thought.
After reading countless recipes, I finally ran across a promising one on The Pioneer Woman’s website. The recipe was called Perfect Pot Roast and as I read her story, I found that she likes to use wine when she makes a roast, too, but on the day Ree blogged about her famous pot roast, it was a Sunday and she was in a place where she couldn’t buy red wine! She used beef stock instead and promised that if I tried, that I could make a delicious roast that way as well. So, knowing full well that The Pioneer Woman knows her stuff, I decided to try her pot roast. My family was really glad that I did! If you have red wine on hand, go ahead and use it. If not, I promise you will not be disappointed.
You’ll start with a 4-5 pound Chuck roast. The first thing you’ll need to do is salt and pepper him up. Don’t be shy.
Next, you’ll slice two onions in half, chop the tops and bottoms off and remove the peels. Then, take some carrots and slice them up into 2-inch pieces. I don’t know if I’ve ever made a recipe without peeling the carrots first. My new pot roast guru said not to peel them, so I didn’t. I also chopped up a couple of stalks of celery because I just thought some green needed to be thrown in there.
In a large Dutch oven, you’ll heat up some olive oil and brown up the onions. Keep them halved, and brown them on both sides.
(I could not get a decent picture of those onions to save my life, so I apologize for the poor lighting!)
Then, the carrots and celery get a turn.
(Same pan, same lighting…I don’t get it!)
After the vegetables have browned up, remove them from the pan and add the roast. You’ll sear the roast for about a minute or so on all sides. As you’re doing this, take note of all of the browned up flavor sticking to the bottom of the pan. That’s very important stuff!
That brown stuff is called “fond”. (I had to look that up. Don’t be too impressed.) It’s full of flavor that’s escaped from your onions, veggies and roast and you want that back in your dinner, right? This is where deglazing comes in. If you have red wine handy, this is where you’d use it. If not, you can use beef stock. After you remove the roast from the pan, you’ll deglaze the pan with your wine/broth by pouring it into the hot pan and scraping the brown bits off the bottom with a spoon or whisk. This will help work all of that flavor back into the sauce.
After deglazing the pan, add the roast back in and surround it with the veggies, more beef stock and some fresh rosemary and thyme.
Then, pop the lid on the pan and put it in the oven. The roast needs to cook slowly, at a low temperature. This is why so many pot roasts end up in Crock Pots. A nice, calm Sunday afternoon is a great time to lose the Crock Pot and use your oven.
About four hours later, you’ll have an amazingly tender, juicy roast and beautifully cooked veggies. There’s no need to make a creamy gravy. The juices that the meat cooked in were full of flavor and were perfect to spoon over the roast once I’d sliced it up. I served this alongside mashed potatoes.
It was a little bit of old-fashioned, comfort food heaven and a nice, slow way to kick off another busy week together. I have a feeling I’ll make it a lot this winter, red wine in hand or not.
SUNDAY POT ROAST
Adapted from The Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond
- 1 4-5 lb. Chuck Roast
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil, maybe more
- 2 whole onions, halved
- 6-8 whole carrots, cut into 2-inch pieces
- 2 stalks celery, cut into 2-inch pieces
- salt and pepper
- 1 cup red wine (optional, You can use beef stock)
- 2-3 cups beef stock
- 3 sprigs fresh Thyme, or more to taste
- 3 sprigs fresh Rosemary, or more to taste
- Preheat your oven to 275*.
- In a large Dutch oven, heat the two tablespoons of olive oil over medium high heat. When the oil is very hot, but not yet smoking, add the halved onions. Brown them on one side and then the other, just a couple of minute total. Remove the onions to a plate. Add the carrots and celery to the hot pot, stirring for a couple of minutes, until the vegetables begin to brown. Remove them to a plate with the onions.
- If you think you need it, add a little more olive oil to the pan and then add the roast. Sear the roast, on all sides, about one minute per side until the roast is nicely browned all over. Remove the roast to (yet another) plate. Using either a cup of red wine or the beef stock, deglaze the pan, scraping up all of the little brown bits on the bottom of the pan and working it into your sauce.
- After the pan has been deglazed, place the roast back in. Pour enough beef stock into the pan to cover the meat about halfway (I needed 3 cups). Add the onion halves, carrots and celery. Place the thyme and rosemary in around the meat as well.
- Put the lid on the pan and place in the preheated oven. A 3-pound roast will need to cook for about 3 hours. A 4-5 pounder, about 4 hours.