If you read my bio, you know my love of cooking started early when my mom would let me “help” her in the kitchen and explain what she was doing as she went. I couldn’t even begin to count how many afternoons I spent doing homework at the kitchen counter, watching her ponder whether to add oregano or rosemary at the stove. I wouldn’t trade that training by osmosis for anything!
I recently found myself snowed in at my parents’ house and took advantage by learning how to make my mom’s pot roast. There’s some debate over whether or not this is a true pot roast since the meat is technically a chuck roast, but whatever it is, it’s delicious, comforting, and absolutely impossible not to indulge in seconds. This is my mother’s “foolproof, looseygoosey method.”
Buzz’s Pot Roast
One 3-5 lbs chuck roast
Carrots (baby, or cut into pieces if large)
Onions (pearl, or cut into quarters if large)
Potatoes (I prefer small, assorted that can be left whole, but again, cut into chunks if large)
Celery, cut into three-inch pieces
Flour, salt, pepper
Fresh herbs, such as rosemary, thyme, or parsley
1) Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Heat a generous amount of olive oil in a heavy Dutch oven. In a flat dish or on waxed paper, combine 1/2 cup flour with salt and pepper. If you have seasoning salt, a good dry rub, Herbs de Provence, etc., feel free to mix it in the flour. Dredge the meat thoroughly on all sides in the seasoned flour.
2) Sear the meat in the Dutch oven on medium to medium-high heat on all sides; leave each side for several minutes until it has a crispy brown crust, then turn. Do the edges this way too.
3) Add the vegetables around the bottom, sides and top, nestling the potatoes on the bottom as much as possible, then the onions, carrots and celery. Add some finely chopped garlic too if you have some! Now pour in your liquid: this can be any combination of beef broth or bouillon (about two cups total) to which you may add 1/4 cup red wine, a few splashes of A-1, Heinz 57, Worcestershire sauce, etc. Play with the combination to your own taste. The liquid should nearly cover the meat.
This is how your pot should look before you add the liquid. Isn’t it gorgeous?
4) Now sprinkle some chopped fresh herbs on top, tightly cover the pot, and place in a 300 degree oven for three to five hours (about one hour per pound of meat, minimally, but longer is always great).
5) When I think I should have about an hour to go, I may peek – lift the lid and make sure you still have lots of liquid. You can flip the meat over or rearrange the veggies somewhat – moving the top ones down lower in the pan.
6 To serve, lift out the meat, cut off any fat, and cut the meat into chunks.* You can serve the meat on a platter and the vegetables in a separate bowl, or just pile it all together. Either way, generously spoon the liquid over all, and enjoy!
*Mom says to cut it but it should be noted that the meat is SO tender, it basically falls apart in shreds. Don’t be alarmed. It’s delicious this way!
When I reheated this for leftovers, I made garlic Parmesan mashed potatoes to be a bed for the beef and vegetables. Delicious!