Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Jessica's Pot Roast

We call this "Jessica's" because she first made it for us after I had Sam, and it was one of those amazing dinners that tastes so good you almost die. Also, I have to distinguish it from my typical/ordinary pot roast that just involves a packet of onion soup mixed with a can of mushroom soup, slathered on the meat and roasted for several hours. But that one is also delicious. Anyway, it seems like pot roast time around here... so this is what we're having for dinner tonight. And I don't even have a slow cooker/crock pot. I just throw it all in a lidded pot and cook it in the oven for 6-7 hours at 250 or so. Mmmmm... its starting to smell good already. Try it with mashed potatoes or polenta on the side.

Country-Style Pot Roast with Gravy

Adapted from “Cook’s Country”

Cook’s Country Note: If you can’t find a large 5 1/2- to 6-pound chuck roast, use two 3-pound roasts.

* 1 large boneless beef chuck roast (5 1/2-6 pounds), tied
* Salt and pepper
* 4 teaspoons vegetable oil
* 3 medium onions, chopped
* 1 large celery rib, chopped
* 4 medium carrots, chopped
* 6 garlic cloves, minced
* 1 cup red wine
* 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
* 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
* 1/2 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
* 3 bay leaves
* 1 teaspoon dried thyme
* 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

1. Liberally season roast with salt and pepper. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Brown roast on all sides, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer roast to slow cooker.

2. Reduce heat to medium. Add remaining 2 teaspoons oil to skillet, along with onions, celery, carrots and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Transfer to slow cooker.

3. Increase heat to high. Add red wine to empty skillet, scraping up any browned bits with wooden spoon, and simmer for 5 minutes. Add tomatoes and broth, and bring to a boil. Add pepper flakes, bay leaves and thyme. Transfer to slow cooker.

4. Set slow cooker to high, cover, and cook until tender, 6 to 7 hours. Or, cook on low for 9 to 10 hours. (Check the temperature with a meat thermometer about 2 hours before the roast is supposed to be done to prevent overcooking. It will be well done at 160 degrees F.)

5. Transfer roast to carving board; loosely tent with foil to keep warm. Discard bay leaves. Allow liquid in pot to settle, about 5 minutes, then use wide spoon to skim fat off surface. Puree liquids and solids in batches in blender or food processor. (Or, use an immersion blender.) Stir in parsley, and season to taste with salt and pepper.

6. Remove strings from roast and cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Transfer meat to serving platter. Pour about 1 cup gravy over meat. Serve, passing more gravy separately.

NOTE ON REDUCING RECIPE: If you cut this recipe in half, be sure to reduce your slow-cooker time to about 4 hours on high or 8 hours on low.

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