Cold weather fix-all

Braised Chuck Roast

Braised Chuck Roast

Since this takes a while I can post this with instructions. I use a dutch oven, the original CrockPot, so you can move the oven rack to the bottom 3rd and pre heat at 300 degrees.

Puzzling out the chuck roast

The size of your roast is dictated by three things: how big of a crowd you have, the size of your pot and do you love a sandwich made with the leftovers. This one was about 3 pounds. While you are prepping your vegetables salt and pepper the roast. I also had some rosemary that had dried so I ground it up in my hand and rubbed that in too.

Veggie love

Here is what I used but that is because it was all on hand. I will say though that one time I used turnips and carrots and it was too sweet.

  • One large onion, peeled and cut into 8ths (leave part of the root on the end to hold it together
  • 6 carrots, peeled and sliced into 2 inch chunks
  • 7 small potatoes, skin on (slice them if you nee/d to for uniform size
  • 3 cloves garlic peeled and left whole
  • large handful of sliced mushrooms
  • chopped pancetta or bacon

This is all done in your dutch oven so it is truly a one pot meal. If you start with the onions and work down the list you can brown and prep as you go. I brown everything a bit so it has nice color when it is done. Just add a little olive oil as needed to the pot. As each one is done pull it out and save it on a platter to the side. You are not cooking the vegetables, just browning them for effect.

Prep the roast – again

If your roast is “loose” then you can use kitchen twine to tie it up like a package you are prepping for the post. Next, after you have browned all of the vegetables and pancetta put the roast in the pan and let each side sear. If you have not done this before the temptation is to babysit and hover, turning the meat (or veggies for that matter) every few seconds. If you are one of those folks go make a cup of tea or open a bottle of red wine (you will need it in a minute anyway). Just let it sit on medium hi heat and get that nice brown (not black) crust before you flip it and repeat on the other side. After each side has a nice brown crust tuck all of your vegetables around the side of the roast.

Cooking fluid

When you finally pull this from the oven it may be all you can do to not drink this up with a straw and throw out the rest. At first it’s “eh”. That said, there are no hard rules for this step. This is what I used today:

  • 1 (14 ounce) can chopped roasted tomatoes
  • 1.5 cups of zinfandel although any dry red wine would do
  • 2.5 cups (or so) of beef broth

Pour this over the roast and vegetable mix. It should come up the sides of the roast most of the way but not cover. Stuff in 2 bay leaves along with everything else. If you have any parchment paper place a piece over the roast and tuck it down against the roast and vegetables. It creates a little barrier so the top does not get dried out. Put the cover on your dutch oven and put it in the oven. If it stays at a hard simmer lower the oven temp. This is a slow process so the meat will get fork tender.

Only a few hours to go….

This part of the meal is almost the best part. My house is smelling great about now and I am getting hungry (all in caps). The braising time will depend on the size of your roast. For a smaller roast 2.5 hours might be enough but a larger roast may need as much as 4 or 5. To test for doneness pull at it with a fork. If it is tender and ready it should pull apart.

In anticipation of the actual meal:

When it is done pull it from the pot carefully so it does not break apart and place it on a platter. If you think the vegetables are too cooked (I love them) puree them with a wand right in the pot and you will have a great sauce to serve on the side. I think today I will be doing that and serving it with egg noodles and a green salad. If you hava a lemon on hand a little grated lemon rind over the top right when you serve adds a nice bright note. Enjoy. I am going to check my roast right now and get the table set.

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