Monday, October 5, 2009

Recipe for Pot Roast

A simple, and simply delicious, recipe for the classic comfort food: pot roast.

I don't know about you, but let the weather drop just ten or fifteen degrees and, immediately, I start thinking pot roast. Even a slight chill in the air puts me in mind of root vegetables and long, slowly simmered, dishes of the savory sort. Pot roast is the ultimate fall comfort food.

Though I've made it dozens of time, I don't think I've ever made it the same way twice. Sometimes I'll use a crock pot, sometimes a roasting bag; sometimes with potatoes, sometimes without ... all depends on what I've got on hand. Last week I chose to simmer it in the oven and skip the potatoes. Instead, I've included a veritable cornucopia of root vegetables: carrots, turnips, parsnips and butternut squash. Feel free to vary the veggies according to your own desires. Almost anything and everything will work well in this dish.

Please don't be put off by the long list of ingredients here. The dish comes together quickly. My advice is to chop and prep all of the vegetables before you begin browning the meat. A little chopping, a little mixing and once its in the oven, your work is done!

Basic Pot Roast:
  • one 4 to 5 pound beef rump roast, tied
  • salt, pepper and some Essence of Emeril for seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 large cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 medium onion, peeled, halved and sliced
  • 1/3 cup of Vin Santo or a dry sherry
  • 3/4 cup red wine
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 3 (whole) large sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 1 large bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons unseasoned rice wine vinegar
  • one 14 ounce can of petite diced tomatoes
  • 3 large carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 2 large parsnips, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 2 medium white turnips, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup of peeled, chopped butternut squash (1 inch pieces)
  • 1 cup of vegetable broth
  • 1 cup of low-sodium beef broth
  • some chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees F.

Heat the oil in a large, heavy (3 or 4 quart) dutch oven over medium-high heat until it is hot, but not smoking. While the oil heats, rub the entire surface of the meat with a bit of salt, freshly ground black pepper and some Essence of Emeril. Add the seasoned meat to the pan and brown on all sides. Transfer the roast to a plate, and to the dutch oven add the garlic and onions. Saute, over medium-high heat, for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the onions just begin to soften. Add the Vin Santo, or sherry, and the red wine and allow the mixture to come to the boil, stirring well with a wooden spoon and scraping up the browned bits from the bottom and sides of the pan, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the tomato paste and stir well to combine.

Add the whole sprigs of thyme, the bay leaf, paprika, Worcestershire Sauce, rice wine vinegar and the can of petite diced tomatoes with their juice, stirring well to combine. Return the browned roast to the pan and nestle the carrots, parsnips, turnips and squash around the roast. Pour the vegetable broth and the beef broth over the roast and vegetables. Cover the pot with the lid and transfer to a pre-heated 350 degree oven. Roast until fork-tender, about 3 hours, turning the meat once mid-way through roasting (after an hour and a half).

Transfer the meat to a cutting board and tent with foil. Allow the meat to rest for a few minutes before slicing. Using a pair of tongs, remove the bay leaf and the thyme stems from the roasting pan, then keep the accumulated gravy and root vegetables warm by simmering on top of the stove over low heat while you slice the roast.

To serve: slice the roast and over it pour the gravy and the simmered vegetables. Garnish with some chopped fresh parsley if desired.

As written, this recipe will serve 6.

If desired, you may choose to thicken the resulting gravy by either reducing it for a few minutes or add a beurre manie. Personally, I can't be bothered with that. The resulting liquid is so deliciously fragrant and flavorful, I want to get right to the table! Do as you see fit.

I like to serve the pot roast over some cooked whole wheat noodles or some creamy grits or polenta, though mashed potatoes would work equally well. This is a hearty, wholesome and altogether satisfying meal that's well worth the bit of effort in chopping and peeling. I can't think of a better way to usher in the first crisp days of autumn. I hope you'll try it!

Bon appetite!


stephchows said...

my boyfriend in high school... his mom always made pot roast... and I never liked it, so was always coming up with excuses not to go over LOL :D I haven't had it in so many years, I really should give it a go again :)

vilges suola said...

Brilliant - I'm going to make one this weekend, the weather's just right. But what on earth is Essence of Emeril? (I'm British) And what would be a substitute for it?

The Diva on a Diet said...

Steph - That's so funny! You should revisit, because its so very scrumptious! I love, love pot roast. Who knows, may be you will now too?! :)

Vilges Suola - good question! I should have qualified. Essence of Emeril is a seasoned salt ... he's a TV chef here and its one of his products. You can skip it altogether and just use salt and pepper. Or, if there is a spice, or seasoning mix you like, just substitute that instead. Sorry about that! :)

Laura said...

It is seriously time for pot roast up here we will have snow soon and it's cold! I have never added parsnips before but you can bet I will now. Thanks for the idea.
I wish we could hang out at the foodbuzz eat a thon in Nov.

The Diva on a Diet said...

Laura - lalalala,la, I can't hear you ... I hate snow! LOL

Seriously, though, do add the parsnips. They're awesome when braised like this and they add such flavor to the gravy. I love, love them! I'm kicking myself about the FB eat-a-thon next month too. Ugh! You'll just have to come to NYC in August!?! ;)

Deb said...

I'm not much of a beef eater BUT I love love love pot roast - it is my idea of comfort food. My method is a little different from yours but the end result is a melt in your mouth fall apart tender hunk of meaty goodness - too bad it's still too hot here to think of this kind of food,maybe in a few more weeks we'll get a cold snap LOL!

Ann (Healthy Tasty Chow) said...

This looks delicious! Pot roast is something my husband likes (I do too but it has to be exceptional)- and this looks like it is exceptional!
Regarding the Tastemaker thing- I don't get lots of stuff that other people are reviewing either- so I'm not sure why that is? Random or if there's a reason.

Donna-FFW said...

There is no replacement for pot roast, yours sounds wonderful, comforting, and so delicious. I have been using Tyler Florences most recently, I may try this next time, I love all that goes into it!

sam said...

i have been looking for a pot roast recipe for so long! i always ate it growing up and i miss it! i am stealing this recipe and i am finally going to quench my craving!

Maven said...

This looks absolutely fabulous! I'm always looking for agood pot roast recipe and will definitely try this.

nora@ffr said...

woohooo!! want it right now!! drooling already!

Daniel said...

Hi Diva, I have a question for you... you talk about how you can make this pot roast several ways (crockpot, dutch oven, roasting bag, etc). Is using the dutch oven the way you prefer, and do you suggest any tweaks to the recipe if using a crockpot? Thanks for another great recipe idea!

PS: I'm squeamish about parsnips a bit myself...

Casual Kitchen

Fresh Local and Best said...

I like the 'set it and forget it' aspect of your pot roast recipe. Thanks for sharing!

thewholegang said...

That looks delicious. I love pot roast. Must be a northern thing. My husband is not as big of a fan as I am. Recipe looks all gluten free too as long as the stocks and Emeril are GF. I like to use arrowroot to thicken gravy. It's gluten free and it gives the sauce a shine so you can cut down on oil but it won't look like it. You're looks so good I'm getting hungry.

Karine said...

Your pot roast sounds delicious! Thanks for sharing :)

Anonymous said...

Pure comfort! Pot roast looks just perfect!

Dr Zibbs said...


gfe--gluten free easily said...

Pot roast is a fabulous comforting dish, especially with the temp drop. If you do it in the oven, there's the added benny of warming the house. :-) Yours looks terrific! Thanks so much for sharing the recipe.


Laila said...

Looks delicious ..
Laila ..

nora@ffr said...

ooohhhhh!! m loving this pot roast!! yumm yumm!!! just beyond impressive!

smartchic said...

this reminds me of my grandma, who cooks superb pot roast. and same here, it is our fave fall comfort food, and we usually eat it with mashed potatoes. :)