Fearless Friday will return next week. I am a little behind on what I wanted to accomplish and this recipe is one of my favorites, there’s no kitchen bravery to be found only a meal that whispers comfort drenched in red wine.
A good friend of mine once asked what cut of beef should I use for a pot roast? There are several to choose from, but my favorite is the chuck roast also known as a chuck shoulder roast and I prefer bone-in. Alternately, look for bottom round or flat cut brisket. Expect about three servings a pound for each of these roasts. If you’re feeding a family of four, you’ll need at least two pounds to expect any leftovers. There are many wonderful things to create from leftover pot roast, so quit sniffing and think about these beef and cheddar hoagies for a moment.
Let’s get started.
- 1 pot roast preferably 3 – 4 lbs
- 1 tsp salt, divided
- 1 onion, sliced
- 3 cloves of garlic, peeled
- 2 cups of drinkable red wine, divided (it doesn’t have to be super fancy, but nothing you wouldn’t touch in a glass)
- 1 bay leaf
- fresh ground pepper
- optional 2 TBSP Worcestershire sauce
Kitchen utensil that isn’t necessary but sure makes life easier:
- Fat separator
Make sure your roast has thawed completely before beginning. Set it on a plate, sprinkle both sides with a pinch of salt. You’ll still have 1/2 tsp reserved to add to the sauce.
Slice your onion and peel the garlic cloves. It’s ok to use the flat of the knife to smash the clove for peeling. The garlic doesn’t need to be completely intact for this recipe, but it should be mostly whole. Part of garlic’s charm is the range of flavors that develop depending on how many cells are broken prior to cooking. When garlic is left mostly whole and slowly cooked it has a rich, almost sweet flavor, very different from the sharp flavor of quickly cooked minced garlic. If you are using a dutch oven preheat the oven to 350.
Heat a skillet over medium heat. It’s very important that your pan is hot before the roast is added. This step is crucial to the maillard reaction, which is the difference between ho-hum and please, please make this again, I’ll do the dishes, just make it again. Yes, that important. I promise, this step is worth the dirtied pan.
Once the pan is hot, add the roast and sear for two minutes. There should be some sizzling when the roast is added. If not, remove roast quickly and let the pan heat a little more. Peek after 90 seconds to make sure it’s not getting too dark. Do not wimp out and turn the roast while it’s still gray. Hang tight just a little longer. Once there is significant browning, turn the roast and let it go for another two minutes.
If you are using a slow cooker for this recipe, place the browned roast in and turn it to low. Cover. If not, remove the roast from the dutch oven and set aside for just a few moments.
Add the onion and garlic cloves to the pan and give a good stir to loosen some of the browned bits.
Then slowly add, 1 cup of the wine to the pan. You’re going to witness a lot of steam and sizzle. Don’t be scared, just stir and finish scraping up those browned bits. *Important note* Only use plastic or wooden utensils in your pans. Don’t scratch them, it just makes everything that much harder to clean later. Add a few turns from a pepper grinder or about 1/4 tsp black pepper.
Add the bay leaf and pour everything in the pan over the roast in the slow cooker. If you are going the dutch oven route, return the roast to the pot and turn it once. Scoot the onions and garlic to one side, to spoon over the top of the roast. In a slow cooker, allow this roast to cook 8 – 10 hours on low. Going the dutch oven route, you’ll let this cook for 2 to 2.5 hours at 350F. This cook time assumes the roast is 1 to 1.5 inches thick. If your roast is thicker, it will need to cook longer in the dutch oven.
Once the roast has finished cooking, set it aside and pour all of the pan juices into a fat separator. This handy device can be found in most big box stores, like Wal-mart or Target and should only run a few dollars. They are extremely handy. If you do not have one, pour the pan juices into as narrow a jar as possible and spoon off the fat. Heat a skillet over medium heat and add the pan juices. Add the 1/2 tsp salt, unless you decide to add the Worcestershire sauce which contains plenty of its own salt. Add the second cup of wine and cook down, stirring occasionally until the liquid’s volume has been reduced by half. This takes between 5 & 10 minutes. Do not abandon it and turn the heat down, if using a thin pan or if it is at a roiling boil. We just want to simmer it, not scorch the bottom.