Classic Pot Roast

On a recent trip back home from the mountains, I got a severe longing for fall. A crisp breeze, golden sunlight in the late afternoon and the smell of rich foods roasting in the oven. I decided then and there that I would bake something with apples and something with a roast. (the apples will come later)

As fate would have it, a violent thunderstorm crashed the city that afternoon and made me want to snuggle deeper into my fall memories. After a therapeutic few hours of cleaning, I began chopping my onions, carrots, celery and leeks that would create the base for this fabulous roast that I would totally serve to company.

Simmering in red wine, stewed tomatoes, rosemary and thyme, the chuck roast becomes tender and soft on the fork. Just wonderful on top of Grant’s famous creamer potatoes (mashed with just a pat of butter and some chicken stock).

Adapted from Barefoot Contessa, again (who else would I trust to use chicken bouillon?)

Classic Pot Roast

Ingredients:

  • 1 (2-4-pound) boneless beef chuck roast, tied
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • All-purpose flour
  • Good olive oil
  • 2 cups chopped carrots (4 carrots)
  • 2 cups chopped yellow onions (2 onions)
  • 2 cups chopped celery (4 stalks)
  • 2 cups chopped leeks, white and light green parts (3 leeks)
  • 5 large garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
  • 2 cups good red wine, plus 2 T
  • 1 (28-ounce) can whole plum tomatoes in puree
  • 1 cup good-quality chicken stock
  • 1 chicken bouillon cube
  • 3 branches fresh thyme
  • 2 branches fresh rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Pat the beef dry with a paper towel. Season the roast all over with  salt and pepper. Dredge the whole roast in flour, including the ends. In a large Dutch oven, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add the roast and sear for 4 to 5 minutes, until nicely browned. Turn and sear the other side and then turn and sear the ends. This should take 4 to 5 minutes for each side. Remove the roast to a large plate.

Add 2 tablespoons more olive oil to the Dutch oven. Add the carrots, onions, celery, leeks, garlic, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper and cook over medium heat for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender but not browned. Add the wine and bring to a boil. Add the tomatoes, chicken stock, bouillon cube, 1 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Tie the thyme and rosemary together with kitchen string and add to the pot. Put the roast back into the pot, bring to a boil, and cover. Place in the oven for 2 to 2 1/2 hours, until the meat is fork tender or about 160 degrees F internally. Turn the heat down to 250 degrees F after about an hour of cooking to keep the sauce at a simmer.

Remove the roast to a cutting board. Remove the herb bundle and discard. Skim off as much fat as possible from the sauce. Place the pot on the stovetop over low heat, and return the sauce to a simmer. Place 2 tablespoons flour and the butter in a small bowl and mash them together with a fork. Stir into the sauce and simmer for 2 minutes, stirring until thickened. Taste for seasonings. Remove the strings from the roast, and slice the meat. Serve warm with the sauce spooned over it.

I reduced the salt she called for and didn’t take the extra step to puree some of the vegetables – I like thick chunks of everything in there. But puree if you wish! Won’t change the fact that the sauce is delicious and rich and the roast is nice and tender. Serve with your favorite mashed potatoes or crusty bread to mop up the drippings!

Enjoy, friends! xoxo

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