Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Home-Style Pot Roast

A pot roast is a cut of beef that is first browned and then braised in some liquid until tender, often with vegetables in a covered pot. This recipe turns a simple shoulder roast into a scrumptiously tender and filling pot roast. Good for any time of the year, this recipe is especially great during those cold, rainy days when you just want to stay in and enjoy your family. At least to me it is :). The beauty of this dish is that all the cooking takes pace in one pot, making clean-up a breeze. Here's how you make it...

Serving Size: Feeds 4-6 comfortably.

-A pair of kitchen tongs.
-A heavy 8 Oz. skillet, Dutch oven or saucepan with a tight-fitting lid.
-Large plate or platter.
-Cutting board.
-Sharp knife.

-2 1/2- 3lb. boneless beef shoulder roast that has been sitting covered, at room temperature for at least 30 minutes. Don't cook it straight from the fridge or your beef with seize when it comes into contact with the hot pan and result in a tough pot roast-blech!)
-3 medium yellow onions, quartered (leave the roots attached to keep the onions together. See pic).
-4 cloves of garlic, minced.
-2 celery ribs, cubed.
-3 large carrots, washed, peeled and cut diagonally (see pics.).
-6-8 small red potatoes (clean the skin thoroughly with a vegetable brush or nail brush and leave the skin on).
-1/2 a red bell pepper, cubed (red capsicum).
-1/2 a green pepper, cubed (green capsicum).
-6 peeled grape-shaped tomatoes, chopped (I used a 28Oz. can, but drained and reserved the liquid).
-3 tablespoons vegetable oil (I use Canola).
-1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce (optional).
-1/2 cup of a dry red wine (I use merlot).
-1 cup beef broth (If you're not using wine to cook, use 1 1/2 cups of beef broth to replace the wine).
-1 cup tomato juice (I used the tomato juice from the canned tomatoes).
-1 bay leaf.
-1 teaspoon sweet paprika (optional).
-1 tablespoon dry oregano.
-1 tablespoon salt (for seasoning your roast)
-1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (for seasoning your roast).
-1/4 cup all-purpose flour.
-3 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley, chopped.
-1 tablespoon cornstarch (corn flour). This is optional. See the tip at the bottom of the page.

-Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit (190 degrees Celcius). If you do not have an oven, see the note at the bottom of the "Instructions" section.
-On medium heat, heat 2 tablespoons of the cooking oil in your cooking vessel ( I used a cast-iron Dutch oven. These brown meat beautifully!)
-On your large plate or platter, sprinkle the flour, salt and pepper; mix these three ingredients well with a fork.
-Roll the roast around on the platter to season it; shake off any excess flour.
-When the oil looks as if it's glistening in your pot (indicator that the oil is hot), add the roast and cook, turning it occasionally.
All the sides of the roast should be browned (don't forget to hold up your roast  using kitchen tongs and brown the ends as well). This should take about 8 minuets total. Once the roast is browned on all sides, transfer it to a plate and set it aside.
-Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil to the pot and heat it over medium-high heat. Add the onions, cover and cook, stirring occasionally until the onions soften and turn light brown. Be careful not to burn the onions. This should take about 3 minutes.
-Add the garlic and stir, and cook for about 2 minutes (take care not to burn your garlic or it will give your pot roast a bitter taste).
-Stir in the celery, cover and cook for about 3 minutes.
-Add in the carrots and cook for an additional 3 minutes.
-Add the wine, stock (or just stock if you choose to omit the wine),tomatoes and the parsley and stir.
-Add in the Worcestershire sauce, sweet paprika and oregano. Stir.
-Return the beef to the pot, nestling it in the vegetables; add the bay leaf to the pot.
-Bring the liquid to a boil on the stove.
-Once the liquid comes to a boil, transfer the pot containing the roast to the middle rack of the oven and cook it for 2 hours. When done, the sauce should have reduced, the vegetables should be fork-tender and the meat should pull apart easily.
NOTEIf you do not have an oven, you can allow the pot roast to simmer on the stove top for 2 hours on medium-low heat until the vegetables are fork-tender, the beef pulls apart easily and the sauce has reduced in amount.**

TIP: If you would like your sauce thicker, to can make a thickening agent made of equal parts cornstarch and liquid. I used a tablespoon of cornstarch (called corn flour in some parts of the world), and a tablespoon of the sauce from the pot roast once it started bubbling. I used a spoon to smooth out any lumps and returned the mixture into the pot.
Serving Suggestion: A lot of people like to eat pot roast on it's own as a meal. I prefer to enjoy it on a bed of basmati rice. To me, eating it this way is comfort on a plate :)