Pot roast is one of those Sunday dinner meals my mom used to make. I always enjoyed the flavor, but I never tried to make one in my young adult life. No single person, living in NYC, has any business making a whole roast. Who’s gonna eat it? And there’s no space to store the leftovers in your dorm-sized fridge. So when I moved to Wisteria Lane (the street was actually named Portside, but some days sure felt like a strange episode of Desperate Housewives), I decided to go for it. The first time I made it, I went to the market and bought meat, veggies and one of those flavor packets. I followed the instructions, popped it in the oven, and that was that. I’m not saying it tasted bad…it was just okay. It tasted exactly like what it was: store bought pot roast. I knew I could do better than that. I wanted something more homemade. I flipped through a few cookbooks looking for the perfect recipe. I combined elements of many recipes to create a pot roast that I could brag about.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Before you cook the roast, sit it on the counter for about 15 minutes to bring it to room temperature and pat it completely dry with a paper towel. Doing both of these things will give the roast a rich brown color. Generously season the roast with salt and pepper.
Pour olive oil in a dutch oven on medium high heat. Sear the roast on both sides. This will take about 3 minutes on each side. Don’t move the meat while it’s cooking. When the roast is brown on both sides, remove it from the pan and set it aside.
Now add a bit more oil to the dutch oven. Add the carrots, onions, celery and minced garlic. Sauté the veggies until they start to soften. Don’t cook them all the way. There will be plenty of time for that.
When the veggies are nice and hot, pour in the chicken stock. Some recipes suggest using beef stock. I think chicken stock gives the roast a richer flavor. Pour in the red wine; then add the bay leaf, thyme, and bit more salt and pepper. Bring the liquid to a boil. At this point, you can either add the roast back to the dutch oven with the stock and veggies, or you can transfer everything to a roasting pan or slow cooker. Whichever way you choose, cook the roast slowly for about about 5 hours. Now you can tackle some laundry, read a book or watch some good bad TV. Isn’t that what Sundays are for?
When there are about 20 minutes left, mash together 1 tablespoon of softened butter with 1 tablespoon of flour. Add the mixture to the liquid of the roast. You will be amazed at how quickly the liquid transforms into a velvety sauce. Yummy! When the sauce thickens, it’s ready to serve.
Serve your pot roast with cabbage. You have to because my mom says so.
- 1 3-4 pound pot roast
- 4 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 medium red onion, coarsely chopped
- 1 cup carrots, coarsely chopped
- 1 cup celery, coarsely chopped
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 1/2 cup dry red wine
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tablespoon thyme
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
- 1 tablespoon flour
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
- Dry the meat thoroughly with paper towels.
- Season roast with half the kosher salt and pepper.
- Pour half the olive oil into a dutch oven on medium high heat.
- Sear roast on both sides, about 5 minutes on each side.
- When the meat is brown on both sides, transfer it to a dish.
- Now add more the rest of the olive oil to the dutch oven.
- Add carrots, onions, celery and minced garlic.
- Sauté vegetables until they start to soften. Don't let the garlic burn.
- When the vegetables become aromatic and start to soften, pour in chicken stock and red wine.
- Then add the bay leaf and thyme.
- Bring the liquid to a boil.
- Return the roast to the dutch oven with the vegetables and cover.
- Put the roast in the oven to cook slowly for about 5 hours
- When about 20 minutes remain, mash together 1 tablespoon of softened butter with 1 tablespoon of flour.
- Dissolve mixture to the liquid of the roast. Taste and season with remaining salt and pepper, if desired.
- Return roast to the oven for the remainder of the cooking time.
- When the sauce thickens, it's ready to serve.