Chef’s Notes: Pot roast was not on my list of favorite foods. In my experience, it was always dry, tough, and flavorless so I never bothered to try to cook it myself.
The local market had shoulder roast (the cut for pot roast) on sale this week for $1.99 a pound. Cheaper than ground beef! So I decided to see if I could cook it and make it edible. Some googling revealed that the best way to cook pot roast is braising – browned and then simmered in a small amount of liquid. I took some ideas from some different recipes and created a concoction. YumO! Seriously, how did I not know how delicious pot roast could be?
Perfect Pot Roast
2# shoulder beef roast
4 – 6 cloves garlic
1 T. olive oil
One medium or large yellow onion, sliced
1 C. red wine (Do NOT use cooking wine. The quality of your wine is the quality of your food…and cooking wine is about the lowest quality there is. I used a spiced wine from a local winery.)
Season the roast the night before cooking. Cut the ends off the garlic cloves and peel. If they’re bigger cloves, cut them in half lengthwise. (They should be about the width of your pinky finger.) Cut small slits in the roast and slide in the garlic cloves. (The slits should be deep enough that the garlic isn’t visible, but not so deep that the garlic pops out the other side.) Sprinkle the roast on both sides with spices – I used salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, thyme, and Penzy’s Mural of Flavor blend – and rub in. Place the roast on a plate, cover, and refrigerate overnight.
The next day, heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium high heat. Add the roast and brown 3 to 4 minutes on each side. For the most even and complete browning, do not move it until ready to flip. When the roast is browned, turn the heat down to the lowest possible setting (warm or simmer). Slip the onion slices under the roast and then pour wine over the meat. Toss in a few bay leaves. Cover the pan with a tight-fitting lid; if your lid doesn’t fit tightly, wrap foil over the top of pan before placing the lid on.
Cook for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours (45 minutes per pound). The meat is done when it is tender when pierced with a fork, or when a meat thermometer reads 170 degrees. About halfway through cooking time, check to make sure there’s enough liquid. (I threw some carrots in the pot at this point.) Ideally, the meat should be releasing enough juices and the cooking temperature should be low enough that you won’t need to add any liquid.