It’s well and truly fall, continued…
November 15, 2015
…because I have cooked a pot roast.
And a fine pot roast it was. (Local, pastured, grass-fed and grain-finished beef from Nine Oaks Farm makes a big difference, I might add.) Child A and I enjoyed it greatly, and will likely enjoy it again tomorrow, and will enjoy vegetable beef soup from it later on this week.
There are no photos of said pot roast. Because it looks like a pot roast, and all of ’em, at least all of mine, look alike, and that ain’t too photogenic. No matter. They’re wonderful.
To reiterate the “how you make a fine pot roast” thread, so’s to keep you ‘n y’mama ‘n ’em from having to look it up in the archives, here’s how.
Get yourself a chuck roast, or a shoulder roast, or an arm roast. All those are different names for a cut that comes from the upper forequarter of the cow. Look for one that’s well-marbled (has little veins of fat running through it. I prefer bone-in, for flavor purposes, but a boneless one will certainly work. The one I dug out of the freezer today was a shoulder roast, with a big ol’ cross-section of femur through it. (More on that femur later.)
Thaw that roast, and salt and pepper him liberally. Brown him in a medium hot skillet in a little olive oil, for about five minutes on a side — you want a nice brown sear — and remove him to your baking dish.
Peel 4 to 8 potatoes a little bigger than your fist (depending on the size of your fist; a little bigger than MY fist). If they’re much bigger than that, cut them in half. Space them around the edge of the roast. It’s ideal if your baking dish is large enough you can get them down beside the roast, but if it’s not, they can lie on top around the edge.
Peel five or six big carrots and cut them in two to three inch chunks. Scatter those about the edge amongst the potatoes.
Peel and quarter an onion; put those quarters at the compass points.
Salt the veggies down with seasoned salt.
Pour about a cup of red wine over the roast, and follow that up with several liberal dashes of Worcestershire sauce. Add enough water so you can see it within a half-inch or so of the top edge of the roast. If you want, and have it, cut a sprig of rosemary and lay it on top of the roast.
Cover the whole thing in foil, crimping tightly around the edges of the dish. Stick it in a 300-degree oven and go to church (presuming it’s Sunday when you are cooking your pot roast).
Come home from church and swoon at the heavenly fragrance wafting through your house. Because nothing smells any better than a pot roast that’s been baking for several hours. (Unless maybe it’s homemade bread. Or sugar cookies.) I put mine in about 7:30, and left it until about 1, just to be on the safe side.
It was near perfection. It was Sweet Baby Jesus good, as my pot roasts always are, because I start with good beef and use a very nearly fail-safe, simple method. It will not be AS good with grocery store beef — but it won’t be half bad, either.
It also, as a bonus, makes a marvelous jus that you can separate off, thicken, and make a marvelous gravy, if you want to serve it the second time as a hot roast beef sandwich (the old-fashioned open face kind, over white bread and mashed potatoes). Or you can serve it as is as a dipping sauce for a bun filled with shredded beef — debris po’boy, anyone? Or you can do what I plan to do with mine, which is to use it as a tremendous flavor enhancer for the vegetable soup I’m going to make Tuesday.
But whatever you do, if your roast happens to have that cross-section of femur in it, be sure you scoop out the bone marrow and add it to what you’re saving. Because that’s just pure flavor.
To make that soup — Take two cans of tomatoes, and a can of tomato sauce. Because I use my home-canned tomatoes, I usually take the stick blender to them, not to necessarily puree them, but just to get them fairly consistent in texture. Shred the leftover beef and toss it in, picking out all the fat. Dice up the leftover potatoes and carrots and onions, and add those. Add a bag of frozen mixed vegetables. Play with the seasonings — I usually add some more Worcestershire, or even some soy sauce fish sauce to give it that bass note of salty savoriness. A little cayenne does not go amiss. Paprika brightens it up. A little rosemary, particularly if you didn’t cook any with the roast originally, adds much to it.
That, with a grilled pimiento cheese with bacon sandwich, is possibly the most sublime meal one can serve on a cold, wet evening. It crawls around inside you and warms you up all the way through.
You ‘n y’mama ‘n ’em get busy and make this. It’s that time of year.