Sunday, November 9, 2008

Beef Pot Roast

So Anne thought that this is one that needed to be blogged because perhaps there are people who are wishing they had paid closer attention when their mothers (or in my home father) were preparing this staple of Mormon Sunday evening cuisine.
It is a very simple dish to prepare, but takes time.
There are of course a million ways to do it, but I will set forth some basics to help you out.
First of all--the meat. A chuck roast is what I have in this picture. It has more marbling (fat running throught the meat) and yields a more tender, fall-apart-with-a-fork finished product than a rump roast does. Rump roasts are good too, just different.
Basically, all that you really need to do is salt the roast liberally, then throw it in a dutch oven with the lid on, or some other oven-safe, coverable vessel and let the oven work for 4-5 hours at 300 degrees or so.
That said, the way I like to do it is to brown the meat first in the pot on the stovetop. Cover the bottom of the pot with a little oil, then brown all sides of the roast. Make sure to get it a nice deep brown--this will enhance the flavor and help lay the foundation for a good gravy.
After the roast is browned, I remove it and deglaze the pan (add some liquid and use a spatula or whisk to scrape all the little browned bits off the pan )with a little brandy or sherry (water or beef broth would work too--1/2 cup or so) and line the bottom of the pan with two thickly-sliced onions and a handful of peeled, quartered carrots. I put the roast on top of the veggies, cover the pot, and toss it in the oven (are my two-year-old's nursery rhymes affecting my vernacular?) for 4 to 5 hours at 300 degrees.
Now on to the gravy. I find that one roast never yields all the drippings I need to make enough gravy for all the mashed potatoes I need to accompany a whole roast. So I add about 1 1/2 cups of beef broth. Gravy made entirely from broth tastes like the stuff at Hometown Buffet, but with the veggie-flavored drippings, the gravy still turns out very homemade tasting. Remove the roast and the veggies and add the broth to the pot. Bring it up to a boil.
Put 1 cup of milk in a Mason jar, then add 3 heaping tbsp of flour, put the lid on, then shake it as hard as you possibly can until you are convinced there could not be any flour lumps left.
Add half of the mixture and whisk it in and bring it back to a boil. You can never tell how much effect a thickener will have until it boils. Then gradually add more until it's as thick as you like it. Taste it and adjust the seasonings.
I'll leave the mashed potatoes up to you with just this one suggestion: salt them. If the taters are properly seasoned, the gravy has less work to do. Leaving your potatoes without salt is like baking a cake without sugar and expecting the frosting to pick up all the slack.
Feel free to ask any questions or leave tips on how you like to do it.


Jacque said...

I would make this anonymous if you would let me but since only Anne knows me I am kinda anonymous to you...What do you mean by deglazing the pan. I don't watch the Food Network channel so I am unfamiliar with this term. Looks so yummy by the way. If it wasn't 10 p.m. and I actually had a chuck roast I'd make it right now!

Mrs. Cropper said...

When you cook meat and other things things, you end up with a lot of little browned bits stuck to the pan. These little caramelized bits pack a lot of flavor punch and deglazing is how we invite them back into the party. To deglaze, you add a little bit of liquid, usually either some alcohol, like wine or brandy, or some stock. The steam releases all those little flavor granules from the pan and lets them join your sauce. If you're using alcohol on a gas stove--be careful, this is how chefs do those flame-ups you see on TV. they are deglazing, and when the alcohol hits the pan, it instantly vaporizes and burns off.

Jacque said...

Cool party trick...thanks!

Mrs. Cropper said...

(that was taylor. i don't know that much about food. :) )

Sunshine Girl said...

Taylor... that looks so scrumptious! I'm going to try it this weekend. If it works... I'll post pictures... if it doesn't I'll try and figure out what I did wrong. Thanks for commenting on the pictures. I'm hoping to go and get some more sometime in the next week while the leaves are down and there isn't snow... We love you guys! Hope you are well and tell Anne I may have to make a doiley to go on her mantle ;)

Barry and Shannon said...

i'm so glad that i read this after i put my own roast in the crockpot this morning or i'd be salivating. a can of cream of mushroom soup really helps make a delicious gravy too.

Carrie said...

Oh Heavens Taylor!! This is what we had for dinner tonight, TOTALLY AMAZING!!! I have never made gravy with milk, I've always used cornstarch and water - I LOVE the milk and flour gravy AMAZING!! This is a great recipe and it's now a staple in our home, thank you.

Please tell Anne I said hello, I hope your family is doing great. We're expecting our 3rd in a few weeks...I can't wait, another girl!

Jody Zimmer said...

i'm still waiting for a dinner invitation. this food looks amazing.

Melvina said...

Grandma Tillie is looking over your blog. We are both drulling. Everything looks soooo good, as usual.