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Sunday, March 3, 2013

Pot Roast for Dinner

I know I complain about the weather a lot.  It's not my fault.  My husband moved me to the polar zone from Southern California ten years ago and I've either been too hot, or more often too cold, ever since.  Some might blame it on the The Change of Life, but I'd rather blame Ted.  It's so much more convenient.

In any case, it's March and it's still freezing.  It's icy and snowy outside.  Frankly, I'd be happy if I didn't have to leave my house until the spring thaw.  But judging from what it looks like outside, that could be a long time and we'd run out of food. Or laundry detergent.

Cold weather, in my opinion, calls for cold weather food.  And what's better than pot roast when you're freezing to death?

A couple of years ago, I made the Pioneer Woman's pot roast.  It was okay... nothing special.  This led me to make several other pot roasts in my search for the most delicious pot roast.  Let me tell you, if you've ever googled "pot roast", you would know that you get as many results as you do for say Kate Middleton.

It's funny how the perfect thing, or the perfect recipe in this case, was right under my nose.  That's right.  I proclaim Ina Garten's Company Pot Roast to be the most delicious pot roast of all.

Here's the thing about Ina's pot roast.  It's simple.  It's the kind of pot roast my mother would have made, had my mother actually ever made a pot roast.  It's got the carrots and the celery.  It's also got a hearty splash of booze, red wine and Cognac.  What's not better with a little booze?

Company Pot Roast is just what you need on a cold winter night... even if you're not having company.

Make sure to check out today's post on My Year of Unspending.

Recipe:  Company Pot Roast
Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics, 2008


1 (4 to 5-pound) prime boneless beef chuck roast, tied
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
All-purpose flour
Good olive oil
2 cups chopped carrots (4 carrots)
2 cups chopped yellow onions (2 onions)
2 cups chopped celery (4 stalks)
2 cups chopped leeks, white and light green parts (2 to 4 leeks)
5 large garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
2 cups good red wine, such as Burgundy
2 tablespoons Cognac or brandy
1 (28-ounce) can whole plum tomatoes in puree
1 cup chicken stock, preferably homemade
1 chicken bouillon cube
3 branches fresh thyme
2 branches fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature


Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Pat the beef dry with a paper towel. Season the roast all over with 1 tablespoon salt and 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper. Dredge the whole roast in flour, including the ends. In a large Dutch oven, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add the roast and sear for 4 to 5 minutes, until nicely browned. Turn and sear the other side and then turn and sear the ends. This should take 4 to 5 minutes for each side. Remove the roast to a large plate.

Add 2 tablespoons olive oil to the Dutch oven. Add the carrots, onions, celery, leeks, garlic, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper and cook over medium heat for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender but not browned. Add the wine and Cognac and bring to a boil. Add the tomatoes, chicken stock, bouillon cube, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Tie the thyme and rosemary together with kitchen string and add to the pot. Put the roast back into the pot, bring to a boil, and cover. Place in the oven for 2 1/2 hours, until the meat is fork tender or about 160 degrees F internally. Turn the heat down to 250 degrees F after about an hour to keep the sauce at a simmer.

Remove the roast to a cutting board. Remove the herb bundle and discard. Skim off as much fat as possible from the sauce. Transfer half the sauce and vegetables to a blender or a food processor fitted with the steel blade and puree until smooth. Pour the puree back into the pot, place on the stovetop over low heat, and return the sauce to a simmer. Place 2 tablespoons flour and the butter in a small bowl and mash them together with a fork. Stir into the sauce and simmer for 2 minutes, stirring until thickened. Taste for seasonings. Remove the strings from the roast, and slice the meat. Serve warm with the sauce spooned over it.

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