Yesterday being Valentine’s Day, I volunteered to cook dinner. Pot roast is what I had in mind, hearty fare for a special day (see what I did there?), and I’d planned to break out the pressure cooker for it. It’s been years since I last used it, though, and I worried the seal inside the cover might need to be replaced first. I decided instead to use a Dutch oven, even though it would take a little longer. Hey, it’s not like I had anything better to do with my afternoon.
I looked at several recipes online, all of which were similar, and added a few tweaks of my own. The meat turned out melt-in-your-mouth tender, and the vegetables were perfect. Without further ado, here’s how I did it.
Preheat the oven to 300°F. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large Dutch oven (I use a Le Crueset). Season both sides of the meat with salt and pepper. Sear the meat on both sides in the Dutch oven, remove it to a plate and set it aside.
Reduce the heat under the Dutch oven to medium, keeping the oil you seared the meat in. Add the onions and sauté until golden, about 5 minutes, then add the garlic and sauté another minute. Leaving the onions and garlic in the Dutch oven, add the wine and use a wooden spoon to scrape in any cooked bits sticking to the bottom and sides. Add beef broth, Worcestershire sauce, thyme, rosemary, and bay leaf. Stir in the tomato paste. Bring the liquid to a low boil, then put the meat back in, along with any juices that collected in the plate it was resting on. Use the wooden spoon to move the onions out of the way so that the meat is about half covered in the liquid, and to make it pretty, fish out the springs of thyme and rosemary and lay them on top of the meat.
Place the lid on the Dutch oven and put it in the 300°F oven for 1 1/2 hours. When a few minutes remain on the timer, clean your potatoes and peel and cut the carrots and parsnip. Take the Dutch oven out, remove the lid (don’t forget it’s hot!), and add the vegetables. Put the lid back on the Dutch oven and return it to the 300°F oven for another 2 hours.
When done, place the meat on a platter or in a casserole dish, arrange the potatoes, carrots, and parsnip slices around it, and spoon some of the liquid over everything.
I like to use small potatoes of different colors, the kind you buy in packs at the grocery store. Rather than peel and cut up my own carrots, I used prepared ones, the kind the stores call baby carrots (also sold in packs) The onions and garlic are there to add flavor to the meat and don’t look very pretty after the cooking is done, so you may, like me, elect not to fish them out and arrange them with the other vegetables on the platter. Removing the chuck roast from the Dutch oven in one piece after cooking requires some thought. I wound up working two hard rubber spatulas under the meat, one from each side, forming a cradle underneath.
Total time, including prep? About 4 1/2 hours. And Donna loved her Valentine’s Day dinner!
About Crouton deMenthe Amateur cook and barbecue fanatic.