10/15/10

6 The Boss is Coming Over for Lunch: Company Pot Roast to the Rescue!

In the midst of canning grape juice and planning to teach a roll class later that night, my husband comes home and announces that his boss is coming over for lunch...

Looking at my purple-stained hands, I frantically searched my brain..."what can I make?" and remembered that I purchased a boneless chuck roast at Winco.

A chuck roast is full of connective tissue and collagen.  If cooked correctly (low and slow), the collagen partially melts, making the flavor intensely stronger.  I've eaten a pot roast or two in my life where I have wondered...."How long do I have to chew this before I can swallow?" or "what's that piece of gristle I just ate...?"

Back to my lunch-time dilemma and Ina Garten to the rescue.  She has a Company Pot Roast that is SO easy and SO flavorful, you'd think you've died and gone to heaven.  I read many of the reviews (readers said it was too salty and made way too much sauce) on the recipe and made adjustments, omissions, and here is my version...

Tie the roast with string, pat it dry and lightly use sea salt all around it, and let it sit overnight in the fridge.

What? Salt meat before cooking?  I've heard that salt takes the moisture out of meat, but have just recently learned that the salt, from a purely scientific view, helps the meat cells hold on to water, resulting in a juicier piece of meat.    The further ahead that you season the meat, the better the distribution of the seasonings throughout the meat.  An experiment of salting meat before/after can be found HERE.

The next day, the meat is dredged in all purpose flour, pepper and nicely browned on each side in a little bit of oil.  I love my dutch oven that I bought at Sam's Club and just saw a 6qt. one at Costco for $49 ~ a must for any cook.  It keeps the foods hot for a long, long time.

The browned roast is removed while the sauce is prepared...

Carrots, onions, celery and garlic are sauteed in a little bit more oil over medium heat for 10-15 minutes.

Don't forget to scrape up those rusty brown bits.

They're full of flavor!



This recipe calls for whole tomatoes, but I opted to use my kitchen scissors and cut them up while in the can ~







This recipe also calls for Burgundy Red wine and Cognac, but I prefer to not cook with alcohol.

I found this Red Cooking Wine at Harmon's for $4.  A little pricey, but I only used 1 cup and I tell you....oh....the flavor it imparts....


Cooking wine and chicken stock are poured over the tomatoes and veggies.


I LOVE using McCormick's chicken base.  Very fresh and very easy to use.




Everything is brought to a boil while fresh thyme and rosemary are placed on top...

I dug this rosemary from my freezer in a vacuum sealed pouch.

Still as fragrant as the day I picked it ~

The browned roast is put on top of the sauce, brought to a boil, covered and put into the oven.

Another reason I love my dutch oven.  Goes from stove top to oven easily.

This is baked at 325ºF for 1 hour.  The temperature is then reduced to 250ºF for another hour and a half.


Here, you can see how much more the meat has browned, the sauce has thickened and caramelized.

I can't tell you how good the entire house smelled ~

Better than any scented candle, I tell ya ~


The roast is taken out,  the strings are cut and discarded.

Cover the roast with foil to allow the juices to distribute throughout...






Remove the rosemary and skim off as much of the fat as you can from the top of the sauce.

Ladle half of the sauce into another pan and puree it until smooth.  I love my immersion blender ($10 at a Kitchen Collection Outlet) ~ if you don't have one, use a blender or food processor.



Transfer the pureed sauce back into the pot of veggies.


Return the sauce to a low simmer.
Make a "paste" by mashing flour and butter and stir this in.









After a couple of minutes, you'll have this.


A thick, glorious, flavorful sauce with chunks of veggies for your tender pot roast...



Slice the meat against the grain for perfect thin slices; or with the grain if you prefer a shredded beef.  Serve with the sauce.

The verdict?

Holy moly...eyes roll back into the head yumminess.  Worth a second and a third helping.

The boss loved it.  My hubby loved it.  My son said, "make it again."

Want a knock~your~socks off Shepherd's Pie?

Shred up the beef, add some green beans to the sauce and mix it in a skillet.

Dollop mashed potatoes on top and sprinkle with some cheddar cheese.  Cook until cheese is all melty, bubbly and gooey.

I brought this over to my mom and dad, who loved every morsel.


Company Pot Roast
(4x6 recipe download)   (full page printable recipe)

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