As far back that I can remember, my mom cooked mainly Filipino dishes for us. The smells of vinegar and garlic would linger in the house, and you would know that it was chicken adobo night. I wouldn't trade any of my childhood memories of food, I loved everything that my mom made for us. She always made sure we had something good to eat. There were rare occasions that she would make something out of the box for her, she never really liked to go outside her comfort box. (We would have spaghetti with hot dogs, who does that?) That's where I'm different from my mom, she cooked one genre of cooking, I like them all. Lately, I've been focusing on American comfort food, and I'm like a kid at a candy store! It's been exciting and adventurous to taste different cultures of food.
I came across Ina Garten's Pot Roast while watching one of her many loved episodes of Barefoot Contessa. I've been in love with using my dutch oven since the cold weather has slowly appeared in SoCal. This is an easy recipe to follow, and most of the ingredients were easy to find at my farmers market. This was my first opportunity to use leeks and knew that they would resemble a huge green onion with lots of sand. (Be careful and clean them well under running water). This is a great pot roast recipe, and my first try at it....this is a dish worth making.
Company Pot Roast
Adapted from Ina Garten
(4 pound) prime boneless beef chuck roast
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Good olive oil
2 cups chopped carrots (3 carrots)
2 cups chopped yellow onions
2 cups chopped celery
2 cups chopped leeks, white and light green parts
5 large garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1.5 cups good red wine, Cabernet
2 tablespoons 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
1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
2. 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.
3. 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 brandy 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.
4. Remove the roast to a cutting board. Skim off as much fat as possible from the sauce. Remove the meat from the dutch oven and using a hand processor puree half of the sauce until smooth. (I liked my chunky, so puree at your discretion). 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. Slice the meat and serve warm with the sauce spooned over it.
Review: Honestly, the best meal that I have made recently. The hubs said it should be put in my top ten list, and that it was better than my Pumpkin Beer Braised Ribs. I really had no expectations for this dish, because we have never had pot roast before. The meat was really tender from the slow roasting, and the flavors from leeks, onions, carrots and red wine were mighty tasty. The entire house was infused with the sweet smells of pot roast, a very intoxicating smell of rosemary and thyme. Thyme, I love you - you are my new favorite herb. You add so much to the dish. I didn't waste the gravy on this either, I saved it for a mashed potatoes and gravy kinda day.