Monday, January 11, 2010

Pioneer Woman's Perfect Pot Roast

This weekend I made my first ever pot roast. I wanted to make something special for Sunday dinner, and this recipe from my brand new Pioneer Woman cookbook (yay!) seemed just right. It was delicious! :) Everything turned out, and we had a nice Sunday dinner with some good friends.

After I we had sat down to eat, and I had all but polished off everything on my plate, I turned to Paul and said, "Oh no! I forgot to take a picture!" It was pretty sad. I probably wouldn't have been able to get a very good picture of it anyway, so instead here's a bright and beautiful one from

I have now tried a few recipes from her cookbook, and I'm just loving it! The recipes are down to earth and very, VERY tasty (although not necessarily low in fat ;) ).

I served the pot roast and carrots with mashed potatoes. I decided to use some tips from Pioneer Woman's recipe for the potatoes as well. I added some cream cheese and used Lawry's seasoning salt to season them instead of garlic salt like I usually use. They were very creamy and decadent. I think I would have polished off four or five servings of them if they hadn't been so filling!

Here's the recipe for the pot roast. You can find a similar recipe (though she seems to have made a few changes, mostly simplification, for the cookbook version) on Pioneer Woman's site here: Perfect Pot Roast.

Perfect Pot Roast
3-5 lb. chuck roast
2-3 T. olive oil
kosher salt
2 onions
6-8 carrots (I used all 8 and they were YUMMY)
about 2 1/2 c. beef stock
3-4 fresh rosemary sprigs**
2-3 fresh thyme sprigs

*I noticed that the recipe calls for pepper in the ingredients but never tells you to add any in the directions. You can use it to season the pot roast if you want. I actually didn't use any, and it was still delicious.

**I had three rather large sprigs of rosemary, and the flavor ended up being a little strong. I think I'll use smaller sprigs next time.

Preheat oven to 275 degrees.

Heat a large pot or Dutch oven (if only I had a Dutch oven! ;) ) over medium-high heat. Add olive oil and allow it to become very hot***. Meanwhile, prepare other ingredients. Generously salt both sides of the roast. Cut two onions in half from root to tip and then cut off the tops and bottoms and peel off the papery skin. Place onions in the pot and brown on both sides (about a minute per side), and then remove to a place.

Next, wash but don't peel the carrots and cut them into big chunks (about 2 inches). Add them to the pot and toss for a minute or two until they are slightly brown around the edges and have turned bright orange. Remove them to a plate or bowl.

Add another tablespoon of oil and allow pot to get very hot again. Sear the roast in the pot for about a minute on each side, and remove to a plate.

Then, deglaze the pot by pouring in 1 cup of beef stock, whisking constantly to remove all the brown bits from the bottom of the pot. Once everything is loosened, return the roast to the pot. Place carrots and onions on top. Then, pour beef broth into the pot to cover the meat halfway (I added a little more than that). Add the herb sprigs. Make sure to push them down into the liquid with a spoon so that they are fully immersed (to help spread the flavor).

Cover the pot and place in the oven for 3-5 hours (depending on the size of your roast--I actually had a 3 pound roast and I cooked it for just about 4 hours). Resist the temptation to peek in the pot while it's cooking. ;) When cooking time is over, check roast by sticking a fork in it. It should go in easily and the meat should be very tender.

Serve pot roast and carrots with mashed potatoes! :)

***So...if you're not very quick at preparing ingredients like me, I would cut the onions and carrots before turning on the heat for the pot. I turned mine on right at the start, and as I was getting the onions ready, the oil started smoking like crazy! It completely filled our apartment. If it wasn't for Paul's quick thinking (opening the door, the windows, and turning on the fan), our smoke detector would have gone off and woken up my sleeping toddler. THAT would have been a tragedy! ;)

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