Sunday, August 5, 2012

How to Make Perfect Pot Roast with Onions, Carrots & Potatoes

Growing up, I watched my Grandma make pot roast. Grandma would put the roast in a cast iron skillet, pile potato and maybe a little onion around the meat and toss on a little salt and pepper. The final touch was a swatch of aluminum foil she threw on top, a shiny roast hat.

So, I grew up making roast the same way. A lot of time it was dry and chewy so we drenched it in A-1 to rehydrate it. Or I put it in the crock pot with a bunch of water before I left for work for a 8-hour slow soak  and ended up with mushy meat.

I thought I didn't like meat. It wasn't the meat, it was my cooking.

Here's how to make a perfect roast. It's simple and it's easy.
Marinate overnight
First, marinate the meat overnight. This is cooking for real people. I just put the roast in a gallon size baggie with worchestershire sauce--nothing fancy. Worchestershire sauce is primarily malt vinegar, molasses and spices. If you don't have worchestershire sauce, use soy sauce or vinegar or lemon juice.
Add a rub for flavor and crust
After marinating overnight, take out the meat. Pat dry. Now over with spices. I like to use Butt Rub. Let meat sit for about an hour to bring back to room temperature before cooking. Cold meat won't cook evenly.
I did not name this product
Rubs add flavor. A rub is just a mix of salt, sugar and spices. It's even easy to make your own if you are not lazy. I am kind of lazy.
Sear the Meat
Now pay attention. This is an important step. Heat a little oil in a skillet and throw in the meat. Ok, don't literally throw it in. Just place it in. I'm not sure how literal you are and don't want to be sued if you are splashed with hot oil.

Quickly, both sides
Sear the meat on one side, turn with tongs and sear on the other side. It only takes a couple of minutes per side. Don't use a knife, if you pierce the meat, all the lovely juice will leak out.

Bacon grease
I like to cook my roast in a dutch oven. Before placing the meat in the dish, I put a dollop of bacon grease in the bottom. You heard me...bacon grease. If you are a health nut, this blog might not be for you.

Wow! Good job!
Now, just step back and admire the work you have accomplished so far. You're doing great! Wouldn't the world be such a better place if we all talked to each other like we talk to two year olds?
Yes, more bacon grease
We are now going to do something else that will make your doctor cringe. Throw a little more bacon grease in a bowl. If you don't save your bacon grease, I don't know what to tell you except "start".  Use a garlic press and add a couple of cloves of garlic. Heat the mixture in the microwave until melted, about 30 seconds.

Peel vegetables
Try to convince your husband to peel and quarter 5-6 potatoes and one onion. It's ok to make promises you may not keep. He's probably use to it.
Coat with grease
Add some baby carrots and salt and pepper. Stir mixture until all the vegetables are coated with the bacon grease and garlic mixture.

Now we need to deglaze the pan. Deglaze means pour a very cold liquid into a very hot pan to loosen all the drippings. I like to use white wine. Take a drink, then pour a little in the pan. Take another drink. See, cooking is fun.
Add to meat
Pour the loosened brown gunk and drippings right on top of the roast. This is called flavor. It looks fabulous. Stick in the oven at 325 degrees for 2 1/2 hours. Sit around and enjoy the aroma while it cooks.

Ta da!
Cut against grain
Before cutting, stick a meat thermometer in it. It should read at least 160 degrees. Mine read 212 degrees. Let the meat sit for a few minutes and then cut against the grain. The meat was completely done but still moist and tender.
Unborn gravy
Now, back to the drippings and how to make gravy. If you can make good gravy, it really doesn't matter if you can cook. Gravy covers a multitude of mistakes.
Poor Cook Equalizer
Gravy is easy. Just add milk and cornstarch to the hot drippings. My trick is to add about 2 Tablespoons cornstarch to about a cup of milk (or cream). I put these two ingredients into a shakeable container. Shake until mixed well and then slowly add to the drippings. Continue to stir continuously over medium heat until the mixture thickens. Do not get distracted! This takes about 5-6 minutes. Try to control your ADHD tendencies or you will not have gravy for dinner.
Pour Liberally
This meal will make you look like a gourmet genius. That wasn't so hard now, was it?

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