Pot roast is a braised beef dish, which is typically made by browning a roast-sized piece of beef that has been taken from the tougher chuck cut. The browning improves the flavor and appearance of the meat, while the high heat caramelizes the sugars and fats, giving the meat a rich flavor. After the meat is browned, liquid is added and it is cooked slowly in a covered pot. The less expensive cuts of meat generally used for pot roast benefit from the moist heat and slow cooking, which helps to make it tender and flavorful. The end result of a good pot roast should be tender, succulent meat and a rich liquid that lends itself to gravy.
Whether the pot roast is cooked on the stove, in the oven or in the crock-pot, brown the meat first on all sides. For best flavor, season the meat before browning.
Common cuts used for pot roast include :
- Top round
- Bottom round
If you have trouble deciding which cut of meat to use, remember, you can always ask the butcher in your supermarket for help selecting a cut for pot roast. He or she should be able to share a great deal of information, which will help you buy the perfect meat for your pot roast.
It would probably be a good idea to buy more meat than you think you will need, because pot roast can be even tastier the second day when served as leftovers. Leftover meat heated in gravy provides an easy to prepare dinner. For lunch, a cold pot roast sandwich served with ketchup is quite delicious. Generally, you will get 2-3 servings out of a pound of boneless roast, and two servings from a bone-in roast.
Aside from the delicious meal, one of the things many cooks like about preparing a pot roast is that you can generally ‘fix it and forget it’. For cooking liquid, you can use anything from water to beef broth, wine, or tomato juice. Many cooks even use Coca Cola as a cooking liquid.
For an easy to prepare dinner, just add vegetables and potatoes to the meat and you will have a complete one-pot meal. Vegetables should be added right at the beginning when you are cooking in the crock-pot. For oven pot roast, add vegetables about one hour before the meat is done. Carrots are especially tasty when cooked with pot roast in the gravy and served over broad noodles. The easiest way to eliminate excess fat is to cook the pot roast in advance, then refrigerate it for several hours or overnight; the fat will solidify on the top of the liquid for easy removal. Make the gravy, warm the meat in the microwave, and then serve with vegetables.
Pot roast with beef broth, beer, onion and mushrooms
4 pound pot roast, chuck, shoulder, top round, etc.
1-tablespoon all-purpose flour
3-tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
12 ounces sliced mushrooms
1 can (10 1/2 ounces) condensed beef broth or beef consommé soup, undiluted
1 can (12 ounces) beer
1/4 teaspoon seasoned salt, or to taste
In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Coat pot roast with flour; brown in hot oil on all sides. Remove roast to a baking dish. Pour off excess grease from skillet, leaving about 1 tablespoon. To skillet add onion and mushrooms. SautÃ© until onions are tender. Add beef soup, beer, salt and pepper, and thyme. Bring mixture to a boil; pour over roast. Cover and bake at 350’° for 3 hours. Serve with noodles or mashed potatoes. Serves 6.
Crock-pot Pot Roast Dinner
This classic recipe is a meal in one dish. All you need is a crisp green salad and some toasted garlic bread.
1 Tbsp. Flour
1 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. dried thyme leaves
1-1/2 lb. boneless beef top round, cut into 6 pieces
1 Tbsp. olive oil
4 potatoes, peeled, cut into chunks
16 oz. pkg. baby carrots
14 oz. can ready to serve beef broth
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 Tbsp. Cornstarch
Combine flour, salt, pepper, and thyme in small bowl and coat beef with this mixture. Cook beef pieces in olive oil in a nonstick skillet for 2-3 minutes on each side to brown. Set aside.
Combine potatoes, carrots, and onion in 3-4 quart slow cooker. Place meat on vegetables. Pour beef broth and Worcestershire sauce over meat. Cover crock-pot and cook on low for 8-10 hours until beef is tender.
Remove meat and vegetables from crock-pot and place on serving platter. Cover with foil to keep warm and place in slow oven. Combine rest of broth and the cornstarch in a small bowl and mix well with wire whisk. Add to liquid in crock-pot, turn to high and cook for 10-15 minutes until gravy is thickened. Serve with beef and vegetables. 6 servings
There are many ways to cook a pot roast, and the flavoring and seasoning possibilities are endless. Like most main dish recipes, pot roast is very adaptable, so do not be afraid to substitute with the ingredients you have on hand.