Braised Pot Roast

October 13, 2011

Main Dishes


     I love fall, in that I get to pull all of my “low and slow” recipes from off the shelf, dust them off and commence some mighty fine dinner making!  I took the plunge the end of last spring and bought an enameled cast iron dutch oven (Sadly not a Le Creuset..but soon!).  While I like my crock pot and use it most Sundays to take eats to the Work Peeps I was really wanting a dutch oven for braising.

I have been playing with Braising for about 3 years now and the more I use this technique them more  I lean.  I am an instruction booklet reader.  So when I started out doing this I was following the directions…for the first few times.  But then the WikiJan do it my way be big and bold took control of my mind and I was off to the races.  What would happen if I tweaked the Mirepoix? How much of a change would there be if I swapped out stock for wine?  Lean cuts of meat for the more traditional fattier collagen rich cuts.  Does the type of dish the item is cooked in make any difference?

I have been known to try and braise just about anything…granted some things worked better than others but hey playing with your food leads to some weird stuff hitting the dinner plate…just ask The Work Peeps about the Purple Stew of last Winter.  It tasted great just looked VERY funny all because I grabbed the wrong bottle of wine.

There are just a few key things you will need to remember in all of this as you go about making braising a part of your cooking lineup.  The need for a heavy dutch oven is 70-30% important, I have used a 9×13 baking dish covered with foil but a dutch oven with a well-fitting lid is much better. As best as you can don’t use a lean cut of meat, look for a nicely marbled piece like a Chuck Roast but not a Loin as there is not enough fat and connective tissue to lend to this type of cooking.  Chicken works OK if it is a more “fatty” bird.  Short Ribs are fantastic as are beef shanks, lamb shanks, ox tail and the like.

OK this is a photo heavy blog post but there were just to many tasty looking photos to not include them so I apologize in advance.

Braised Pot Roast~

1 3-4 lb Chuck Roast

2 lg. Carrots

6-8 Celery heart ribs (including any leaves)

1 lg Onion

1 750 ml Bottle of Red Wine ( I use Merlot or Shiraz)

1 sm container  Mushrooms

2 Tb Oil

Salt & Pepper

1/4 c Tomato paste

4 Cloves Garlic (rough chop)

Rough cut the celery, onion, carrots and mushrooms- set aside.

Pour 1 Tb oil in dutch oven heat on med. high to get pan hot. Liberally salt and pepper the pot roast on all sides in the dutch oven

Use a healthy amount of Salt and pepper as about half of it will stick to the pan.

You only need to brown the outside

You can see the fond developing on the bottom of the pan

Remove the roast and set aside, in the same pan toss in the remaining oil and allow to heat.  Add in the vegetables and a pinch of salt and some pepper.  Allow to saute down for a few minutes then toss in the garlic.

Give the veg mix a few more minutes to cook down, add in the tomato paste then pour in the whole bottle of wine. Allow it to come to a boil and cook for about a minute then take your roast and push it down into the vegetables and wine.

Pop on the lid and tuck it into the oven for 3 to 4 hours. You will know its done when you can take a fork and easily twist off  some of the meat.

Click to see the juiciness of brazing up close and personal

You can see in the above photo the connective tissue that provides the collagen which makes the gravy so silky,  you can trim that all out before you serve if you would like.

Remove the roast and cover with foil while you finish off the gravy…

For Gravy~

2 c Liquid from the roast

2 Tb Corn Starch

1/4 c cold water

Strain out the solid vegetables reserving all the liquid. You will only need 2 cups but do not throw away the remaining liquid.  You can use the remaining liquid for soup or stew base as there is TONS of flavor in that liquid just freeze and pull out when you are ready.

That is liquid flavor gold right there!

They have played their part and you can toss them

In a sauce pan bring your 2 cups of liquid to a boil, in a small bowl put in your cold water and cornstarch, stir to combine the water and cornstarch…yes it will feel like you are trying to stir cement but don’t leave any lumps or your gravy will have lumps. With the liquid softly boiling stir in the cornstarch mix with a whisk, keeps gently stirring until the liquid thickens this should only take about 15-20 seconds.  Now the trick is to not over stir your gravy as you can over stir and cause the gravy to break and lose its thick silky smoothness.

Pardon me Dinner is calling…Oh and yes it was “that” good!

Now go play with your food.

WikiJan

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