Ye olde Pot Roast

BLE friendly; Gluten-free; Low sodium;

Outside of the good old fashioned “meat + stick + fire = food” methods of our long-lost caveman brethren, one of the oldest forms of cooking meat is braising. Braising is a simple and effective way to add flavor and tenderize cuts of meat that otherwise would be unpalatable.

If you look back at recipes from the colonial days, you will see some rather…um,interesting dishes that have since been retired (boiled eel gelatin anyone?), but you will also see some recipes that have survived through the decades. Did you know Thomas Jefferson didn’t just write important documents, he invented Mac & Cheese?! Another oldy, but goodie is pot roast, that warming comfort dish of our grandparents. Give this go-to pot roast recipe a shot next time you’re feeling nostalgic for the good olde days.

One last tidbit: personally, I prefer a Dutch oven, but if you wanted to pop this into a crockpot before work, by all means do. I would just recommend browning the meat separately before tossing all the ingredients in the crockpot. Also, I swapped out potatoes for carrots, parsnips and celery root due to our diet, but if you’re not a fan, and your diet allows it, go for the spuds!

Recipe:

Serves 4

  • 1 Chuck roast (about 3-4 pounds)
  • 2 carrots rough chopped (wash, but leave peels on)
  • 2 celery stalks chopped
  • 1 medium onion rough chopped
  • 3-4 cloves garlic smashed
  • 3 cups homemade chicken stock (store bought low sodium is ok)
  • 1 14-15 oz can crushed tomato
  • Fresh herb bouquet garne: Rosemary, thyme, bay leaf (fresh or dry), peppercorn* Or use dried, about half the quantity.

*Using cheese cloth, lay a 6- or 7-inch square flat, place herbs and peppercorn inside and tie cloth closed with butcher string (leave a 12-inch tail to tie outside the pot).

  • 1 cup each  peeled diced parsnips, carrots, and celery root
  • 1 tablespoon each oil & butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

In a large Dutch oven, heat one tablespoon oil on medium high heat and preheat oven to 300F.

Meanwhile,  season the chuck roast liberally with salt and pepper.

Brown meat on all sides, and remove from pan. Add carrots, onions and celery,  and cook until some browning occurs. Add garlic and cook until fragrant.

Place meat back in Dutch oven along with 3 cups stock (add water if needed), crushed tomato and bouquet garne. Cover and bring to a simmer. Place covered pan into the oven and cook for three hours. After three hours, check meat. It should be fork tender. If finished, remove from oven leaving lid on. In another pot, bring 4 cups water to boil, with a good pinch of salt, Add parsnips, carrots and celery root. Turn down heat to a simmer and cook veggies until tender but not falling apart. Drain and mash with 1 tablespoon butter, black pepper and, if necessary, a pinch more salt.

Remove meat from pan very carefully and break apart roast into smaller pieces (it will be hot!). Discard as much fat as possible and return to Dutch oven.

Place a portion of mashed veggies on a plate, and spread out to make a bed for the meat. Using a slotted spoon, remove meat from the pot, letting as much liquid drain off as possible. Place pot roast portion on top of mashed veggies. After that you can drizzle some of that lovely liquid on top.

*Note – Strain the cooking liquid into a shallow dish (a casserole dish would work well) and discard solids. Let it cool for a bit, and then leave in fridge uncovered overnight. The next day you can scrape off and discard the fat, and put the leftover liquid in freezer bags. It will keep in the freezer for about three months. That cooking liquid will make a great base for many different dishes, like lentils or beans.

BLE note – Because parsnips and celery root can be a bit heavy, I suggest splitting your veg portion with something else, like a side salad or an assortment of pickle/fermented veggies. The fat is split between oil and butter, and the liquid will have some fat in it, so I suggest no more than 2oz.

If you so choose, a nice merlot such as 2016 “Canoe Ridge,the Expedition” stands up well to the beef.

Cheers, Blue

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