Thursday, November 3, 2011

Beef Chuck Pot Roast

(Image courtesy of The Chopping Block)

The Chopping Block has been really nice to me (strange, right), so in return I invited her over for dinner along with our friend Brendan and my neighbor Chris. My sister and I went grocery shopping, and we got this four pound beef chuck, which is perfect for a beautiful pot roast!

I've been very impatiently waiting to try out this recipe from America's Test Kitchen for almost a year now. I've made it before but not exactly following the recipe completely. So this time, I tried to follow it as closely as I felt possible.


3 ½ to 4 pound boneless beef chuck-eye roast, pulled into two pieces at natural seam and trimmed of large knobs of fat
kosher salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 medium onions, halved and sliced thin (about 2 cups) I used one onion only
1 large carrot, chopped medium (about 1 cup)
1 celery rib, chopped medium (about 3/4 cup)
2 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed through garlic press (about 2 teaspoons)
1 cup beef broth, plus 1 to 2 cups for sauce I used Chicken broth instead
½ cup dry red wine, plus 1/4 cup for sauce I omitted the alcohol
1 tablespoon tomato paste I used two Roma tomatoes instead
1 bay leaf
1 sprig plus 1/4 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
ground black pepper
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

1. Sprinkle pieces of trimmed meat with 1 tablespoon salt and let stand at room temperature 1 hour.
2. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 300 degrees.
3. Heat butter in heavy-bottomed Dutch oven over medium heat. When foaming subsides, add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and beginning to brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Add carrot and celery; continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes longer. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in 1 cup broth, ½ cup wine, tomato paste, bay leaf, and thyme sprig; bring to simmer.

4. Pat beef dry with paper towels and season generously with pepper. Using some kitchen twine, tie each piece of meat into loaf shape for even cooking. I am not that talented in this area, and my loaves were pretty sloppy. Oh well!

5. Nestle meat on top of vegetables. Cover pot tightly with large piece of foil and cover with lid; transfer pot to oven. Cook beef until fully tender and sharp knife easily slips in and out of meat, 3½ to 4 hours, turning halfway through cooking.

6. Transfer roasts to cutting board and tent loosely with foil. Apparently I was supposed to strain the broth liquid through mesh strainer and discard bay leaf and thyme sprig before transferring to a blender. Opps! I just measured about four cups of vegetables, broth, and balsamic vinegar and blended everything together. Then I poured the sauce over the sliced meat!

Although this looks like a long post, the actual cooking of the pot roast is super easy. It's just time consuming (four hours of baking!).

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