Feeding the Soul

I spent more than seven years as a vegetarian, with nary a bite of meat (except for bacon!) during those years. That was a long time ago, but following that time, I discovered my body craves, and needs, meat. Forget chicken or pork, beef is it.

When it’s chilly outside is a great time to make a big pot roast because it warms the house and makes several meals. You can even freeze leftovers and it will still taste good. And the best part, aside from a few minutes on the stove, you just pop it in the oven and let it braise for hours while you go off and read a book or watch a movie.

I tend to look for chuck roast for this dish, although there are several pieces of beef you can find in the supermarket that advertise that they are great for pot roast. Pot roast tends to be a fattier cut of meat, so I always select one that has less visible fat.

In terms of how long to cook it, generally it’s between two to three hours, but if you have a dense piece, it might take longer. I don’t tend to take the temperature, my gauge to tell whether it’s done is if the meat is “fall off the bone” tender, if there was a bone; it’s so tender it breaks apart with a fork when you test it.

This is what I mean by fall off the bone tender.

This is what I mean by fall off the bone tender.

For sides, mashed potatoes are usually what I make to accompany this dish, but mashed cauliflower would be just as good. For a nice sauce to go with the beef, just mix together some sour cream and horseradish.

The light outside is definitely telling us spring is coming, as did Puxatawny Phil. So this probably will be the last time I make this dish this winter; I’ll tuck this recipe away until next December. But if you have a cold evening in the near future, make this dish, and you’ll too will be feeding your soul.

DSCN0072
Pot Roast

Make sure your Dutch oven is oven-proof before starting this recipe. If you’re not sure, take the name of the company and the model, if you have it, and type it into Google and ask the question. Yes, I’ve done this before!

3-4 pound piece of beef, chuck roast is preferred
2 cups beef broth
About 1 cup red table wine
1 onion, cut into quarters
2-3 carrots, chopped into fourths
2-3 celery stalks, chopped into fourths
3-4 cloves of garlic, smashed
1 bay leaf
1 sprig of thyme or sage (or if dried, about a teaspoon)
Salt and pepper to taste (watch out with the salt, as the broth can be salty)

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
2. In a large Dutch oven, over medium heat warm 2 teaspoons olive oil.
3. Add the beef and brown on both sides. Watch carefully so it doesn’t stick to the pan.
4. Add the remaining ingredients (broth through thyme).
5. Cook in the oven until it is tender to a fork, generally 2-3 hours.
6. Make a sauce made up of a mixture of sour cream and horseradish sauce to accompany the beef if you like.
7. Salt and pepper to taste.

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