Recipe from How to Cook Everthing.
Classic Pot Roast
Makes: 6 to 8 servings
Time: 21/2 to 4 hours, largely unattended
Low heat is important here, as is cooking just until done; don’t let it get mushy. If you have a day of advance notice, try the vinegar-marinated variation; it’s absolutely delicious. If time is short, but you want more flavor, rub the meat with a tablespoon of mild chili powder (add some cayenne if you like hot food) or a few sprigs of fresh rosemary along with the bay leaf.
1 clove garlic, peeled
One 3- to 4-pound piece boneless chuck or rump roast, tied if necessary to maintain a uniform shape
1 bay leaf
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive or peanut oil
2 large onions, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 /2cup red wine or water
1 cup chicken, beef, or vegetable stock, or water
1. Cut the garlic clove into tiny slivers; insert the slivers into several spots around the roast, poking holes with a thin-bladed knife. Crumble the bay leaf as finely as you can and mix it with the salt and pepper. Rub this mixture all over the meat.
2. Put the oil in a large pot with a lid or a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. When hot, add the roast and brown it on all sides, taking your time and adjusting the heat so the meat browns but the fat does not burn—15 minutes or so. Transfer the meat to a platter. Add the vegetables to the pot, turn the heat up to medium-high, and cook, stirring frequently, until softened and some- what browned, about 10 minutes.
3. Add the wine and cook, scraping the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon, until the wine has just about evaporated, 5 to 10 minutes. Add about half the stock, return the roast to the pot, and turn the heat down to very low.
4. Turn the roast every 15 minutes, re-cover, and cook until it is tender—a fork will pierce the meat without pushing too hard and the juices will run clear—11/2 to 21/2 hours, but possibly longer if your roast is taller than it is long (very thick roasts may require as long as 4 hours if you keep the heat extremely low). Add more stock if the roast appears to be drying out, an unlikely possibility (and a sign that your heat is too high). Do not overcook; when the meat is tender, it is done.
5. Remove the meat from the pot and keep it warm. Skim the fat from the surface of the remaining juice. Turn the heat up to high and cook, stirring and scraping the bottom of the pan, until the liquid is thick and almost evaporated, 5 to 10 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Slice the meat and serve it with the pan juices.
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