Monday, August 27, 2012

My Rainy Sunday Pot Roast Recipe...



Yesterday I woke early and, in typical fashion, refused to get out of bed until the clock hit a number later than 8 o’clock. Instead of getting up late and meandering through my morning, however, I lay in bed and let the to-do list roll. Which inevitably creates a rather busy day instead of the quiet one I had planned as the anxiety level on all the to-do’s slowly raises to the surface…

And so I pulled myself out of bed and set to the tasks I had mindlessly ticked off just a few minutes prior. But as I pulled back the curtains, I inadvertently stumbled upon a “rainy Sunday.”

Let me try to explain… I LOVE absolutely, positively adore rainy Sundays. These are the days for snuggled up secrets and lazy book reading and early morning movies and cocoa for lunch…

My first thought upon seeing those lovely little raindrops hitting the double paned window was – scrap the list and make some yummy pot roast! 2 flaws with this plan…

One: I didn’t have potatoes AND my moments-from-delicious rump roast was most definitely frozen
And Two: After my last attempt at making my mother in law’s time tested, forever favorite recipe turned out a disaster (these are my words, my husband assured me it was fine) I vowed never to make pot raost again!

And yet, for some reason unbeknownst to me I found myself donning a rain jacket and galoshes in a torrential downpour – on a quest for the perfect roasting potatoes. (Funny how it always begins to rain harder the moment you step out the door, huh?)

Apparently, rainy Sundays are THE day to make pot roast because… it was delicious… and after a bite of braised on the outside moist on the inside rump roast and slightly sweet and perfectly salty potatoes, I deemed the rather soak-y trip to the grocery store a small sacrifice… 

And, while my rainy Sunday was most certainly not spent doing “rainy Sunday” things (I had to do something while I waited for the roast to cook or I would’ve poked and prodded and futzed around with adding liquid or basting or… until I absolutely ruined it!)

Here’s the “recipe.” Just in case you find yourself needing something scrumptious on your next rainy Sunday… 

DISCLAIMER: If you are indeed looking for my mother in law’s excellent pot roast recipe, this isn’t it – I decided no one can make it the way she does (there must be a secret ingredient in there somewhere) and I made my own from a myriad of “I think I remember this from a recipe I read once in my quest to fix the aforementioned pot roast debacle” moments as I went along instead.

As I said, I started with a frozen rump roast (chuck roast would be good too, probably better actually, but I’m in to using what I have on hand lately and we can finally see the back of the freezer!) which I defrosted in a pot of cold water. (Keep the meat in its original air-tight packaging with enough water to cover, change it every 30 minutes or so to keep the process moving along – my 2.5 pound roast only took about 2 hours to thaw, leaving me plenty of time for our cherished early Sunday dinner)

With the stovetop around medium high, heat your pot/dutch oven (or if your aunt has so generously gifted you with a beautiful le creuset braising pan, use that – thanks Aunt Julie!!!)


Prep your veggies (I used an onion - quartered, 4 large baking potatoes –cut a little larger than bite sized, and a few handfuls of baby carrots. (I happened to have some rather un-appealing looking baby carrots left over from some salad or veggie platter which I deemed acceptable for the task, full sized carrots cut about the same size as the potatoes work too… obviously I’m not much for exact cooking)
Add a couple tablespoons of olive oil to the pan – make sure it’s piping hot before cooking the vegetables.

Add in the onions, make sure they’re really sizzling and brown on both sides (about a minute per side). Remove them from the pan and set aside. 

Do the same with the carrots, adding more oil if you need it.

While the veggies are cooking, season the meat – plenty of salt and pepper (I used sea salt for those extra coarse grains)

Make sure your pan is still hot and add a bit more oil before throwing in the meat. Braise it on all sides, about a minute each. (Or if you’re like me and multitasking and the dishes distract you and it ends up being more like 3, you’re fine too!)

Now, deglaze the pan – I used about a cup of beef broth. Let it simmer a bit and then set a whisk to the bottom to pick up all of those scrumptious drippings everything left behind.

Place the meat back in, then the onions and carrots and potatoes.

 Add enough broth to cover the meat… or in my case, add until the box runs out and hope its enough to keep the roast moist!

Cover (admire your beautiful cookware – I really do LOVE this pan) and plop it in the oven at 275 for about 3 hours. (For a larger roast around 4 or 5 pounds, plan on 4 hours)

And then – don’t touch it! This is the hardest part for me… for some reason I feel the need to poke and double check and rearrange… but really, a roast can just be left alone – I will admit I checked halfway through to make sure nothing was smoking, but I did have to do quite the list of things to keep myself distracted – clean the bathroom, dust the bedroom, wipe down the floors, paint my windows (more on that later)…
 There really are carrots in there, they're just hiding under all those potatoes!

And finally, when you can’t resist the scrumptious smell drifting from the oven and your stomach sets to rumbling, sit down to eat a delicious rainy Sunday dinner.

I hope you enjoy, we sure did! And I don’t think I’ll need to swear off pot roast again…

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