Pot Roast

A frequent mistake made in braise recipes is adding too much liquid at the start of cooking. This dilutes the sauce. It takes a little faith to put your meat and vegetables in the pot with only a cup of braising liquid. It pays off in the end when you’re rewarded with a very flavorful sauce from an exchange of flavors between the vegetables, the braising liquid and the meat juices.

The following recipe is a perfect example. Pot roast is a large piece of meat , but don’t be tempted to add more liquid than I suggest. I have taken pictures to show you that the braising liquid increases early in the cooking process. Everything cooks thoroughly and the flavor is robust.

Pot roast is a very simple braise. Brown the seasoned meat and set aside. Lightly brown the onions, add large pieces of carrots and potatoes, some bay leaves and braising liquid.  Cook until tender.

Braised dishes are best if left to sit overnight. It intensifies the flavor and, since the meats used in braising are fatty, the fat sits on the surface and solidifies overnight, just scrape it off before reheating.

Slice the meat and place on a platter surrounded by the vegetables and cover with a little gravy.


Pot Roast
Yield: 4 portions

2 1/4 pounds chuck roast
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large onion, peeled and sliced lengthwise
4 garlic cloves, peeled and lightly smashed
1 cup stock or water
1 1/2 pounds red  or white potatoes, cut into 6 lengthwise slices
4 large carrots, peeled into 4 inch chunks
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Season both sides of the pot roast with salt and pepper.

Pour the oil into a 7-quart Dutch oven, or other heavy-bottomed large pot with a cover, and place over high heat. Once the oil is hot, set the seasoned meat into the hot oil and lower the heat slightly. Brown the top, the bottom and the sides.

Remove the meat and add the onions to the hot pot over medium heat. Cover and sweat for 3 minutes. Uncover, raise the heat a bit and sauté for several minutes until lightly browned.

Toss in the garlic and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Add the stock, potatoes, carrots, bay leaves, salt and pepper. Stir to combine. Return the meat to pot, push a few vegetables aside to snuggle it in. This is where it takes a little faith. The amount of liquid is minimal.

Bring this to a boil, lower the heat to barely a simmer, cover and let cook for 2 1/2 to 3 hours or until fork tender. For a slow cooker set on low for 6 hours.

This picture shows the pot roast after 3 hours cooking (I used a slow cooker) – notice the increase in liquid at the halfway point.

Cook the roast, refrigerate overnight and then remove the fat. Reheat, slice and serve. The gravy thickens from the starch in the potato, no need to add flour.

Refrigerated overnight:

Fat removed before reheating:

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