Last Saturday, hubby and I went to a rare, rare gem in New England: a quality Mexican restaurant. Since moving from LA last spring, we’ve been in a Mexican food wasteland. We’d ask locals where we could get the best Mexican, and they’d enthusiastically recommend a place, so we’d go all full of hope and hunger only to be disappointed by their boring ketchup-tasting salsa, and it would only go down from there. A coworker recommended Agave in Newburyport to me, and we went with a bit of trepidation and fully prepared to be disappointed, and, shockingly enough – it was good! So good, in fact, that on Tuesday when we realized I had accidentally left my coat at Agave, we stayed for dinner when we went back to pick up it up.
So why the picture of pot roast and mashed taters? That dinner is a direct result of our first trip to Agave – the trip where we learned that if you want to go to Agave on a Saturday night, you better make a reservation or you’ll have over an hour and a half wait for a table. So with an absurd amount of time to kill, we wandered over to the book store next door, where I stumbled across Ree Drummond‘s cookbook, The Pioneer Woman Cooks. And I cooed and squealed over it and delighted in all the beautiful photography and drooled over the yummy-looking recipes.
Now, it just so happens that we recently cashed in a bond that my now-deceased elderly cousin Sunny gave me for high school graduation (ten years ago!?) – a bond that would be worth $50… in 2036. So we cashed it out now for something like $30, so I had just the right amount of pocket money to buy myself the book. Woo hoo! As we waited for our table, I read this recipe and decided I just HAD to make it the next day. So I did.
I’d never made pot roast before, and I was rather intimidated by the idea of making such a fancy Sunday-Dinner-With-Grandma kind of meal, but Ree’s step-by-step instructions and pictures it was a piece of cake. It’s actually a surprisingly simple dish – you brown the onions quickly, then the carrots quickly, and then sear the meat nicely, then throw it all together with beef broth and some fresh herbs (definitely don’t skip the fresh herbs!) and let it do its thing in the oven for a few hours.
And when you take it out, hoo boy. It’s amazing. The beef falls apart, the carrots taste so good that my vegetable-hating husband raved about them and got himself a second serving. This is a fantastic dish and I know I’ll be making it again soon. The recipe is below, but I recommend checking out Ree’s post about it – the photos are so helpful and she even has it formatted to print out nicely at the bottom. Sweet!
Ree’s Pot Roast
- 1 whole (4 To 5 Pounds) Chuck Roast
- 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- 2 whole Onions
- 6 whole Carrots (Up To 8 Carrots)
- Salt To Taste
- Pepper To Taste
- 1 cup Red Wine (optional, You Can Use Beef Broth Instead)
- 2 cups To 3 Cups Beef Stock
- 3 sprigs Fresh Thyme, or more to taste
- 3 sprigs Fresh Rosemary, or more to taste
First and foremost, choose a nicely marbled piece of meat. This will enhance the flavor of your pot roast like nothing else. Generously salt and pepper your chuck roast.
Heat a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Then add 2 to 3 tablespoons of olive oil (or you can do a butter/olive oil split).
Cut two onions in half and cut 6 to 8 carrots into 2-inch slices (you can peel them, but you don’t have to). When the oil in the pot is very hot (but not smoking), add in the halved onions, browning them on one side and then the other. Remove the onions to a plate.
Throw the carrots into the same very hot pan and toss them around a bit until slightly browned, about a minute or so.
If needed, add a bit more olive oil to the very hot pan. Place the meat in the pan and sear it for about a minute on all sides until it is nice and brown all over. Remove the roast to a plate.
With the burner still on high, use either red wine or beef broth (about 1 cup) to deglaze the pan, scraping the bottom with a whisk to get all of that wonderful flavor up.
When the bottom of the pan is sufficiently deglazed, place the roast back into the pan and add enough beef stock to cover the meat halfway (about 2 to 3 cups). Add in the onion and the carrots, as well as 3 or 4 sprigs of fresh rosemary and about 3 sprigs of fresh thyme.
Put the lid on, then roast in a 275F oven for 3 hours (for a 3-pound roast). For a 4 to 5-pound roast, plan on 4 hours.
Oh, and once it’s all cooked up, be sure to do like Ree advises and taste a bit of everything all in one bite.
Even if you’re like me and don’t like mixing it up like that. Trust me. It’s a little bit of heaven.
Yum! Thanks, Ree! And thanks, Sunny. 🙂