When it comes to pot roast, keeping it simple is the best
photo by: Joe Keller/America's Test Kitchen via AP
When it comes to pot roast, keeping it simple is sometimes best. We started with a chuck-eye roast, a well-marbled cut that is great for braising. Splitting the roast in two allowed us to trim excess fat and cut down on cooking time.
A stovetop sear created a nicely caramelized exterior; transferring the covered Dutch oven to the oven promoted even cooking and prevented scorching over the long cooking time. Adding carrots, potatoes, and parsnips to the pot partway through braising ensured that the vegetables didn’t overcook and become mushy.
We added wine to the sauce after braising so that its flavor stayed bright; reducing it briefly on the stovetop ensured that our sauce didn’t taste boozy. Use a good-quality medium-bodied wine, such as a Cotes du Rhone or a pinot noir, for this dish. Depending on the size of your Dutch oven, you may need to brown the roasts in two batches rather than one.
SIMPLE POT ROAST
Start to finish: 4 hours, 30 minutes to 5 hours
1 (3 1/2-to-4 pound) boneless beef chuck-eye roast, pulled into 2 pieces at natural seam and trimmed of large pieces of fat
Salt and pepper
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
1 celery rib, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme or 1/4 teaspoon dried
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup beef broth
1 cup water
1 1/2 pounds carrots, peeled and cut into 3 inch pieces
1 1/2 pounds red potatoes, unpeeled, cut into 11/2 inch pieces
1 1/2 pounds parsnips, peeled and cut into 3 inch pieces
1/3 cup dry red wine
Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 300 F. Tie roasts crosswise with kitchen twine at 1-inch intervals. Pat dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in Dutch oven over medium-high heat until just smoking. Brown roasts on all sides, 8 to 10 minutes; transfer to plate.
Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil, onion, and celery to fat left in pot and cook over medium heat until vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic, sugar, and thyme and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in chicken broth, beef broth, and water, scraping up any browned bits, and bring to simmer. Return roasts to pot along with any accumulated juices. Cover, transfer pot to oven, and cook for 2 hours, flipping roasts halfway through cooking.
Remove pot from oven. Nestle carrots into pot around roasts and sprinkle potatoes and parsnips over top. Return covered pot to oven and cook until vegetables and beef are tender and fork slips easily in and out of meat, 1 to 11/2 hours.
Remove pot from oven. Transfer roasts to carving board, tent with aluminum foil, and let rest while finishing sauce. Transfer vegetables to large bowl, season with salt and pepper to taste, and cover to keep warm.
Using wide, shallow spoon, skim excess fat from surface of braising liquid. Stir in wine, bring to 7/8simmer over medium-high heat, and cook until sauce measures 2 cups, about 15 minutes. Season with salt and -pepper to taste.
Discard twine, slice roasts against grain into 1/2 inch-thick slices, and arrange on serving platter. Spoon some of sauce over meat and serve with vegetables, passing remaining sauce separately.