Lisa’s Lazy Pot Roast

 Pot roastFall Classic
My food calendar is totally confused, and I am blaming it on the start of college football. Here’s the deal: the season officially kicks off (ha ha ha) on Thursday night. Most people would take note of this and think “Cool. I wonder who’s playing on Saturday?” Not in my house. In my house, and the households of my relations, it’s a national holiday. Special meals are prepared. Phones are ignored because who could possibly be calling me now?!

So, back to the food confusion thing. To me, college football means fall.
Fall means cooler weather, colorful leaves, bulb planting, butternut squash, and generously sized meats slow roasting for hours while the Ducks put the smackdown on the Bears (Yep. I said it. Let the trash talking begin…). The problem is that it’s still August. It’s 90 degrees outside. Not exactly pot roast weather.

My mind and my appetite don’t seem to care, so I found myself in the kitchen last Sunday making pot roast with mashed potatoes and glazed carrots. Maybe it was because I had such a wild craving for it, but I gotta say it was the best pot roast I have had in forever. So worth a hot kitchen, though perhaps next time I will try it in the crockpot so it’s a little cooler…

For those brave souls who are willing to take the heat, I have listed the recipe I used below. It’s super easy, and nothing else is as easy to make as pot roast. It’s the ultimate comfort food. (Well, mac and cheese is probably the ultimate but, whatever.) Leftovers make great sandwiches for lunch the next day or even taste good re-heated which, in these days of Back to School can be a blessing.  

Lisa’s Lazy Pot Roast
Adapted from The Complete Meat Cookbook by Bruce Aidells and Denis Kelly

1 teaspoon fresh thyme
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4-pound boneless beef chuck roast OR a beef brisket, trimmed of most fat
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 cup beef stock
5 cups thinly sliced onions (about 3 large)
8 garlic cloves, chopped

Make the rub
Combine the herbs, paprika, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Rub the meat thoroughly with the mixture. You can cook the roast immediately, but it will taste better if you allow it to sit for an hour or two at room temperature or overnight in a zip-lock bag in the refrigerator.

Brown the meat
Preheat the oven to 350º F. In a large, heavy casserole or a Dutch oven, heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Brown the meat on all sides (about 7 minutes). Remove the meat and set it aside. Pour off any fat from the pan and deglaze the pan with the stock, scraping up any brown bits with a wooden spoon or spatula.

Roast the meat
Put the roast back in the pan, cover it with the sliced onions and garlic, cover, and bake for 1 hour.

Remove the cover, turn the roast over so that it is on top of the onions, and continue to cook, uncovered, for another hour, adding more liquid if needed. Stir the onions around (after about 30 minutes) so they can brown more evenly.

Replace the cover and continue to cook until the meat is fork-tender (about 1 hour). A brisket will take a little longer than chuck. Remove the meat from the pot and let it rest, covered loosely with foil, while you prepare the sauce. (At this point, you may refrigerate the pot roast for later reheating. If you do, refrigerate the cooking liquid separately. To serve later, remove any congealed fat from the cooking liquid and strain it before using it to reheat the meat gently.)

Serve the pot roast
To serve, strain and defat the sauce. Taste for salt and pepper. Cut the meat into thick slices or separate it into chunks. Spoon some sauce and onions over each serving.

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