Cooking lately has taken a back seat to carpooling and meetings. My schedule last week involved three nights of outside commitments and one night of having dinner with my mother-in-law. Adventure Guy cooked last night, so then entire work week passed without my cooking at all. Today, I decided to end the cooking drought by making one of our favorite meals–pot roast.
I searched my posts, and I can’t believe I haven’t written about making pot roast previously. Maybe because there’s nothing very complicated about it. But, I do have some helpful hints. This recipe also makes a nice addition to my “most searched for” category on the blog–meals to take to a new mother.
The great thing about pot roast is that I think it tastes better done in a crockpot than in the oven or on the stove. But, I’m convinced it really does make a difference if you brown the meat first before putting it in the slow cooker. Many people skip this step, but the browning seals in flavor. I heat some olive oil in a dutch oven and add onions and garlic plus some celery if I have it on hand. Saute the vegetables a bit, then add the pot roast which has been seasoned with garlic salt and pepper. One of the best hints I ever heard of for pot roast is to not “chicken out” on the browning. Let it brown significantly to give the meat some flavor. This time around, I had some fresh herbs–thyme, rosemary, and sage–left over from a roast chicken recipe, and I threw some of those in with the vegetables too.
While the meat is browning, dissolve one beef bouillon cube in 1 cup hot water. Then add between a half cup and one cup of red wine to the bouillon. Once the meat is browned, put it in the crockpot. Pour wine/bouillon mixture over roast. Sometimes I end the process here, but often I also add a savory mustard to the roast, spreading it over the surface. Again, it enhances the flavor, and the mustard and wine combination is surprisingly good. Surround the roast with carrots and new potatoes if desired. Turn on the crockpot and forget about it! If cooking all day, use the low setting. Today, I didn’t put the roast on until around 11:30 a.m., so I cooked it on high. It needs at least five hours on high or ten hours on low.
With our pot roast, my family prefers mashed potatoes over new potatoes, and I don’t like to disappoint. I use the basic recipe from The Joy of Cooking, and it’s a hit every time. Boil the potatoes with some garlic and bay leaves. Then mash with heavy cream that’s been heated just a bit and butter. Yum! Tonight we also had fresh green beans and pan rolls.
All I can say now is that I’m stuffed. It’s a good thing I did actually get up and go to Pilates today! Other exciting events in Suburbia included watching Soccer Boy’s team remain undefeated this season, getting a pedicure, and taking Dancer Girl and Gym Girl to the mall for some spring shirts. My big plans for this evening? Hanging out and reading. It’s been a good day!