In the same way that there are a million jillion pie crust recipes out there, there are a million jillion pot roast recipes. Unfortunately, they’re not all winners. I’d know. I’ve made some losers myself.
If it weren’t for my pot-roast loving husband, I’d have given up on the dish entirely. Instead, I made a list of what I loved and hated about pot roast and finally produced simple tips for a melt-in-your-mouth oven pot roast every time.
Melt-In-Your-Mouth Oven Pot Roast
Tip 1: Marinate roast overnight in red wine and garlic.
I don’t like beef enough to tolerate bland, flat pot roast. So after enjoying a deliciously rich and flavorful bowl of Ina Garten’s lamb stew (of which the meat is marinated overnight in red wine and garlic), I thought, “Why not do the same with a rump roast?”
As for cuts of meat or types of red wine, I’ll let you decide. I don’t like meat with a lot of fat in it, and I usually use whatever red wine I happen to find in the fridge.
Tip 2: Apply carrots and onions liberally.
Onions mean FLAVOR! Plus, I can never have too many carrots in my pot roast. Most recipes call for a mere 4-6. I say go crazy, and throw a whole pound there!
I do, however, prefer to peel my carrots. They taste soapy to me otherwise.
Tip 3: Brown, brown, brown your roast!
Whether I finish cooking my roast in a Crock-Pot or in a dutch oven, the meat must be browned first. I’ve tried skipping this step in the past out of laziness, and I think I wound up eating cereal for dinner instead.
To brown, pour off the wine marinade into a separate bowl and reserve. Thoroughly dry the roast and season it well with salt and pepper. Brown roast on all sides (about 6-8 minutes per side) in olive oil over medium-high heat.
Tip 4: For a tangy zip, add tomato paste and Worcestershire sauce.
I need tang.
I need zip.
A tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce and a big ol’ spoonful of tomato paste deliver both.
Tip 5: Give it time.
One of the absolute worst roast recipes I ever followed instructed me to cook the roast at 500˚ for 30 minutes, then turn the oven off and leave the roast in the cooling oven for 2 hours. I don’t know why I ever wasted my time. In fact, I’ve learned that despite all the wine and tomato paste and carrots, an undercooked roast is always a disappointment.
8 hours on low in the Crock-Pot or 5 hours at 300˚ in the oven is the proper time to create a melt-in-your mouth roast.
Tip 6: Mashed Potatoes!
You may have noticed that I left out the potatoes in my roast. Well, I confess: I don’t really like potatoes all that much. Especially if they’re cooked in a pot roast.
Instead, I prefer to serve my meat and carrots alongside a fluffy pile of mashed potatoes smothered in pot roast gravy! To prepare, substitute 2 cups of pot roast juices for the broth and turkey juices in my foolproof gravy recipe.
In need of a Thanksgiving or Christmas main dish alternative?
My turkey-hating father-in-law was very pleased at this year’s Thanksgiving Pot Roast Dinner!
Which do you prefer: Crock-Pot or dutch oven?
- 1 4-6 pound beef roast (butt, shoulder, whatever)
- 6 large cloves garlic
- 2 cups red wine such as Merlot
- 5 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion, sliced
- 1/3 cup tomato paste
- 1-2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 bay leaf
- Salt and pepper
- 1 pound of carrots, peeled and cut into large pieces
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- Trim roast of excess fat. In a large glass bowl, add roast, 4 cloves of garlic (smash them first) and the wine. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and marinate overnight or up to 24 hours.
- When ready to cook, remove roast from wine and blot dry with paper towels. Set wine marinade aside. Season roast well with salt and pepper or your favorite seasonings.
- In a large skillet, heat 3 tablespoons olive oil over medium-heat until hot. Add roast and brown on all sides, about 6-8 minutes per side. Transfer roast to a plate and cover with foil.
- Reduce heat to medium and add 2 tablespoons oil and the onions. Saute, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes, then stir in 2 grated garlic cloves and cook 1 more minute.
- Pour wine marinade and 1 cup of water over onions and cook for 5-6 minutes until liquid is reduced a little. Stir in tomato paste and Worcestershire along with 1 tablespoon of salt, 1 teaspoon of pepper and a bay leaf. Stir in carrots.
- At this point, either add the roast and all the juices to the pot, cover with a lid and bake at 300 degrees for 5-6 hours until tender OR transfer everything to a large Crock-Pot and cook on “low” for 8 hours or “high” for 5-6 hours.
- To make the gravy, remove 2 cups of cooking liquid from the pot roast. Heat liquid in a large skillet over medium-high heat until lightly boiling.
- Meanwhile, whisk flour with 2/3 cup cold water until smooth. Whisk into the boiling cooking liquid until combined and smooth.
- Return the gravy to a boil, and cook for 3-5 minutes stirring constantly until thickened.
- Taste the gravy first before seasoning with salt and pepper!
- Return gravy to the pot roast and stir until well combined. Serve with mashed potatoes.