The Perfect Pot Roast

When it is bitter cold outside you need a hot, comforting meal that will warm you up from head to toe. Growing up, stews and pot roasts were my mom’s go-to dinners on those snowy days when you are stuck inside and have some time to kill.  What’s great about pot roast and stew is that there is very little prep work.  Besides a little chopping, you pretty much just toss all your ingredients in a pot, stick it in the oven and let it cook in its juices until it is perfectly tender.  My pot roast recipe is a compilation of a few of my favorite stew and pot roast recipes with a unique twist.  The oils from the orange peel add so much flavor and depth to this dish by giving the carrots and celery this wonderful, sweet and tangy glaze. The hint of citrus compliments the red wine beautifully and brings some acid to the dish which helps to tenderize the meat.  My secret ingredient, cocoa powder, adds a rich flavor to the dish and comes together with the tomato paste perfectly just like your favorite Mexican Mole` sauce. Slow cooking the chuck roast in a covered pot with all the juices causes the meat to become so moist and tender that it melts in your mouth.  The seasonings and herbs in this dish have very festive flavors which are perfect for Christmas or New Year’s dinner.  Forget the boring old turkey; this is the perfect holiday meal!

 

 

Ingredients-

  1. Extra-virgin olive oil
  2. One 2 ½ -3 pound chuck roast
  3. Salt & Pepper
  4. 3 ribs celery, thinly sliced into ¾ inch chunks
  5. 3 large carrots sliced into ¾ inch chunks (peel the carrots first)
  6. 2 onions, thinly sliced (medium onions about the size of a baseball)
  7. ½ Teaspoon crushed red pepper
  8. 2 medium cloves garlic, smashed and finely chopped
  9. 1/2 cup tomato paste
  10. 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  11. 1 ½ Teaspoon Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  12. 1/3 cup Ruby Port Wine (You can use any good red wine)
  13. 3-4 cups chicken stock
  14. 2 large bay leaves
  15. 2 strips orange zest (removed from the orange with a vegetable peeler)
  16. 4 sprigs of fresh thyme


Steps-

  1. Preheat the oven 350 degrees F.
  2. Coat a Dutch oven or any large oven safe pot with olive oil and bring to medium-high heat.
  3. Sprinkle the chuck roast generously with salt and pepper on both sides, add it to the Dutch oven and brown it on all sides. Remove from the pan and set aside.
  4. Add a few drops of new oil and add the celery, carrots onions and crushed red pepper to the pan. Season the vegetables with salt and cook until they are slightly soft about 10 minutes. 
  5. Add the garlic and cook for 1 to 2 minutes.
  6. Add the tomato paste and cocoa powder and stir until combined.
  7. Pour in the vinegar and wine and stir to combine and cook for 2 to 3 minutes.
  8. Stir in 3 cups of chicken stock. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed. Toss in the bay leaves, orange zest, and thyme.
  9. Return the meat to the pan, cover and put the Dutch oven in the oven for 1 hour.
  10. Remove the pan from the oven, turn the meat over and check the liquid level. If the liquid level has gone down, add about a half a cup of stock. Return the pan to the oven and cook for another hour.
  11. Gently flip the meat over again, cover and cook for another 30 minutes.
  12. Remove the lid to the pan and roast until the liquid is reduced, another 15 to 20 minutes.
  13. Remove the pan from the oven. Remove the meat from the pan and skim off any excess fat from the surface of the cooking liquid, if need be.
  14. Serve with the meat with the cooked veggies and pan juices over some creamy mashed potatoes.