OK, I gave in, but just a teeny tiny bit. I'm still grilling, but I was so chilly last night and today that somehow a chuck roast found its way into my grocery cart and lo, a pot roast was born. We need some braising birth control around here stat - aka sunshine! warmth! - or I'm going completely over to the dark side of soups, stews, and all things slow-roasted.
This can't happen.
This honeymoon baby is pretty straightforward - browned, braised until falling apart, and finished with vegetables. I added sherry to the pot, along with thyme, and finished the pan sauce with a little sour cream. All completely recognizable, with perhaps a bit extra flavor.
There are three keys to a terrific pot roast: 1) season liberally with garlic and salt, 2) brown deeply and thoroughly before adding liquid, and 3) cook as low and slow as you can.
I've found that I can achieve the lowest, slowest braise in a 225 degree F oven, even with extra low burners on my cooktop. I also like that it's out of sight, if not out of smell (what a fragrance!), and I tend to leave it alone for a solid three hours before I start poking at it.
When it's falling apart tender, it is not only irresistible...but also, of course, done.
Pot Roast with Sherry, Onions, Thyme, & Sour Cream
3-4 lb. chuck roast
2 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced into slivers
1 Tbsp. oil
1 medium onion, peeled, trimmed, quartered
1/2 c. dry sherry
1/2 c. chicken or beef broth
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 bay leaf
3 large carrots, peeled, cut into 2x1/2-inch sticks
4 medium red potatoes, quartered
2 Tbsp. sour cream
freshly ground black pepper
handful of fresh parsley, coarsely chopped
Preheat oven to 225 degrees F. Poke chuck roast in several places with a small sharp knife and press slivers of garlic into the holes. Sprinkle coarse salt generously over roast. Heat a Dutch oven over medium high heat. Add oil to pan and brown the roast thoroughly on all sides. Remove roast to a large plate. Add onion to the pan, sprinkle lightly with salt, and saute for 2-3 minutes. Settle roast on top of onion, pour any accumulated juices into the pan, then pour in sherry and broth and add thyme and bay leaf. Bring to a simmer, cover, and transfer to the oven.
Bake roast for 3 hours (make sure it's gently simmering; if not, increase heat a bit), until falling-apart tender. Add carrots and potatoes to the pan and cook for another 30 minutes, until vegetables are just tender. Remove roast and vegetables to a serving platter, cover loosely with foil, and transfer to a warm oven. Skim fat from pan juices, remove bay leaf, and whisk in sour cream. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
Slice roast, top roast and vegetables with fresh parsley, and serve with pan sauce.