Sunday, March 7, 2010

Pot roast for friends

I had the opportunity to make a post roast dinner for some friends recently.
I went to the grocery store, and was surprised that all they had in the meat section was tiny little 0.5Kg pot roasts. Not enough for a family of four with two sons in their late teens!
So I asked the girl at the deli counter if she controlled the meat counter as well, to which she replied that no, there was someone else, and she'd get him.
A young man came out, we spoke, he had no brisket, but would see what he did have. He came back with a big blade roast, and said it was the smallest of what he had out back. It's not the tenderest cut, but it's got big flavour, and makes for a good pot roast if treated well so it doesn't seize up.
I bought it.
I brought it home.
I rinsed it off, applied "steak spice" and salt and pepper and let it air-dry and come up to temperature -- about two hours.
With my roast nice and dry, I put the dutch oven on the stove, just below medium, and put some oil in the bottom of it. When it was shimmering, I added the pot roast, and gave it about 5 minutes a side (if you pretend it's a cube with six sides, it works better than you might think).

Fully seared, I then removed the roast from the pot, and deglazed with about a half of a carton of organic vegetable stock, and to that I added:

  • about 2 tablespoons of tomato paste, 
  • 2 bay leaves, 
  • 1 chopped onion, 
  • 2 chopped scallions, 
  • 4 smashed garlic cloves, 
  • about a half-litre of water, 

and brought to a simmer.

Then I put the roast back in the pot, and it was pretty much submerged: only a couple of centimeters of it was in air. Lid on the pot, and then into a really slow oven: 225F for one hour per pound. This roast was about 7 pounds, so it went in overnight, from midnight to 7am.

Took it out, put the meat thermometer in, and it was well done.

Wrapped foil around it, and reduced the liquid in the pot to about half, then puréed it with a stick blender, thickened it with about 2 tbsp of flour, and added some parsley, chives, and pepper to the gravy.

While I was goofing around with the gravy, I put into a roasting pan some onions, potatoes, squash, and carrots, and drizzled and tossed them all with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and roasted them for a couple of hours at 350F.

Assembled everything into a roasting pan for delivery and easy reheating (well, the gravy's in a plastic container) and covered with foil.

Oh. The pot roast weighed 3.14kg. Does that mean I can call it a "pot pi"?

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