Friday, November 27, 2009

BB: Almost (but not quite) Company Pot Roast

I have a confession.

I completely forgot about this challenge which is being hosted this month by Lisa at Lime in the Coconut until after I'd woken up Thanksgiving Day.

So when I came across another members post on it, I sort of panicked because I suddenly remembered that I'd taken the roast out last week to thaw in the fridge with the intention of cooking  last weekend. .


Since this all went down Thanksgiving day, it meant I had to make do with what I had. And hope that the pot roast was still edible and wouldn't give me food poisoning. Granted I need time off from work but I have to draw the line somewhere.So I threw everything (or close to it) in the crockpot, turned in on high, hoped for the best and told myself that  if tasted at all strange out it went. My rationalization at the time, sleep deprived as I was on Thanksgiving day, was that in the 1800's people managed to survive eating meat without refrigeration..So therefore, mine should be okay.

It should be said that the tireder I am, the more illogical my rationalizations become.

Also, considering I'd spent an unprecedented $19.00 on the roast (I've never spent that much on meat in my life) I was not about to let it go to waste if there was any way of salvaging it. So after a quick sniff test to see if I passed out, I figured I'd give it a shot. 

So first things first. Let's talk about the substitutions which is why this is almost but not quite company pot roast.

Since all of this went down on Thanksgiving day and I am the person who tries not to go out on the day of T-Day due to the potential for craziness and crazy folks at the store, I had to go looking around the kitchen to see what I actually had and make substitutions as needed.

Lots of substitutions.

Well, maybe not a lot. But I didn't have celery so I substituted celery salt figuring it was close enough (dangerous words for me in the kitchen). And I didn't have leeks, so I had to omit that altogether. Scratch the home made chicken stock as I had some packaged stuff at home. Omit the chicken bouillon cube as I don't usually have that (make that never) in the house. And omit the tied part of the pot roast as I didn't have any kind of twine at home.Also, no fresh thyme or rosemary so I used dried spices sprinkled in the sauce mixture instead.

Actually come to think of it, I think I intended to put dried spices in but forgot about it. And just to be on the safe side, I threw in a large squirt of chili sauce to give it some kick.

What was the most amazing (to me at least) was how good this made the carrots taste good. I have never been a carrot girl. Apart from carrot cake, I don't eat carrots. I eat around them in every recipe. So this is nothing short of a culinary miracle for me if it can get me to voluntarily eat carrots.

I do feel sorry for Mr. Data right now as the smell of this make him yodel for food and I could not give him any due to the onions in the recipe. Right now he's sulking while I sit typing with a full tummy.

I'll have to figure out a way to make this up to him as this was a really good pot roast.

Now what was really great was having the next day off after making this  and catching an episode of Ina's TV show on food network where she happened to cook the company pot roast so I could watch it and learn from some of my mistakes and short cuts. Definitely need to make this again.

Company Pot Roast - Ina Garten "Back to Basics"

  • 1 (4 to 5-pound) prime boneless beef chuck roast, tied
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • All-purpose flour
  • Good olive oil
  • 2 cups chopped carrots (4 carrots)
  • 2 cups chopped yellow onions (2 onions)
  • 2 cups chopped celery (4 stalks)
  • 2 cups chopped leeks, white and light green parts (2 to 4 leeks)
  • 5 large garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 2 cups good red wine, such as Burgundy
  • 2 tablespoons Cognac or brandy
  • 1 (28-ounce) can whole plum tomatoes in puree
  • 1 cup chicken stock, preferably homemade
  • 1 chicken bouillon cube
  • 3 branches fresh thyme
  • 2 branches fresh rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature


Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
Pat the beef dry with a paper towel. Season the roast all over with 1 tablespoon salt and 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper. Dredge the whole roast in flour, including the ends. In a large Dutch oven, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add the roast and sear for 4 to 5 minutes, until nicely browned. Turn and sear the other side and then turn and sear the ends. This should take 4 to 5 minutes for each side. Remove the roast to a large plate.

Add 2 tablespoons olive oil to the Dutch oven. Add the carrots, onions, celery, leeks, garlic, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper and cook over medium heat for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender but not browned. Add the wine and Cognac and bring to a boil. Add the tomatoes, chicken stock, bouillon cube, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Tie the thyme and rosemary together with kitchen string and add to the pot. Put the roast back into the pot, bring to a boil, and cover. Place in the oven for 2 1/2 hours, until the meat is fork tender or about 160 degrees F internally. Turn the heat down to 250 degrees F after about an hour to keep the sauce at a simmer.

Remove the roast to a cutting board. Remove the herb bundle and discard. Skim off as much fat as possible from the sauce. Transfer half the sauce and vegetables to a blender or a food processor fitted with the steel blade and puree until smooth. Pour the puree back into the pot, place on the stovetop over low heat, and return the sauce to a simmer. Place 2 tablespoons flour and the butter in a small bowl and mash them together with a fork. Stir into the sauce and simmer for 2 minutes, stirring until thickened. Taste for seasonings. Remove the strings from the roast, and slice the meat. Serve warm with the sauce spooned over it.


  1. Looks great! Glad you found another way that you like carrots. Poor, Mr. Data. Luckily my cats don't like people food like that, so they don't bug me for table scraps.

  2. Palidor - it was really good. Of course, 2 cups of wine and a few tablespoons of brandy probably didn't hurt either.

  3. I love a good pot roast! the leftovers are always good too. looks delicious

  4. I'm sure your roast was delicious. I will definitely make this one again. I loved the tomato taste it had to it.

  5. I love your resourcefulness! I made it and loved it.