Sep 15, 2017

Tender & Delicious Pot Roast

I like to give myself a little challenge in the kitchen, like taking a tough and affordable piece of meat, like a chuck roast or chuck steak, and braise it until it is meltingly tender and full of rich, beef flavor. 
A chuck steak is the same as a chuck roast except it is cut into 1- to 3-inch slices. Here on the Hawaiian island of Moloka'i, we seem to see chuck steak more often than chuck roast, so that's what we are using in this recipe.
"Today's Special"... Chuck Steak!
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The trick is to cook either the roast or steak low and slow with lots of flavors all around it. After 3 hours of cooking, add vegetables under the meat and keep cooking in the oven with the lid on until they're tender (about 40 minutes).

The other thing we do here during the summer months is to try not to heat up the house with a 3 1/2 hour oven on, unless we have trade winds to cool us off.

The Pot Roast Challenge
Ingredients:
2 or 3 tablespoons Canola oil
3 pound chuck steak
Salt and black pepper
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
2 cups of beef or chicken broth
1/2 cup good red wine, like Burgundy
2 dried bay leaves, left whole
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
2 tablespoons tomato paste
3 large carrots, peeled and sliced
3 large potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
Cornstarch to thicken the sauce

Procedure:
Heat oven to 325˚F and arrange a rack in the lower third.

In a Dutch oven or large, high sided skillet with a lid, heat canola oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Sprinkle roast all over with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Place in pot, and brown on all sides for about 15 minutes.

Remove the roast from the pot and set it aside while you sauté the onions and garlic in the remaining oil. Then add the beef or chicken broth, wine, bay leaves, and Italian seasoning. Stir in tomato paste. Bring to a simmer, return the meat to the pot and cover; put the pot in the oven, and roast for 3 hours, flipping the roast every hour, until the beef is fork tender, about 3 hours total. Lift up the roast and add the cut carrots and potatoes to the sauce, and lay the meat on top of the vegetables. Continue cooking in the oven with the lid on until the vegetables are tender, about 40 minutes.

Carefully transfer the roast to a cutting board, and the carrots, and potatoes to a platter. With a spoon, skim the fat off the surface of the cooking liquid. Slice the roast, and serve with the vegetables. At this point I like to quickly thicken the pan juices.

To thicken the sauce, for each cup of sauce in the pot... in a small bowl, mix 2 tablespoons of cold water and 1 tablespoon cornstarch, then stir it into the simmering sauce until it thickens. Naturally you should always taste everything before serving. Add additional salt and pepper if needed. Serve with your favorite crusty bread or Classic Biscuits.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

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