It’s getting to be fall, and in most areas that means it is cooling down, so we start thinking about comfort foods. One of my favorite winter foods is pot roast. This dish always turns out perfect and it is SO easy, anyone can do it. The trick is finding a good piece of meat. If you have a butcher shop where you live I would recommend going there. Many times the quality is higher there than what you can buy in the grocery store. If you live in Arroyo Grande I would recommend that you try the Arroyo Grande Butcher Shop in the Village. Henry Gonzales is the owner there and not only do they have great meat there, they know what they are talking about. You go in and tell them what you are making and ask them what kind of meat to put use and they will hook you up. Traditionally chuck roast is used, but Henry has had me try several other cuts of meat that have been amazing. This last time he gave me a tri tip! I had never thought of a tri tip as a roast but it was lean, tender and very flavorful. Get more than you need. You are going to want left overs!!
After you get your cut of meat, heat a pan on high with a Tbs. or two of oil. when the pan is hot, sear the meat in the pan. Allow it to brown on all sides. This will take about 8-10 minutes. What this does is form a bit of a crust on the meat and helps keep the juices in so it doesn’t dry out. Slice an onion into wedges and sprinkle them over the bottom of your roasting pan and lay the meat on top. Put 1/4 – 1/2 C. beef bouillon into the pan (See note at bottom) cover the roast and let it cook for about 3-4 hours at 325. The meat is done when you stick and fork in it and you can turn it easily. It’s hard to over cook these things. Meanwhile peal and cut into quarters as many carrots and potatoes as you would like. One hour before dinner put the carrots and potatoes into the pan and toss with the remaining juices. If your meat is still cooking, you can put the carrots and potatoes in with it. If the meat is done, it will stay hot for quite some time on a plate with foil over it and the veggies can take the pan alone. If you would like, you can add another onion sliced up at this time as well. Cover and let bake for an hour until tender.
After the roast and veggies are done, take everything out and cover with foil to keep warm. Pour all remaining juice into a measuring cup and let it sit. The fat will rise to the top of the cup after a few minutes. Note how much fat there is and scoop it off and put it back in the roasting pan and put it on a burner on the stove. Add extra butter to the pan for desired amount of gravy. (every Tbs. of fat/butter makes about 1 C. gravy). Mix an equal amount of flour in with the fat/butter until well combined and heat until golden brown. Add 1 C. water for every Tbs. fat/butter and 1 tsp. Better than Bouillon (see note) for each cup of water. Whisk together until the flour lumps are gone and stir continually until thickened and bubbly. Add more bouillon, salt and pepper to taste, and water to desired thickness.
Place roast on a large plate and arrange potatoes and carrotts around it. Serve the gravy on the side. I like to serve steamed early petite peas with this dinner.
Note: For great beef broth in a second, use Better than Bouillon (also in chicken and vegetable and fish). It is in the soup isle in a jar and it is a kind of a paste. One tsp. in each cup of water makes amazing broth. I even like this as a broth in something like chicken noodle soup. I think it is tastier than making your own and for sure better than a can or cube.
Hope you enjoy! Next recipe will be what to do with the leftovers!! Stay tuned!