Pot roast is a dish that I usually like to make in the fall and winter when it’s cold and I want a hot, hearty meal to eat. I tend to not make this dish in the summer when it’s hot outside and the last thing I want is to have my stove on for hours. But it’s not summer yet and the weather has been quite chilly this spring so I decided to make the best of it by making pot roast. Pot roast is also one of my boyfriend’s favourite meals so he was quite happy when I told him that I was making pot roast this weekend.
I’ve done a bit of research over the years on how to make the perfect pot roast. Through this research, I have learned various techniques which I’ve used to develop this recipe. A resource that I found really helpful was the “Pot Roast 101” post on the myrecipes website. The post is very informative and does a great job of explaining why certain techniques are used for pot roast.
How to Make Pot Roast
For pot roasting, you want to use tougher cuts of meat. Beef is usually used for pot roast but pork shoulder and leg of lamb also make great pot roasts. The most suitable cuts of beef for pot roasting are chuck, round and rump steaks; I used round steak for this dish. Generally, don’t use meat that has large ribbons of fat in it for pot roast. This type of meat will leave you with a greasy, disintegrated pot roast.
You’ll need a heavy pot like a Dutch oven for pot roast. A heavy pot will prevent the meat from burning and ensure that it cooks evenly and develops intense flavour. You’ll also need some tongs to help with handling the meat and herbs and spices to season the meat. I prefer to to use very simple seasoning for my meat when making pot roast; I just use salt, black pepper, onions, garlic, thyme, and rosemary for seasoning. You will need beef broth for braising the meat. I like to add a cup of bold red wine like a Merlot to intensify the colour and flavour of the roast. You can add vegetables to your pot roast; the ones that I used for my pot roast were shallots, baby carrots, small russet potatoes, and mushrooms.
To make pot roast, start by preheating the oven to 275°F (135°C). Season the meat with a generous amount of black pepper and minced garlic; I used 2 tablespoons each of black pepper and garlic. Place the seasoned meat in the fridge and let it sit while you move to the next step. Heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a Dutch oven over the stove at medium heat. Peel 8 shallots, sauté them in the Dutch oven for about 3 minutes, then set them aside on a plate. Take the meat from the fridge and season with salt (to taste; I used 1 tablespoon of salt). Place the meat in the Dutch oven and sear the meat on all sides (about 3 minutes for each side). Remove the meat from the pot and place it on a clean plate.
Add 1 cup of red wine to the pot and deglaze it, scraping the brown bits with a whisk. Place the meat back into the pot and add beef stock to cover the meat half-way; I used 1.5 cartons of beef stock for this. Add the sautéed shallots as well as 4 sprigs of thyme and 2 sprigs of rosemary to the meat. Cover the pot with a lid and place the pot in the oven. Roast the meat at 275°F. The roast is done when it’s fork tender and has an internal temperature of 160°F after 15 minutes of standing. I used a roast that was a little over 3 lbs and it took 5 hours for it to be done. For a 2 lb roast, it’ll take about 3.5 hours.
If using carrots, potatoes and mushrooms, place the carrots and potatoes in the pot when the roast is about 1 hour away from being done. Add the mushrooms to the pot roast at about 35 minutes before the roast is done. To make gravy for the pot roast, take 2 cups of the liquid from the roast and mix it with 1 tablespoon of cornstarch. Cook the gravy on the stove in a small saucepan until it’s the desired thickness. Now relax and enjoy!
How to Make Pot Roast as a Make-Ahead Meal
To have this pot roast as a make-ahead meal, let the roast cool completely after it’s done, then put it in a freezer container. Cover the meat completely with the roast liquid and then cover the container with a lid and put it in the freezer. When you’re ready to have the roast, take it out from the freezer, put it in the fridge and allow it to thaw (usually it’ll take overnight to thaw). Re-heat the meat with the liquids in a Dutch oven. You can do this by letting the roast simmer at low-medium heat on the stove-top or in the oven at 275°F (135°C). Roast vegetables don’t hold up very well when you freeze them so my advice is to eat them right away and not add them to the roast when you’re freezing it for later.
- Round roast (I used 3.2 lbs)
- 15 Baby russet potatoes (optional)
- 2 cups baby carrots (optional)
- 1 cup whole button mushrooms (optional)
- 1 cup red wine (I used Merlot)
- Beef broth (use enough to cover the meat half-way)
- 8 shallots (peeled)
- 2 tbsp garlic (minced)
- 4 sprigs thyme
- 2 sprigs rosemary
- Salt & pepper (use as much as you’d like to season the meat)
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 tbsp cornstarch (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 275°F (135°C).
- Wash the meat and pat it dry. Place the meat on a plate and season with garlic and black pepper. Let the meat sit in the fridge while you work on the next steps.
- Heat the vegetable oil in a large Dutch oven on the stove at medium temperature.
- Sauté the shallots in the pot until caramelized (about 3 minutes). Remove the shallots from the pot and set aside on a plate.
- Take the meat out from the fridge and season it with salt. Place the meat in the Dutch oven and sear the meat on each side (about 3 minutes for each side). Once the meat is seared on all sides, take it out of the pot and set it on a plate.
- Pour the red wine into the pot. Deglaze the pot by using a whisk to scrap and stir the brown bits that were left over from the meat.
- Transfer the meat back into the pot. Pour enough beef broth into the pot to cover the meat half-way.
- Add the shallots, thyme and rosemary to the pot.
- Cover the pot with a lid and place it in the oven. Roast the meat at 275°F (135°C). The roast is done when it falls apart easily (it should be tender enough to be able to cut with a fork) and has an internal temperature of 160°F after 15 minutes of standing. A 3 lb roast will take about 5 hrs to be done while a 2 lb roast will take about 3.5 hrs.
- If using the vegetables, add the potatoes and carrots to the roast about 1 hour before the roast is done. Add the mushrooms to the roast about 35 minutes before the meat is done.
- To make gravy for the pot roast, take 2 cups of the liquid that the meat was cooked in and pour it into a small saucepan. You can whisk in cornstarch as a thickener. Cook the liquid on the stovetop at medium heat until the gravy is a desired thickness; it took 8 minutes for my gravy to thicken to my preferred thickness.
- Serve the roast with the vegetables (or another side of your choice) and the gravy.