When we moved nearly a year ago, we decided not to get cable. It was partly to save money and partly to be all sanctimonious about not watching much television. I am mostly kidding about the second part. Having access to Real Housewives of Wherever wasn’t much of a loss, but I did miss the Food Network. Even though I would complain about the quality and general lameness of most of the shows, bad cooking shows were better than no cooking shows at all. Then, I realized they show cooking shows most Saturday mornings on PBS. This began my obsession with America’s Test Kitchen and Cook’s County episodes. J will even watch it with me and discuss the food science stuff.
This recipe for Italian Pot Roast is slightly adapted from the recipe on the show. I generally don’t use tomato paste and replace it with anchovy paste. I know you don’t like anchovies. But, you probably do. I promise they don’t taste fishy in tomato sauces. Just try my lasagna. The most important step in this recipe is to make sure to really sear the meat on all sides (maillard reaction for fans of the show!). This will make a huge difference in flavor when the roast is done.
Italian Pot Roast
Adapted from Cook’s County
3 1/2-4 Pounds of Chuck Roast (you can ask your butcher to truss it for you)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 pound sliced cremini mushrooms
2 tsp anchovy paste
1 14.5 oz. can of chopped tomatoes
1 cup of tomato juice
1 cup of red wine, divided into 1/2 cups, (I used a Zinfandel)
1 head of garlic, remove the outer skins and slice it in half
4 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 spring of fresh rosemary
salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Pat the roast dry with paper towels and season generously with kosher salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a large cast iron dutch oven. Brown the roast on all sides, this will take about 8-12 minutes. This will also smoke so open some windows! It should look something like this:
Remove the meat from the pan and allow to rest. Sautee the onion, celery and mushrooms in the rendered fat and oil for about 8 minutes. Add the 1/2 cup of wine, garlic, thyme, tomatoes and tomato juice. Bring to a simmer of medium high and add the roast back to the pan. Cover the top of the pot with foil and then the lid, and place it in the oven. Flip the roast every hour or so. Cook until fork tender. My roast was just under four pounds and cooked in about four hours. You can skim the fat off the top as necessary. I waited until then end of cooking. (Note: If you are not going to serve it the same day, this is a great time to let it cool and store it before the final steps.)
Remove the roast from the pan and cover loosely with foil. Remove the garlic and thyme from the pot. Discard the thyme and squeeze the garlic cloves from the skins. Bring the sauce to a boil and add the second 1/2 cup of red wine. Add the mashed garlic and rosemary and simmer for about 2 minutes. Remove the rosemary and taste for salt and pepper.
After removing the twine, slice the roast again the grain. It will likely be just about falling apart. Serve with additional sauce.