When you think of beef for dinner, steak probably comes to mind. Grilled hot and fast with that perfect tender rare meat inside; few things could compare right? As amazing as steak is, we can’t eat steak everyday – it’s too expensive and it is only part of what makes beef so delicious.
That brings us to today’s topic: pot roast. Yes, the humble pot roast – perfect for cheaper and “tougher” cuts of beef that aren’t part of the “steak” family. What these cuts lack in fat marbled steak goodness, they more than make up for in hearty beefy flavor and when cooked the right way tender lip smacking texture.
What is a Stovetop Pot Roast?
A stovetop pot roast generally refers to a braised meat that has been seared first then cooked in liquid. Contrast this to an oven roast, which is cooked using dry heat. Pot roasts are ideal for meat that contains gelatin from bones or lots of connective tissue from muscle. This makes pot roasts ideal for “tougher” cuts of meat not used for steaks or oven roasts.
Our Approach to Pot Roast
Our approach to pot roast is to teach the general technique of braising. The hope is that our readers develop an appreciation and openness for the technique and use for the other non-steak cuts of beef.
What Makes a Good Stovetop Pot Roast
The Challenge with Pot Roast
The main challenge with pot roasts is the time investment. The weight and shape of the meat both make a huge difference in how long it will take to become tender. In general, expect at least 1 hour per pound of meat braising and at least 30 minutes to reduce the liquid down at the end.
Pot roast is a textbook way to demonstrate the development of flavor while cooking. We sear the meat to encourage browning through the Maillard reaction.
We cook down the meat over a long time to dissolve the fat, connective tissue, and gelatin to create a thick delicious sauce and tenderize our meat. Finally, we reduce down the liquid content of the sauce to concentrate it’s flavor.
What Pairs with Pot Roasts?
Mashed potatoes are my favorite pairing with a pot roast. Why? Because of gravy. Since you are using a wet cooking method, you always end up with sauce that can be reduced down into gravy at the end. This makes already luxurious mashed potatoes into something spectacular.
When it comes to wine, pot roasts is the stuff cabs and bordeaux are made for. We encourage you to go full body and flavor on your wine when pairing with a pot roast. If you want to try something a little out of left field, try a rioja or barbera with your next roast.
The beauty of the pot roast is that you can cook the whole thing in 1 pot or pan. You’ll still need a cutting board and knife to prep, but cooking should be nice and simple.
- 1/2 onion
- 1 carrot
- 1 lb chuck
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 tablespoon pepper
- 1 quart stock or broth
- 1 cup red wine
- 1 tablespoon sage
- Cut onions and carrots
- Salt and pepper the chuck
- Sear on both sides in a pan (2 minutes per side)
- Add onion and carrot into the pan (or, if you prefer to cook in a pot, then transfer your seared chuck into a pot and add onion and carrots to the pot)
- Add broth, wine, and sage and bring to a boil
- Cover and simmer for 1.5 hours
- Uncover and cook on high for 30 minutes to reduce