The Instafamous Pot Roast

Posted: Nov 22 2014

This One Pot Wonder Nearly Broke The Internet When it Was Regrammed by GastroPost. Here Our Very Own Michelle Pinchev Shares The 5 Steps To Her InstaFamous Pot Roast.

Ever since Gastropost posted a regram of my thanksgiving Pot Roast on instagram, everyone has been asking for the recipe. The post gained 330+ likes and has since been featured in the National Post. I am no domestic goddess (I seldom cook anything that takes longer than 30 minutes) and I certainly don’t follow recipes, let alone document my creations. Cooking is an art, and you have to make it your own. There are hundreds of great Pot Roast recipes online and no need for me to add to the culinary cacophony.

What I can do is share the secrets to my “one pot wonder” success – the rest is up to you:

Part 1: Buy Fresh Ingredients

Start with a great cut of meat. Skip the supermarket and visit your neighbourhood butcher instead - somewhere like Cumbrae's or The Healthy Butcher, where meat is sourced locally from small, Ontario farms. You can use a number of beef cuts with this recipe including cross rib, arm or centre-cut chuck. 

Depending on the season, I'll visit a farmer's market for fresh herbs and vegetables. Always try to go with what's in season. 


Part 2: Marinate

This step is more art than science. Pot roasts are typically made of tougher meat, so the marinating process helps not only with flavour but with breaking down the meat as well, to get that deliciously tender result. 

Garlic and onion are staples. Aside from that, the rest is up to you. Have fun with it. Choose an alcohol like wine, whiskey or bourbon and add flavours like soy, hot sauce or Worcestershire sauce along with fresh herbs and a generous helping of beef broth. 

Another option is to buy a marinade from your local butcher or farmers market.


Part 3: Choose A Recipe

The basic principle of Pot Roast is to slow cook a tough cut of meat at a low temperature until it's basically falling apart and delicious. Here's a tried and tested recipe that never fails:

1 beef roast, 4-6 lbs. 

2 large onions, peeled and sliced 

3-4 cloves of garlic

2 tablespoons of tomato paste

3 bay leaves 

1/2 Cup. of fresh thyme leaves 

1 cup of red wine, whiskey or bourbon 

Approx 1 cup of Broth or Water 

Salt and Pepper to taste

Olive oil for searing 


Part 4: Cook

Pre-heated 350F oven

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a Dutch Oven on the stovetop. After rinsing, patting dry and seasoning with salt and paper, place the roast in the Dutch Oven, searing to brown all sides. Then put the roast aside. 

Add the onions and garlic (sauté until soft and translucent) followed by tomato paste, bay leaves and then the alcohol, simmering for about 2 minutes. 

Add the beef and additional liquid (water or broth) until it is about a third of the way submerged. Add the thyme - or if you wish, I like to press a few sprigs into the meat directly.

After about 2-3 hours of cooking, you have the option of adding seasonal vegetables to the pot. I suggest pearl onions, carrots and parsnips.

Ovens vary, but I like to cook my pot roast slow at a low temp for up to 6 hours to get it fork-tender, basting regularly at 30-45 minute intervals to prevent the meat from drying out. TIP: If you find the water evaporating too quickly, try turning down the temperature and cooking for longer. Alternatively, you can continue to add water.

Be sure to put a lid on the pot while it's roasting, otherwise all those good juices will evaporate and the outcome will not be juicy and awesome.


Part 5: Test & Eat!

The test for readiness is to try to pull a piece of meat away with your fork (hence the term "fork tender"!). 

If it's ready, dig in and enjoy!


(Article Contributed by Michelle Pinchev)


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