Monday, February 19, 2007

My Second Pot Roast...

A few changes to my first recipe and Yum Again!

My first pot roast was very tasty but I had some troubles. One was with getting the meat, fall apart tender in only three hours. My total cooking time 4 hours the first day and 3 hours the next. The Final Result was delicious but I wanted to cut down the cooking time.

With this goal in mind, I searched the web for the secret to tender pot roast, cooked in only 3 hours or less. I found it!!

The trick is to set your oven to 300º-325º and check the roast after 45 minutes to see if the liquid is slowly bubbling. If not, increase the temperature and check again. The slow bubbling is what breaks down the meat and tenderizes it.

With this new found information and a few different ingredients, including a different cut of beef, I set out to make the perfect roast.

Stracoto with Porcini Mushrooms and Potatoes
Recipe adapted from Giada De Laurentiis

(3-4 pound) boneless beef shoulder roast
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 small red onion
6 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
3/4 cup dry red wine
2 cups canned low-sodium chicken broth
1/2-ounce dried porcini mushrooms (I rinsed mine and rehydrated them in the chicken broth. Bring the broth to a boil and take off the heat, add the mushrooms, cover and let sit for 15 minutes, strain over a coffee filter to catch any grit)
6 large sprigs fresh thyme, plus extra for garnish
1 bay leaf
2 russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-3 inch cubes, keep in cold water until ready to use
1 tablespoon of cornstarch mixed with 1 tablespoon cold water

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Pat the beef dry with paper towels. Sprinkle the beef generously with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a heavy 6-quart roasting pan over medium heat. Add the beef and cook until brown on all sides, about 15 minutes total cooking time. Transfer the beef to a bowl.

Add remaining tablespoon oil to the pan, add the onion and saute until tender, scraping up the brown bits on the bottom of the pot, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and saute 1 minute. Add the wine and boil 1 minute. Stir in the strained broth and mushrooms. Return the beef to the pan. Bring the liquids to a boil. Cover and transfer to the oven. (I Started out at 300 degrees and checked to see if the liquid was bubbling after 45 minutes- it was very slowly bubbling so I raised the temp to 325).
Braise until the beef is fork-tender, turning the beef over halfway through cooking (1 1/2 hours), about 3 hours total. Add in the potatoes about a 1/2 hour before the roast is done.

(At this point, I let the pot cool and transferred it to the refrigerator.
The next day, I took the pot out of the fridge and while the juice was still cold, I spooned any excess fat off the top of the pan juices. I reheated it on the stove top until boiling then transferred it to the oven for another 45 minutes at 350 degrees.)

Transfer the beef to a cutting board. Tent the beef with foil and let stand 15 minutes. Pick out the thyme stems and bay leaf.

Bring the sauce to a boil. Reduce heat and quickly whisk in 1 tablespoon of cornstarch mixed with 1 tablespoon of cold water and cook for another 2 minutes to thicken the gravy. Season the sauce, to taste, with salt and pepper.

Cut the beef across the grain into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Arrange the sliced beef on a platter and garnish with thyme. Spoon the sauce over and serve, passing the remaining sauce in a sauce boat.


Emma said...

I've always been too scared to cook a pot roast. I feel like there's so much watching and waiting involved that I'm sure to screw something up!

Annie said...

Emma, Actually I used to think the same way but now that I tried it, it's really one of the easiest meals to make!

aTRY IT... I know you will be pleasantly surprised-just like I was.

Anonymous said...

The pot roast did surprised me it was so tender and delicious yummy,Bambola.