Monday, June 11, 2012

Dutch Oven Pot Roast With Onions, Potatoes and Carrots

Well, that weekend certainly flew by now didn't it?  Wow.  Here it is Monday once again and there were errands to run and projects to work on and of course, dinner to be made.  Do you have favorite meals from childhood that you consider comfort food or "go to" meals?  Today was one of those days when I wanted something fabulously delicious (at least in my book), so I decided to make pot roast in my dutch oven with carrots, onions and potatoes.  This was one of my all time childhood favorite meals.  It was usually served for Sunday dinner in our house, but who said it's only for Sunday?  I decided to make it Monday dinner because I had the time, a roast in the freezer and it was what I wanted.  I cook, I make the menu.  Dan has to go along for the ride.  He didn't seem to mind at all! And, it's doctored up a bit from the ones we had at home.

I have a slow cooker and I use it often, but today I wanted a roast cooked in the dutch oven the "old fashioned" way.  Cooking in the dutch oven gives food so much flavor and makes a roast super tender.  I buy my meat from a local farmer at the farmers' market.  All his meat is grass fed, all natural, no hormones or antibiotics added and it is processed locally.  It is fabulous, lean beyond belief and so flavorful that it is reminiscent of childhood days.  It seems that so much of the meat sold in grocery stores today is somewhat flavorless, but not his.  

Here is what you need:

2 tsps extra virgin olive oil
1 3-4 pound chuck or shoulder roast
salt and pepper
2 large onions
4-5 sprigs fresh thyme
3 garlic cloves chopped
2 cups low sodium beef broth
6-7 large carrots
3 pounds potatoes

The roast was a 4 pound shoulder roast that I had purchased a while back and put in the freezer.  I knew it was there waiting for just the right day and time to make its appearance.  Today was that day.  First, I defrosted it in the microwave.  Now to begin.  It's important to sear meat to help it retain its flavor and keep all the important juices in.  I put about two teaspoons of olive oil in the bottom of the dutch oven and let it get screaming hot.  Salt and pepper both sides of the roast and place it in the bottom of the plan.  Listen to that sizzle.  Boy oh boy, does it smell good.  Let is sear for a couple of minutes until it is brown and flip it over.  Sear on the second side until brown and remove the roast from the pan to a plate.

Slice two large onions in half top to bottom and cut each half into eights.  Throw the onions in the pan and saute until translucent.  Put the meat back in the pan and add about 2 cups of low sodium beef broth and 3 cloves of chopped garlic.  Toss in 4 or 5 sprigs of fresh time, put the lid on and place the dutch oven in a 350 degree oven for one and one half hours.  (don't peek)

While the roast is in the oven, peel 6 or 7 carrots and cut into chunks.  Peel about 3 pounds of potatoes and cut into chunks also.  I like to use what my grandmother called "irish" potatoes.  Back in those days we had red potatoes and irish potatoes.  (We didn't have Yukon golds, fingerlings or any of the fancy varieties we have to choose from now).  These will go in the pan at the end of the 1.5 hours cooking time.  Put the lid back on the pan and continue to cook for at least one more hour until the vegetables and meat are tender.  Remove the pan from the oven (it's heavy and hot, use pot holders), slice the roast and serve with the carrots and potatoes.  The onions have pretty much disintigrated at this point, but add soooooo much flavor to the pan juices, meat and other vegetables.

You can see the roast peaking through all the vegetables.  I wish you could enjoy how incredible this smells.   Oh so wonderful.  Garlic, onions, potatoes, carrots, thyme and beef filling the air, making your mouth water.  The beef was so tender you didn't even need a knife to cut it.  Yum!

We had a green salad with radishes right out of our garden and cornbread.  Talk about childhood memories.  Dan just kept saying over and over how good it all was.  Made it all worthwhile and there are leftovers!!

Next time you are in the mood for some delicious comfort food, give this recipe a try.  There are alternatives to a slow cooker.

Everyday Donna

Things to Remember:

A favorite childhood memory:  Mashing up the potatoes cooked with the roast and putting some of the pot liquor over them and the carrots.  One of my all time favorites.  It's the little things.  donna

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