>braised is beautiful.

>My last meal was somewhere between my mom’s pot roast with mashed potatoes and gravy or buffalo wings with chili cheese fries.

I will, till this day, lean towards the pot roast. I don’t know what it is!

Well…I guess anytime you cook a big chunk of meat over a long period time it almost always results in a good thing. I’m such a huge fan of braised dishes (pork shoulder, shanks, roasts, etc…)

Now those unfamiliar with braising should know it’s a super easy concept and process. I guess a more technical definition would mean to “sear the meat on all sides and slowly cook in liquid for an extended amount of time till it’s ‘fall off the bone’ tender.” So, after you recover from that terrible definition, let me try to explain my favorite pot roast recipe and what I do most of the time I braise a nice piece of protein. (In this case, beef and/or beef shank with some nice marbled fat.)

Fat = flavor

I reckon’ I’ve taken a more “beef bourguignon” technique when making it – though I don’t use nearly the amount of ingredients the traditional and “classic” French versions require. What I’ve taken away from beef bourguignon is the red wine. Yes. Yes. Yes. The red wine makes all the difference. You ever see folks drinking red wine with their big ole’ honky-tonk steaks? It’s because it tastes really, really good together.

But, as I’ve yet to have red wine capture my palette, I generally just cook with the stuff and let other folks who may or may not live in my house finish it off. 🙂 Some grocery stores sell it in tiny bottles for cooking purposes.
Wine gives beef this incredibly rich taste, not to mention it leaves your final product looking reduced to a gorgeous dark brown glaze.

So alas, here is how I like to make it and hope you get to try it sometime!

Ingredients:
3-4lbs chuck roast (will probably just say, “Great for pot roast!” or something…)
2 cups yellow onion, diced
4 carrots, peeled and chopped in 1” pieces
4 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
1-2 quarts of beef stock (depending on how much meat you have)
2 bay leaves
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 cup red wine
salt
pepper

Directions:
In a heavy bottomed pot (such as a Dutch oven, which is how I usually cook mine), drop about 1-2 tablespoons of canola oil and heat till it just starts to smoke. While the oil is heating, make sure your roast is cut into 2” hunks and is seasoned with salt and pepper (somewhat generously).

When the oil is hot, sear the meat on all sides (about 1-2 minutes a side), but just until it gets to be a nice dark brown – not black!! Make sure not to overcrowd your pot while searing, or the meat will not brown as it should.
When all the meat has been browned, drain the fat and oil into a bowl, and place about 1-2 tbsp back in the pot. This is when you add your onions. Toss them in and scrape up that good “fond” that should be lodged to the bottom of your pot. This is where a lot of your flavor is. It’s also where I add a little pinch of salt to help the onions break down a bit.

Once the onions start turning soft, I add the red wine and scrape up any remaining bits from the pan (also somewhat known as deglazing). Let the wine reduce a bit with the onions to cook out the alcohol. When it has reduced for a few minutes, add your carrots and garlic and give it a good stir.

Now it’s cool to add your meat back into the pot, along with the beef stock (enough to almost cover the meat), bay leaves, Worcestershire and a few pinches of salt and a couple of teaspoons of pepper.
I’ll bring it all to a boil, then reduce to a simmer on medium-low heat for a good 2 ½ – 3 hours – or until the meat can easily be pulled apart with a fork.

It should serve about four people — or two, really, really hungry people.

I love eating pot roast with boiled or roasted potatoes and greens – but I wouldn’t cook your potatoes with your pot roast…I tried it once and it came out really soggy, but to each their own!
You can add mushrooms to this dish as well (when you add your carrots and garlic) and it would turn out even better – that is, if you like mushrooms.

Pieces of meat like the shank will probably take a little longer because they are a bit tougher, but if you braise anything long enough, it’s sure to come out tasting fan-freakin’-tastic.

Here’s to honoring our ingredients,
Take care, my friends.

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