I'm not exactly crushing my Fall Bucket List this year, and truth be told, I knew this would happen. I almost posted a sarcastic bucket list this year (containing things like "make a list of things revolving around pumpkins and apples and then actually do none of them") because for me, these things rarely actually happen. They all sound so good in early September, and then before I know it, it's December and I'm freezing and everything I do must require being wrapped in a blanket and/or snow suit.
But one thing I have actually accomplished this season is to make pot roast like I wanted to. It's my favorite kind of thing to cook in the fall, especially on Sundays. It's so flavorful, tender, and rich (thanks, red wine), and served over mashed potatoes, there's not much better for dinner and lunch in the colder months.
Sunday pot roast
Yields about 6-8 servings
3 lb boneless chuck roast, room temperature
3 tsp, plus 1 tsp sea salt (divided)
Lots of black pepper
3 T canola oil
2 T butter
2 Spanish onions, peeled, cut in half and then in quarters
4 stalks celery, cut into finger-length pieces
4 large carrots, peeled, cut into finger-length pieces
1 head garlic cloves, peeled
6 oz can tomato paste
1 cup cabernet wine
4 whole sprigs rosemary
2 dried bay leaves
4 cups beef broth
Extra sea salt for seasoning
Mashed potatoes for serving, if you'd like
Preheat oven to 300 degrees, with the racks layered in the bottom of the oven. Sprinkle roast on all sides and edges with 3 tsp salt and a good amount of black pepper. In a large Dutch oven, heat 3 T canola oil over medium-high heat. When oil is very hot (you can test this by flicking a drop of water in—it should sputter and sizzle aggressively), place roast in pot. Let it sit untouched for 3-4 minutes until nice and browned. Use a couple sets of tongs to turn the roast over and brown the other side the same way for another few minutes. When it’s done, remove to a plate. Reduce the heat to medium, and add butter to pot and stir to incorporate with remaining oil. Add onions, celery, and carrot, as well as the remaining 1 tsp of salt and some more pepper, and cook for 5 minutes or so without stirring much (you’re trying to get some color on the veggies; it’s not important to cook them at this stage). Add in garlic cloves for another minute or so of cooking, stirring to avoid any burning. Then stir in tomato paste and cook for a few minutes to get rid of its rawness. Pour in wine to deglaze the pan and let simmer for a few minutes while it thickens substantially. Toss in rosemary and bay leaves, and set the roast on top of the veggie mixture. Pour beef broth around the roast, making sure roast isn’t fully immersed in liquid (it should come up half or ¾ of the way on the sides of the roast). Cover pot with lid, and place in the oven. Set timer for three hours, and walk away! After three hours, test meat (it should pull apart easily when stabbed with a fork), and continue cooking for another half hour if need be. Otherwise, remove from oven, and use tongs to transfer meat to a cutting board to slice or pull it into sections for serving. Taste for seasoning (I like to sprinkle the pulled sections with a little extra sea salt), and then serve in bowls (I like it over mashed potatoes), with some veggies added from the pot and a ladle or two of the sauce from the pot, as well.