Sometimes things just work out. Even if you aren’t so sure they would, from the start.
Like, for instance… I know how to make pot roast. My recipe involves a small chuck roast, beefy onion soup, carrots and potatoes, and either 1.5 hours on the stove top, or all day in the slow cooker.
So I picked up a chuck roast last time I ordered groceries. It was supposed to be 3-4 lbs, which is WAY more pot roast than a household of 1 requires, but nevertheless, that’s what size they were listing on sale. So there will be leftovers, no big deal. I didn’t order potatoes, because me having a whole bag of potatoes in the house is, so to speak, a recipe for diet disaster; I figured I could pick those up on a just-what-I-need, just-in-time basis.
Uh huh. Great theory.
Well, the roast arrived and it was over 6 lbs. Or roughly 3 times anything I could possibly need, even if I were having company.
Which I am not.
In any case, the day I decided to make the pot roast, a few other fails occurred.
Like, I didn’t go buy potatoes, and amid nasty weather, I wasn’t inclined to go out.
And I’d eaten all the carrots already.
And it turns out I didn’t have another packet of beefy onion soup on hand, either.
Plus, the gigantic roast doesn’t fit in my slow cooker.
Big. Fat. Fail.
So here’s what I did, and it turned out truly fantastic.
Redeeming the meal
I pulled out my huge, heavy dutch oven, and got to work.
I untied the chuck roast — yes it was so big they’d needed to hogtie it — and quick-seared it on all sides.
The roast just barely fit in the pot.
Then I half-filled the crockpot with water and added —
- two packets of Knorr beef stock
- 1 tsp of beef bouillon granules (I figured that was more than enough salt)
- 1 cup of dry red wine (in my case I used Jersey Devil Port from Valenzano Winery… driest thing I had on hand) for both flavor and tenderizer
- cracked black pepper
- cayenne pepper
I simmered it, turning it over periodically and then, as the ribbons of fat started to soften, cutting it apart into manageable chunks (each about the size of a smaller roast) so that eventually it was all submerged in the liquid.
Then I cooked it for hours (hey, it was a LOT of meat), and when they were fall-apart tender, pulled the chunks of meat out, trimmed them, and set them aside.
(OK, I had some first. De-licious.)
Then I continued to reduce the juices down over a slow simmer for another half-hour.
Then I covered the liquid, and threw it into the fridge for several hours, so that the fat could solidify for easy removal.
When I had removed all the fat (and there was plenty), I reduced it a little more.
Now I have chunks of perfectly-cooked pot roast in one bowl, and a really delicious gravy in another. All I have to do nights is take a small portion of each, nuke and pair it with a vegetable, and it’s a whole home-cooked meal.
And did I mention… it’s good?