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Delicious Pot Roast Dinner



I've had many compliments on this pot roast recipe.  This recipe takes a mere pot roast to a new level.

I'll take you through each step and explain the reason I chose each step.  

Notes - This pot roast is best cooked the day before serving - which makes it great for a dinner party.  Cooking the roast the day before:

1.  You can take the fat that has risen to the top and solidified easier when it’s cold.

2.  You can easily separate the roast into serving sizes taking off any fat clumps and                  membranes that are a natural part of this type of roast but isn't something you'd like to          serve to your guests.

3.  Somehow - the roast just tastes better after a night's rest in the au jus - and who wouldn't      want to serve their guests the meal when it’s at its best?

By the way - this can be done in the oven or in a slow cooker. 

I'm cooking this in an oven - I'll add the minor slow cooker changes at the end.


Let's hit it...

The Recipe - 

1 - 4-4.5 lb Chuck Beef Roast

8 oz. - Button or Crimini Mushrooms

4 oz. - Shiitake Mushrooms

1/4 oz. - Dried Porcini Mushrooms

1/2 Cup - Dry White Wine

1 Tbs. - Brandy

1/4 Cup - Soy Sauce

1 Tbs. - Worcestershire Sauce

32 oz. - Chicken Stock

Kosher Salt

Fresh Cracked Pepper

Olive Oil

Flavorings -

3 - Inner Stalks of Celery with Leaves

2 - Small Carrots

1/4 - White Onion

10-12 - Black Peppercorns

2 Each - Bay Leaves (if Fresh - 3 if Dried)

4-5 Each - Cloves of Garlic

A Few Sprigs of Fresh Thyme

A Sprig of Rosemary

You'll need a cheese cloth to hold this all in...

An hour prior to starting, take the roast out of the refrigerator, salt it, leave it on the counter.   Use around 1 tsp. of kosher salt on each side.  


This will accomplish 2 things - bring the roast closer to room temperature before cooking while giving the salt time to work with the juices and bring some of the salt into the roast.



Also - heat 1/2 cup of water - it doesn't need to be boiling - just hot.  Place the dried porcini mushrooms into the hot water, and let that sit to reconstitute.


Soaking Porcini Mushrooms


Slice the button and shiitake mushrooms - save the shiitake stems for the flavorings packet. Mince the porcinis - reserve the liquid for the braising liquid (Pour this through a fine mesh strainer to make sure any unwanted particles go into the au jus).  Place mushrooms and liquid to the side.




Time to get the flavorings together in a cheesecloth.  Wash and cut the vegetables so that they will fit into the cheesecloth.  Wash the herbs and add those, the peppercorns, the smashed garlic cloves and shiitake stems.  


I used more garlic cloves than the recipe because these were very small (and I love garlic), and I left the papers on them - those have flavor too.

Pot Roast Flavorings


Tie the cheese cloth with kitchen twine.  Place to the side.


Flavoring in Cheesecloth


Once the hour is up, it’s time to sear the roast.  Pat both sides with a paper towel.  

Drying the outside of the roast will help it to sear rather than steam.


Dry Chuck Roast

Add olive oil to a heavy cooking pot - heat on medium high. Once the oil is shimmering, place the dried roast into the heated pot and let it sear.  Give it 2-3 minutes before peaking. You want the first side of the roast to be golden brown seared before turning.

Make sure the temperature is high enough to sear the meat, but not so high that it the fond will burn.  

Fond is the stuff that builds up on the bottom of the pot during the searing process.


Seared Pot Roast

When the roast is done searing on both sides, place it on a plate.  The fond should be a nice dark brown - not burned black.  

If it got too dark (black and burnt), wash the pot and move forward with the recipe.  You won't like the end result of burned taste if you leave that burnt fond in the pot and if you don't wash it out. There's still more flavor to be added so it will be fine.


Pan Fond

Add a little more oil into the pot and then add the mushrooms, a pinch of salt and a grind of pepper.  Saute the mushrooms until they release their water and then most of the water cooks off.  The mushrooms will have deglazed and pan, but that's no reason not to continue adding flavor - Add the brandy and allow that to cook off as well.  

The brandy will cook off quite quickly - have the wine ready!


Add Brandy to Sauted Mushrooms

Add the wine and continue to stir until most of that is cook off as well.  Add the soy sauce, What's-That-There sauce, and chicken stock. Add the roast and the cheese cloth filled with flavorings. 

I know - the cheese cloth is above the full level of the liquid.  As the meat starts to shrink, the cheese cloth will eventually be covered in liquid.


Pot Roast with Cheesecloth Ready for Oven

After this starts to get to a nice simmer, cover the roast and place into a 210 Degree F oven. 

Boiling point it 212 degrees F - 210 will keep everything just under that - allowing the collagen to melt and the roast to braise without quite boiling.  Make sure the au jus maintains a temperature of at least 180 - check with a thermometer.  If after an hour of cooking, you check and the temperature is under 180 - raise the oven temp.

Allow to cook for 8 Hours.  You want the end result to be fork tender, but not fall-apart tender.  Everyone's oven and crock pot is different, so you'll need to be your own judge.

Once cooked, take the pot out of the oven and place onto a heat proof surface.  Allow to start to come to room temperature (About 1 hour) and then put everything into the refrigerator overnight.  

You do not want to take the hot pot from the oven and put directly into the refrigerator.  This will pull the temperature in the refrigerator down which will cause the roast to take too long to cool off and possibly cause other items in the refrigerator to spoil.  Bringing it - not to room temperature - but to warm will prevent this from happening.

The next day - take the solidified fat that has risen to the top of everything out of the pot.  I use my hands for this - you can do that or use a spatula.  Take the flavor packet out too. Discard all of that. Place the roast onto a cutting board and start to pull apart and cut the roast.  

The chuck roast is a cut from several different muscles, so there is a natural way to pull it apart.  This will also reveal the membranes that exist between the muscles - you'll want to cut or pull these away from the pieces.  

Remove as much of the fat clumps as you from the roast as well.  

What you end up with is the pieces you will heat and serve for your guests - Left hand of picture.  The fat and membrane that you removed from the roast - Upper right hand of picture.  And, the chef's treat (you'll have some nibbles and sch-nibbles that come off of the roast during pulling and cutting. Place into a small bowl with some of the au jus, heat and enjoy!) - Lower right hand picture.


Portion Pot Roast

There will be too much au jus to serve with the roast.  I usually freeze half for when I want to thicken and make mushroom gravy for another meal.

You can heat the pot roast any way you want.  If you are going to use the oven for anything else - place the roast and the au jus into a oven proof pan with a cover and heat at 350 degrees F until bubbling hot.  If you don't have to heat up the oven for anything, place the roast and au jus into a microwave proof dish with cover and heat until bubbling hot.  You could also reheat the roast and au jus on the stove.  However you want....

Now you need to decide on the au jus - do you want to thicken it slightly, thicken it into a gravy, or leave it au jus? 

I prefer au jus, but that's just me.  

If you want to thicken it slightly - put 1 Tbsp. of corn starch into a small bowl and add enough dry wine or the au jus to make a slurry.  Remove the meat to a platter.  Place the au jus into a pan and bring to a boil.  Add the slurry and allow to simmer for a couple minutes to cook out the raw taste of the corn starch.  Double check for seasoning of the gravy and serve.

If you want a thicker gravy - add 1.5-2 tbsp. of corn starch and use the process as above.


Pot Roast Dinner

For a slow cooker – it’s basically the same - just at the prep work phase - start the slow cooker on high and add the soy sauce, the What's-That-There sauce and the stock - bring to a simmer - then do the rest of the prep work.  Sear the roast in another pan.  Once the roast is seared, you can add it to the slow cooker with the flavor packet and then work on the mushrooms and deglazing in the pan you seared the roast in.  Once this is done - add mushrooms to the slow cooker as well.  

Do not lower the temperature of the slow cooker to simmer until you have a full simmer. Make sure the au jus temperature is at least 180 degrees F 1 hour into the cooking process. If it isn't, raise the slow cooker temperature and check again in a half hour.

Cooking time is the same.