Saturday, March 10, 2012

Mom's Pot Roast

When we were growing up my mother used to make this dish and I can't begin to tell you how happy it would make us to smell this cooking. It excited not only us, but our friends. We would sometimes butter up the wonder bread, (can you imagine?)  and dip it into the cooking pot just to get to soak up the deliciousness.  My mom wasn't looking when we did this. I have a feeling if we ever got caught we would have felt the sting of a wooden spoon across the back of our hands!
Back in the day, a pot roast was called a pot roast. I can recall a time when my mother wrote out the recipe for my father to submit to his manager. The company my dad worked for was putting together one of those spiral bound cookbooks. We all voted for the pot roast recipe to go into the cookbook, but for some reason my dad didn't want to call it pot roast. I think he felt that the title of Pot Roast would not reflect how good the dish actually was , so my mom suggested calling it a braised beef, as if that somehow sounded any better. The recipe went into the "cook book" as Braised Beef. I still think it should have gone in as Ottavia's Pot Roast. Anyone who had ever eatten my mom's Pot Roast would have recognized it for a winning dish, one well worth making.  Braised beef could be just about anything!
My friend John P, still talks about this pot roast. I know it's one of his favorites that my mother used to make. It's favored my many if truth be told! Whenever John see's me, he always asks me if I make this. I just laugh. You know I do, you can make it too!
It's easy to make, just takes a little bit of time, but well worth the planning ahead to make this.
My family loves this served with mashed yukon gold potatoes. Add a vegetable, make a delicious fresh green garden salad and your meal is complete.
Here's what you will need to make this amazing pot roast.

- An inexpensive cut of beef
   3- 4 pounds
- 2 carrots, peeled
- 1 large onion, peeled
- 2 ribs of celery
- handful of dried porcini mushrooms (the more the better)
    you can find these in an Italian market, or in your supermarket. They come in a little bag. They are  
    a little on the expensive side, and a little bit goes a long way. They add a tremendous amount of
    flavor! If you can't find them, please email me!
- 2 Tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 1/2 - 2 cups Beef Broth
-  1/2 bottle - 3/4 bottle of a nice red wine
- 2 Bay leaf
- Salt and pepper to taste
- one fresh sprig of rosemary
   if using dried rosemary use a small pinch

Start off by letting your meat get to room temperature and season the meat with salt and pepper.

Get your cooking pot nice and hot, add the olive oil and immediately add the meat to brown.

While browning the meat, soak the porcini mushrooms in hot water and set them aside.

Add the carrots, celery and onion to a food processor and pulse until they are finely chopped/grated. My mother would grate all of the vegetables for this dish by hand. To save time, I put it all into the food processor and let it do all the work.

You want to brown the meat on all sides. This locks in the flavors and keeps the meat moist.  At times you will want to turn the meat before it's ready. The meat will tell you when it's ready to turn. It will be easy to lift and not stick to the pot when it's ready.  Let the meat "talk" to you!

Take the meat out of the pot. It's going to look like a mess on the bottom of your pot. Don't worry! It's going to all come up when you deglaze the pan.

Add the beef broth and with a wooden spoon, mix the broth around getting all those browned pieces stuck to the bottom of the pot to come up and incorporate into the broth.

Nice job, right?
Add the vegetables that have been chopped back into the pot with the broth.

Put the meat on top of the chopped vegetables. Add the red wine, porcini mushrooms, bay leaf, rosemary and season with more salt and pepper if needed.
You may think that the wine is too much. Trust me on this one. The alcohol will burn off in the first 10 - 15 minutes of cooking. The red wine adds so much flavor. You will love it.  Remember, if you don't like it enough to drink  don't use it for cooking.

Bring the pot almost to a boil, lower the heat to a simmer, cover and cook on top of the stove for 2 - 3 hours. If you wanted I guess you could finish this in the oven. My mom always cooked this on top of the stove.

The meat will shrink. When ready it will be fork tender! Take the meat out of the pot. Let it rest for a few minutes and then slice it. If the meat is too hot, it will shred when you slice it. So let it rest a little. Letting anything rest in my house is always a challenge! Try it, the slices will be beautiful!

Place the sliced beef on a platter and ladle some of the sauce all over the meat.

Get ready for this to disappear. If you're lucky, you will have left overs! There is nothing better than a pot roast sandwich the next day...

Buon Appetito


  1. I've nominated you for the Liebster Blog Award! :)

    1. well thank you! I do appreciate that! How do I get my award? I'd love to post it!