February 17, 2021
There is arguably nothing more comforting and cozy than a pot roast on a cold night. Something about the rich, hearty flavors warms the soul. Pot roasts, or cross-rib roasts, are surprisingly easy to prepare and a terrific go-to meal to make any night feel special. While many of us associate roasts as something you cook in the oven in a pot and serve with gravy, we’re here to tell you there are all kinds of flavourful and unique ways to enjoy a roast, and you can Make It Tonight!
Choosing meat for Pot Roast
Pot roast refers to the slow cooking of meat, typically from the back of an animal, to achieve a tender and flavorful meal. The meats typically selected for pot roast comes from the tissue that extends along the back of the ribs, and down the side of the animal. Cross-rib roast meat comes from the middle of the back, towards the neck and shoulder. Chuck, or chuck pot roast, is another common pot roast meat, which comes from the front of the shoulder of the animal, towards the brisket. This proximity to the shoulder means that these muscles are often used, and thus less naturally tender but still marbled with fat. This combination makes them perfect for slow cooking.
If you’re not sure about which cuts to buy, or you want some cooking recommendations, ask your neighbourhood Co-op butcher for a suggestion.
Cooking a basic roast
If your purchased pot roast was already bound by twine, you can either leave the fatty seam intact, or remove it. While the fat will slowly render to a soft texture during cooking, releasing flavor in the process, it can be unappealing to some people to find large fatty chunks in their meal. If you would like to avoid this, you may trim the fatty bits before serving, or prepare the meat before roasting. If you would like to remove the fat before roasting, simply pull the roast apart at the seam, and trim any excess fat. You will want to leave some fat, but a thick layer is not necessary. Once you have trimmed the two sections, use butcher’s twine to tie the meat. The twine is necessary to keep the pot roast manageable and ensure even cooking. Season the roast with salt and pepper, and let sit at room temperature while you let your pot warm.
Heat a stockpot or Dutch oven to medium-high heat, and add a tablespoon or two of high smoke point oil. Once the pan is hot, or the oil begins to smoke, add the roast and brown on all sides. This browning is a key element in producing the rich and deep flavor we associate with pot roasts.
Once your meat is browned, remove it from the pot. If you have any vegetables you would like to add for flavor within the braising liquid, add them now. To add complexity to your sauce consider adding a few chopped onions, carrots, or celery. Sauté any added vegetables until softened, then add a few tablespoons of flour (depending on the size of your roast). Here you just want to add enough to help the sauce thicken eventually. Stir the flour in and let everything continue to sauté for a minute or two. If you would rather not add vegetables, use a half cup of wine or broth to deglaze the pan, making sure to remove any brown bits from the bottom of the pan.
Place your roast back in the pot and add 1 to 3 cups of liquid to the pot. Red wine, canned tomatoes, beef broth or even soup are all great options for the liquid. Add in some garlic or herbs, if you would like. Stir everything around until well incorporated, and then bring to a simmer. Once simmering, cover and place in an oven at about 325°F for 3 to 4 hours, depending on the pot roast size. This long and slow cooking method breaks down the meat tissue, helping render it more tender and more flavorful.
You can make a classic pot roast with drippings and fixin’s and our recipe for Classic Pot Roast with Mustard Jus and Yorkshire Pudding will cover all those bases that remind you of old fashioned Sunday dinners.
Cooking pot roast or cross rib roast in the liquid helps it maintain its moisture and helps create a rich serving sauce. If you want to add vegetables, like potatoes or carrots (if you had not done so already), add them in about 45 minutes before your estimated cook time expires. Our Garlic Stuffed Cross Rib Roast with Roasted Vegetables and garlic sauce is another take on this method, with a delicious garlicky twist.
Time to Eat?
The roast is done when it is fork tender, meaning you can break it apart easily with a fork. You can serve immediately, or store in the fridge to reheat the following day. Skim fat before serving, or before storing. If you are storing it in the refrigerator, keep the meat in the sauce as this will enhance the flavor and keep the meat moist. To reheat simply cut the roast into slices, or small chunks if using a bone-in roast, top with braising sauce, and cook, covered, in a 350°F oven for about a half hour, or until warmed through.
Pot roast, or cross-rib roast, are great options for holidays and special occasions. You can always cook beforehand and reheat for an easy meal that tastes anything but quick, and if you are lucky enough to have leftovers, sliced pot roast makes a terrific sandwich, as we show you in this recipe for Italian Rib Roast Sandwiches with tomato and aioli. Pair with a classic red wine, like Bordeaux, or a porter for beer drinkers.
Classic Pot Roast with Mustart Jus and Yorkies
2 lbs Only Alberta Beed cross rib roast
1 container Cal & Gary’s Stew Mix
4 each garlic cloves
2 cups beef stock
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
¼ cup peas
3 tbsp + ¾ cup oil
1 cup + 2 tbsp milk
2 each egg, whole
1 each egg, yolk
1 cup all-purpose flour
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Heat a heavy pan with 3 tbsp of oil. Season the roast with the salt and pepper. Now sear the meat in the pan. When the meat is nice and brown remove the meat. Add the garlic, stew mix and brown.
Now add the meat back to the pot with the beef stock, cover with a lid and cook in the oven for 1.5 hours.
In a blender, combine milk, eggs, egg yolk and flour. Blend until smooth.
When pot roast is tender, remove from the oven and then turn the oven up to 425F.
Place a dry muffin pan into the oven while the oven is heating up. (You want the pan HOT!)
Put 1 tsp of oil in each muffin pan divot and put back in the oven for 1 minute to heat up.
Now remove the muffin pan from the oven and fill each divot halfway with batter and place back into the oven. Let raise and cook until golden brown. About 5-8 minutes.
Remove the pot roast jus and add the peas to the hot vegetables. Whisk in the mustard into the jus and adjust the seasoning.
Slice the pot roast, and serve with pot roast vegetables, yorkies and the mustard jus.
Although it’s pretty tasty on its own, most meat definitely benefits from some extra flavour, but it’s all about getting the balance right.
Now that spring is nearly here, with summer just around the corner, that means that burger season is nearly upon us.
There is nothing else quite like bacon. It has that distinctive rich, welcoming aroma when cooked, and that crispy texture and umami flavor when eaten.