Pot Roast Beef:
Prep: 10 mins.
Cooking: 2 ½ hrs.
Rating: 3: Moderate
Ah well now. Ok. You will automatically think of a conventional roast as ‘bung it in the oven, almost dry’.
Pot roast is a bit different. You ‘bung it in the oven, in a lidded pot, with a bit of oil and water in it as well’. You are not trying to get the same effect as oven roasting the meat, because pot-roasting is actually a completely different animal. Pot-roasting is cooking the meat in a confined environment, with a combination of steam and oil. It retains the moisture within the meat and it stays really succulent and tasty.
What do you do? Well, it’s actually quite simple. And can be beautifully cheap too.
- Piece of beef brisket or similar meat that requires cooking slowly – see Tricks’n’Tips for suggestions – perhaps 1 kg or so
- Mixed herbs – dried
- Covered cooking pot of some sort – Pyrex with lid, or similar
- Take an oven dish with a lid. It might be a posh enamelled Le Creuset pot from France, it might just be a Pyrex (or similar) glass oven thingy that you found very cheaply at a car boot sale. It simply doesn’t matter. Just so long as the container is ok for the oven and has a lid (and the lid could just be foil if you want – but not cling film), it’ll be ok. Ok, so you now have your thingy-pot.
- Put a few tablespoons of water and a glug of oil (not ‘engine’, please….) into the thingy-pot and pop your bit of brisket, silverside…. (or whatever you have discovered in the reduced cabinet) in as well – but take the ‘added basting fat’ off first, and bin it
(That tied-on layer of fat is only necessary if it’s open-roasted – it just is not wanted for this method. It’s put on there to let fat dribble down the meat, keep it moist and give it extra flavour. Oh yes, and it’s also a way of getting you to pay for extra fat at the same price as the beef. The trouble is you can’t take it off before you pay for it. Dammit. However, as you got it out of the reduced chiller…….. Sorry, once again I digress….. )
- Ok, carry on. Don’t season it, just put the lid on and stuff it into an oven on about gas mk 4/180C. Leave it for an hour then turn it down to gas mk 3/160C.
- After a further hour, take your pot-roast out of the oven. It will have made more fluid – leave it in there as it’s doing a great job.
- Baste the meat (spoon the fluid over the top of the meat) for a while. It’ll benefit from this as it takes back in some of the moisture it has lost in the cooking. Whilst you are there, just cut a tiny bit of the meat off a corner and taste it….. oooooh, lovely AND YOUV’E COOKED IT LIKE THIS ON YOUR OWN.
Are you not a clever Rookie Cookie then? Of course you are ……IN’T IT EXCITIN’.
- Ok then, calm down, drink a slug’o’wine/beer, put the lid back on and pop it back in the oven (that’s the meat, not the wine/beer), still on gas mk 3/160C.
- Prepare your veg. Put on your selected veg….. (at this point it’s too late to do roast veg – if you wanted roast veg with it, you should have put it in much earlier – there’s always another time; c’est la vie).
And don’t forget the sauce or gravy…. (See Sauce or Gravy…..)
- When your veg is done, so will your meat be.
With a traditional open oven tin ‘roast’ your meat would benefit from being given ten minutes out of the oven under a foil blanket to ‘rest’ or ‘relax’ away from the searing heat. Some people think it’s worth it, others don’t bother. Your choice. Try it both ways and see what you find.
- This is a pot roast, though. It’s fine to take the pot out for ten minutes – even half an hour out of the oven with the lid on whilst the oven is used for something else like a pud or giving roast veg the last blast, should it be needed
Presentation? Well, ideally carve the meat across the grain into slices, or if that’s not possible, cut it into chunks. If the meat is done really well it may just fall apart. It may not look brilliant just falling apart but it’ll taste gorgeous.
- Have it with mash (see Variations in Tricks’n’Tips) or jacket spuds, boiled/steamed carrots… anything. Don’t worry too much about presentation.
Remember – Lessons you learn one day will be the experience from which you benefit the next.
- Plate it up and eat. Enjoy it, and be proud that YOU did it.