Once reserved for special occasion suppers, a slowly braised pot roast is the perfect fall comfort food. It requires minimal prep – the oven does most of the work, transforming an inexpensive cut of meat into a tender, flavourful meal, with veggies simmered on the side. Slide it into the slow cooker in the morning or into the oven after school and it will be ready by dinnertime, with leftovers for lunch or dinner the next day.
You could make a pot roast of any size, and the 3-hour cooking time would still apply – just add more stock and veggies to the pot. Alternatively, cook your pot roast in the slow cooker on low for 4–6 hours, adding the carrots and potatoes for the last hour or so of cooking time, so they don’t break down too much.
1 3 lb (1.5 kg) beef roast (chuck, brisket, inside or outside round)
canola or olive oil, for cooking
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced
1/2–1 cup red wine (optional)
2–3 cups beef, chicken or vegetable stock
2–3 sprigs fresh thyme, rosemary or both
2 large or 4–6 small carrots, cut into 2-inch pieces
1/2 lb new potatoes, halved if larger
Preheat the oven to 300°F.
Set a cast iron or braising pot on the stovetop over medium-high heat. Pat the roast dry with paper towel, add a generous drizzle of oil to the pot, and brown the roast on all sides, sprinkling each with salt and pepper as you turn it. Transfer to a plate and put the onions into the pot; cook for 2–3 minutes, stirring often. Add the wine and stir to loosen any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Return the roast to the pot, sitting it on top of the onions, and add enough stock to come about halfway up the side of the meat.
Add the sprigs of rosemary or thyme, cover and cook for about 1 1/2 hours. Remove from the oven, baste the meat with the juices, and add the carrots and potatoes, scattering them around the roast. Cover and return to the oven for another hour, or until the meat is very tender and the veggies are fork-tender.
Slice and serve the roast with the veggies, drizzled with the cooking juices. Serves 6 with leftovers.
Per Serving: 348 calories, 11.7 g fat (4 g saturated fat, 6.3 g monounsaturated fat, 1.4 g polyunsaturated fat), 149 mg cholesterol, 10 g carbohydrate, 51.1 g protein, 1.7 g fibre.
Roughly chop any leftover meat, veggies and onions, moistening it with the leftover gravy. Add 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce and a handful of peas, and spread in a baking dish that will accommodate it. (You could make cottage pie for many, or just enough for one or two.)
Top with mashed potatoes and bake at 350°F for 20–30 minutes until the potatoes are pale golden and the filling is starting to bubble around the edge.
Originally published in ParentsCanada magazine, Fall 2017.