Way back last April, I posted about Alton Brown’s method and recipe for pot roast – loved the method, not the recipe so much. Well, fast forward almost a year, and I found myself with a lovely chuck roast and a real need to find a way to cook it without all the usual characters (dried onion soup, canned mushroom soup, tomatoes).
It was time to try Alton’s recipe along with the method.
In truth, even Alton called for some tomato juice, and the green olives were on Rich’s ‘don’t’ list – but I substituted a half measure of home made tomato sauce (leftover from Lasagna a la Française) diluted with water, and ripe olives (not ‘too, too bad’ on Rich’s list).
•1 (2-lb) blade cut chuck roast
•2 tsp kosher salt
•2 tsp cumin
•1 medium onion, chopped
•5 to 6 cloves garlic, smashed
•1 cup tomato juice – OR – as I did, dilute 1/2 cup tomato sauce with 1/2 cup of water
•1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
•1 cup cocktail olives, drained and broken – I used ripe California olives, I’m not certain this would be a time to bring out the Kalamatas
•1/2 cup dark raisins
•Not called for by Alton, but I like to add: celery, carrots, additional onion, and peppers, if I have any, to use as aromatics in the bottom of the baking pouch.
Preheat the oven to 200º.
Place a wide, heavy skillet or fry pan over high heat for 2 minutes. Meanwhile, rub both sides of meat with the salt and cumin. When the pan is hot (really hot) brown meat on both sides and remove from pan. Add just enough vegetable oil to cover the bottom of the pan then add the onion and garlic. Stir constantly until onion is softened. Add the tomato juice, vinegar, olives, and raisins.
Bring to a boil and reduce the liquid by half.
Create a pouch with wide, heavy duty aluminum foil. Place half the reduced liquid/chunk mixture on the foil (over any aromatics you may have added), add the roast, and then top with the remaining mixture. Close the pouch and wrap tightly in another complete layer of foil.
Cook for 3 to 3-1/2 hours (I cover the pot), or until a fork pushes easily into the meat.
Remove from oven and rest (still wrapped) for at least 1/2 hour.
If you’d like to make a gravy: snip off 1 corner of the foil pouch and drain the liquid into a bowl or measuring cup. Add some of the “chunkies” and puree with an immersion blender.
Slice meat thinly, or pull apart with a fork.
I used a Sutton & Dodge® chuck roast from the meat case at Target (we had a coupon), and I have to say that it was a really nice slab o’ beef – it held its shape well for slicing after cooking, was fork tender, and not at all greasy.
I will note that the cumin flavor was, ermmmm, a bit PRONOUNCED for me – and, while Rich grew accustomed to it, I think I may try another spice or rub mixture next time. Still, a lovely dinner with Hasselback Potatoes and Winter Fruit Salad.