Pot Roast

Is there any meal more American than pot roast? Seriously, when I think about it I think of a relaxing Sunday with the family filled with football in the afternoon and pot roast for dinner then pie for dessert. The good qualities of pot roast are that it is pretty simple to make and it cooks for a while so you can leave it while you do other more fun things. The bad qualities of pot roast are that it can be pretty dry and if not seasoned properly, pretty bland. As a result of the bad qualities, I don’t make pot roast very often. Eric and I hate dry, overcooked meat; let’s face it, you might as well throw away the $15 you just spent on that roast because it tastes more like beef jerky than anything else. But alas, Ina Garten came to the rescue again! I found her recipe for Company Pot Roast and was dying to try it.

This recipe had some dynamite ingredients including brandy, red wine and tomatoes. And in true Ina fashion I thought, “How bad could that be?”

To start the roast, prep all your basic ingredients; chop up carrots, leeks, celery and onion.


Season the roast and dredge it in flour. Saute the roast in a hot dutch oven over medium heat until all the sides are nicely browned.


Remove the roast and then saute all the veggies, being sure to add seasoning.


Once the veggies are soft (about 10 minutes), add in all your liquid, meat, herb bundle and meat into the dutch oven and bring to a boil.


Cook the roast in the oven for 2.5 hours or until it reaches a temp of 160 degrees. This is where I made the classic pot roast mistake. I should have used my favorite new gadget, my meat thermometer but instead I just cooked the roast for 2.5 hours and followed the recipe. My meat was on the end of being dry. Any longer and Eric would have made a face at me after his first bite. I was safe but walking a fine line to dry-town. Next time, I will use my meat thermometer and take the roast out sooner.

The best part about this roast is the magnificent sauce. The red wine, brandy, veggies, tomatoes, chicken stock and meat juice create a delicious sauce for the meat. To thicken the sauce, the recipe calls for you to put half of it in a blender or food processor but I used my trusty immersion blender, pulsed it a few times in the pot and voila! thick sauce without extra dishes and hot sauce splashing everywhere.


I served my roast with fresh green beans and buttery bread. Some people like potatoes with their roast but I find it too filling for me to eat, I feel like a blimp at the end of the meal! So we went with veggies and bread. I also had so much leftover sauce that I plan to use it with some buttered noodles today for lunch. Yum!


Here’s the recipe from Ina Garten:

Company Pot Roast
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 8

  • 1 (4 to 5-pound) prime boneless beef chuck roast, tied
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • All-purpose flour
  • Good olive oil
  • 2 cups chopped carrots (4 carrots)
  • 2 cups chopped yellow onions (2 onions)
  • 2 cups chopped celery (4 stalks)
  • 2 cups chopped leeks, white and light green parts (2 to 4 leeks)
  • 5 large garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 2 cups good red wine, such as Burgundy
  • 2 tablespoons Cognac or brandy
  • 1 (28-ounce) can whole plum tomatoes in puree
  • 1 cup chicken stock, preferably homemade
  • 1 chicken bouillon cube
  • 3 branches fresh thyme
  • 2 branches fresh rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. Pat the beef dry with a paper towel. Season the roast all over with 1 tablespoon salt and 1½ teaspoons pepper. Dredge the whole roast in flour, including the ends. In a large Dutch oven, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add the roast and sear for 4 to 5 minutes, until nicely browned. Turn and sear the other side and then turn and sear the ends. This should take 4 to 5 minutes for each side. Remove the roast to a large plate.
  3. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil to the Dutch oven. Add the carrots, onions, celery, leeks, garlic, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1½ teaspoons pepper and cook over medium heat for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender but not browned. Add the wine and Cognac and bring to a boil. Add the tomatoes, chicken stock, bouillon cube, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Tie the thyme and rosemary together with kitchen string and add to the pot. Put the roast back into the pot, bring to a boil, and cover. Place in the oven for 2½ hours, until the meat is fork tender or about 160 degrees F internally. Turn the heat down to 250 degrees F after about an hour to keep the sauce at a simmer.
  4. Remove the roast to a cutting board. Remove the herb bundle and discard. Skim off as much fat as possible from the sauce. Transfer half the sauce and vegetables to a blender or a food processor fitted with the steel blade and puree until smooth. Pour the puree back into the pot, place on the stovetop over low heat, and return the sauce to a simmer. Place 2 tablespoons flour and the butter in a small bowl and mash them together with a fork. Stir into the sauce and simmer for 2 minutes, stirring until thickened. Taste for seasonings. Remove the strings from the roast, and slice the meat. Serve warm with the sauce spooned over it.



Thoughts, Inspiration and Encouragement

I haven’t written since June and though I’m not exactly proud of that fact, life happens and I’ve been spending my time with my little lady so I’m not going to stress about it. I hope to get some more writing done this Fall. I’ve been back to cooking and baking a lot when Rees naps so I’ve just got to start documenting it and sharing it with all you folks here. Today, however I’m just writing to get a few things off my chest. This is my personal blog, so I heartily take the right to use it as such when I need to.

I recently read this article that someone posted a link to on Facebook: Why Women Can’t Have it All. I found it to be very well written and so very true. It got me thinking about myself and this new role I find myself in as a mom and a housewife. And then this week I read this blog post: Moms, When Are you Going to Learn?; another encouraging set of words from another mom. Again, these words got me thinking…

I often tell my husband that I was born in the wrong era. Sorry liberated ladies, but I’d much rather be living in the 1950s. Not only do I love the fashion from that time but I love that women were not looked down upon because they were housewives. Yes, I understand that we were looked upon as lesser than men so I’m glad that’s not the case anymore but I’m talking about the way women viewed one another. My thoughts and insecurities come from the pressure I feel from other women, friends, celebrities, society. I know that my husband will support me as best he can not matter what I want to do. He knows how smart I am, how hard I work and my moral character. It’s women today who make me feel like less if I choose to stay home and raise my family instead of “having it all.”

Why is it that now that women are free to have it all, if I choose not to, then I feel like I’m not doing my part for womankind? It seems to me, that women as a whole have backed ourselves into a corner here; we fought for equality and now we’ve got this extreme pressure to maintain it and we spur each other on to do more and better all the time. When the hard reality is that no one can “have it all.” Having it all doesn’t exist, something always gives.

The battle between the stay-at-home-mom and the working-mom continues. The stay-at-home-mom evies the working mom and the fact that she can still get herself looking decent each day, she gets career encouragement and adult conversation, not to mention the fact that financially, she’s contributing to her family. The working-mom envies the stay-at-home-mom and the fact that she seems more well rested, she has the time to clean her house, make dinner, can wear yoga pants every day, exercise and on weekends she’s not catching up on the household errands that weren’t done during the week.

Growing up I always told people I wanted to “grow up and be a mom.” To me, it was a career just like anything else. As a grew older I stopped telling people that when they asked, I’d say I wanted to be a librarian, art historian, professor, anything to make them think I wanted to be an intelligent woman, contributing to society and making my own money, but deep down I still just wanted to be a mom. And now, by the grace of God, its happened, I have made it! I’m finally a stay-at-home-mom. So why do I still have these thoughts that I’m not doing my part for womankind? Why can’t I just enjoy this dream come true? I still feel like a bit of a failure for being laid off and never returning to the workforce full-time.

As I sit at my computer Googling stain fighters for ring around the collar and planning what time to get my pot roast in the oven (for real people, pot roast for dinner!) I can’t help but wonder how will I teach my own daughter to do what she loves, not matter what society says about it? How can I inspire her to dream big OR small; to be happy with a well paying job even if its not changing the world and above all to love her family as best she can while understanding her worth?

Any suggestions moms? I’d love a little encouragement and advice!

Thanks for reading! I’ll let you know how my pot roast turns out…

PS – I’m sending out a special Happy Birthday to my own mom today! She’s always been my biggest fan and source of encouragement and has never made me feel less because I wanted to be home to raise my own kid. She’s always done her best to be the greatest mom and now grandmother. And I think she’s pretty much the best! Thanks, Mom and Happy Birthday!