Have you ever made a recipe that had a lot of to-do’s and steps – so many in fact, that once you finally got it out of the oven you thought you were done – but you’ve actually missed an entire chunk of the recipe? Ya. So. That’s what I did here. Thank goodness I looked at the recipe again before posting, because I was going to say that I’d finally done it. I’d finally created my own recipe that I thought was better than the Contessa’s. I mean, really, what was I thinking? What happened is that I completely ignored her last steps to make the gravy – and the gravy in my own recipe (oof! old pictures!) is what I think makes it so darn tasty. So while Ina’s recipe was good as I made it, I’ll have to do it again and follow all her directions, because with a creamy gravy this may have beat my own pot roast recipe. When will her reign of fabulousness end!?
Prep Time: 20 Minutes
Cook Time: 3 Hours
1 (4 to 5-pound) prime boneless beef chuck roast
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups chopped carrots
2 cups chopped yellow onions
2 cups chopped celery
2 cups chopped leeks, white and light green parts (I left these out)
5 large garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
2 cups good red wine, such as Burgundy (I used Pinot Noir)
2 tbs cognac or brandy (I used Brandy)
1 (28-ounce) can whole plum tomatoes in puree
1 cup chicken stock
1 chicken bouillon cube
3 branches fresh thyme
2 branches fresh rosemary
1 tbs unsalted butter, at room temperature
First, preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Pat the beef dry with a paper towel and season the roast all over with 1 tbs salt and 1 1/2 tsp pepper. Then dredge the whole roast in flour.
In a large Dutch oven, heat 2 tbs (GOOD!) olive oil (HA!) 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, then remove the roast to a large plate.
Add 2 tbs olive oil to the Dutch oven, then add the carrots, onions, celery, leeks, garlic, 1 tbs salt, and 1 1/2 tsp pepper and cook over medium heat for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender. Add the wine and brandy and bring to a boil. Next toss in the tomatoes, chicken stock, bouillon cube, 2 tsp salt, and 1 tsp 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. Finally (!) place in the oven for 2 1/2 hours, until the meat is fork tender or about 160 degrees internally. Turn the heat down to 250 degrees after about an hour to keep the sauce at a simmer.
Once the roast is done, remove it to a cutting board. Remove the herb bundle and discard. Skim off as much fat as possible from the sauce.
And here is the part that I just completely forgot to do, which I think would have made the whole thing better! Dagnabbit! 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 stove top over low heat, and return the sauce to a simmer. Place 2 tbs 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. Serve the roast warm with the sauce spooned over it and with a side of buttered egg noodles. YUM.