If you are looking for a pot roast and have about a half hour to invest in preparation, Ina’s version is delicious. Her directions list 20 minutes of prep time. That is too short to clean and dice all items and sear your meat. Total cooking time is about 3 1/2 hours, in addition to the 30 minutes of prep. If you are not serving right away leave the completed stew in a slow cooker on warm setting. Freeze in small portion any leftovers. I made this entire dish in my Williams-Sonoma All-Clad Deluxe Slow Cooker (with Cast-Aluminum Insert 7 quart) even though the dish was not cooked in a slow cooker manner. This slow cooker can sear your meat on the stove top and then go into the oven. I made one addition. I added diced potatoes after 90 minutes of initial cooking at the higher temperature. I made one deletion, skipping the Cognac because we did not have any. The sauce has such a complete taste, I am not sure it matters. Note: I did use most of the amount of salt and pepper recommended despite seeming high. I would not drop the amounts below much, unless salt intake must be closely watched. The dish once done is not salty nor too peppery. I do not have a sense for how many servings this dish made because we froze a lot. My best guess would be there is enough for 8-10 people easily.
1 (4 to 5-pound*) prime boneless beef chuck roast, tied (I cooked mine untied)
* I also used two ” 2 1/2 ” pound pieces given one large option was not available
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Good olive oil
2 cups chopped carrots (4-5 carrots)
2 cups chopped yellow onions (2 small onions or 1 large)
2 cups chopped celery (4 stalks)
2 cups chopped leeks, white and light green parts (2 to 4 leeks)
4 small white potatoes cleaned and diced (peeling not necessary)
5 large garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
2 cups good red wine
2 tablespoons Cognac or brandy (I skipped)
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 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature
**I used a combo herb packet for roasting a chicken which had a total of 4 herbs
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
Pat the beef dry with a paper towel. Season the roast all over with 1 tablespoon salt and 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper. Dredge the whole roast in flour, including the ends. In a large Dutch oven (I used my slow cooker), 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. If you are using 2 smaller pieces you likely will only need to sear on 2 sides not 4.
Add 2 tablespoons olive oil to the Dutch oven. Add the carrots, onions, celery, leeks, garlic, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper and cook over medium heat for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender but not browned. Add the wine and Cognac (if using) 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.
(Picture before being covered and placed into oven)
Place in the oven for 2 1/2 hours (if using potatoes add after 90 minutes and return meat to oven for another 1 hour at 325), until the meat is fork tender or about 160 degrees F internally. Turn the heat down to 250 degrees F for about an hour to keep the sauce at a simmer.
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 (if not already done so), and slice the meat. Serve warm with the sauce spooned over it.
Meat seasoned but raw above
Meat seared above
Raw vegetables diced excluding potatoes above
Fresh herbs tied with kitchen string above
Vegetables (excluding potatoes) tender not browned (above)