|Gary likes to shred our pot roast. We served it in its sauce over latkes.|
Making pot roast is really very easy, but here are some tips to help ensure success:
- Cut away any extra surface fat, but don’t pick a piece of meat that is too lean. (That eight-hour pot roast was very, very lean). I like to use boneless chuck roast, which I find flavorful and relatively economical.
- Be sure to use a flavorful liquid and enough of it. Think of the liquid as your flavor vehicle. In the recipe below I use tamarind and tomatoes for flavoring. You could use wine and or broth for a more traditional pot roast flavor combination.
- Be sure to add enough seasoning. However, if you are using a kashered piece of meat you might want to go sparingly on the salt and season the gravy/sauce to compensate after you taste the cooked meat and sauce. I find that meat that has been kashered (salted and drained according to the Jewish dietary laws) retains some residual salting and I can’t predict how little or much that will be.
- Use a heavy enough pan or put a flame tamer or heat diffuser underneath a thinner pot to be sure you have even heat and to avoid burning.
- Leave yourself enough time. With a pot roast, meat passes through stages from raw to appearing to be cooked but hard as rock to full submission with the desired degree to tenderness. The long, moist-heat cooking is breaking down the proteins and connective tissue, so you can’t just give a time for cooking a pot roast. Keep checking, add more liquid if need be and keep cooking until a cooking fork pretty much glides through the meat. If your pot roast is recalcitrant and just won’t get to that final stage of melt-in-the-mouth softness, you have two choices. Store it in the cooking liquid overnight and cook it further the next day and see if even more cooking will help or shredding it instead of slicing it against the grain. Serving the pot roast shredded over mashed or boiled potatoes, noodles, soft polenta or similar is actually our favorite to serve it.
Pot Roast with Tamarind and Syrian Jewish Flavors
Serves about 6
The tamarind adds a slight tart note to the sauce that really complements the rich beef flavor.
2 Tbs. vegetable oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 lb. boneless chuck roast
1-28 oz. can whole tomatoes, undrained
½ tsp plus ¼ tsp. salt
½ tsp. ground black pepper
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. ground allspice
1 tsp. brown sugar
4 tsp. plus 2 tsp. tamarind paste or concentrate
1-2 cups of water
2 Tbs. tomato paste
Add oil to a large, heavy pot. Heat over medium high heat and add onion slices. Sauté until just softened then add garlic and sauté until onions are golden. Remove onion and garlic from pot and reserve. Add meat and brown on all sides. Lower heat to medium. Add back the onions and garlic. Add tomatoes with their liquid. Using a spatula break up tomatoes into fourths. Stir. Add ½ tsp. of the salt and the pepper, cinnamon, allspice and stir. Add brown sugar and 4 tsp. of tamarind paste. Add enough water to bring liquid mixture to the top of the chuck roast. Stir well. Add tomato paste, stir again. Bring the meat and liquid to a simmer. Cover and lower heat to keep at a simmer, mixing sauce and turning meat occasionally until meat is as tender as you like, approximately 2 to 4 hours. Remove meat to a cutting board until cool enough to handle. While the meat is cooling, raise the heat on the liquid, add the 2 remaining tsp. of tamarind paste and cook uncovered at a low boil, stirring occasionally until it has reduced down to a gravy or sauce-like thickness. Taste and add in the ¼ tsp. of salt if desired. Slice the meat thinly against the grain or shred. Mix the meat back into the reduced sauce and reheat and serve or (preferably) store the meat in the sauce overnight in the refrigerator and gently reheat the next day.
For a round up of Chanukah (Hanukkah) recipes and information on Blog Appetit, including recipes for potato pancakes (latkes), check out this post.
For other pot roasts on Blog Appetit - check out the zippy cranberry version or my spicy pot roast with a kick
For pot roast recipes from around the web, check out Kayln's Kitchen's crock pot version, Simply Recipe's several recipes and Pioneer Woman's pictorial tutorial and recipe.