Technically speaking, this is not pot roast. It’s a braised roast. In my pot roast ignorance I assumed that pot roasts were cooked in a pot, not seared in a pot and then roasted in the oven. Yes, I am aware that the dish has “roast” in the name, but I must argue that it also has “pot” in the name as well.
It’s a very confusing concept.
Thankfully, my mistake turned out to be incredibly delicious and just as tender, juicy, and delectable as a traditional pot roast. Pair that with some of the richest, creamiest, mashed potatoes known to mankind and you’ve got something good. Very good.
To start off, quarter two onions.
You’ll hardly recognize them by the time this is done. They practically disintegrate.
Next, thickly slice some carrots.
Lovely, lovely carrots.
Then add about half a package, or 1 ½ cups, of mushrooms.
Mushrooms weren’t in the original recipe, but I think they go great with this roast’s earthy flavors.
In a large pot, heat some olive oil over medium-high heat and brown the onions.
Not cook, just brown.
Remove the onions to a plate and brown the carrots.
Still lovely, lovely carrots.
Add the carrots to the plate and brown the mushrooms.
These really don’t take long to brown.
Remove the mushrooms to the plate. Salt and pepper the meat and add it to the pan to sear on both sides.
My roast was actually on the small side, so it just looks like a cave man’s steak.
Once the meat is seared, remove it to a plate of its own. With the heat on high, add about a cup of beef stock and whisk to deglaze the pan.
You don’t want to miss any of those delicious browned bits that stick to the pan.
Grab a few sprigs of rosemary and thyme.
Add the roast back to the pot, along with the browned veggies. At this point I’m going to share something that I learned the hard way. The fresh herbs fall apart after cooking for such a long time, so if you don’t want chewy sprigs of rosemary in your mouth I’d suggest tying them up in cheesecloth with kitchen twine and just popping that in the pot instead. Much easier.
Anyway, add all those goodies back to the pot, along with enough beef broth to be level with the meat.
Just look at all that yummyness!
Let that simmer away on medium-low heat for 3-5 hours, depending on the size of your roast (I list more specifics later on in the actual recipe).
While that cooks, get to work on the mashed potatoes.
First, peel and rinse some potatoes and then chop them into about 1-inch pieces.
Cutting them smaller reduces cooking time and assures that they cook more easily.
Once those are done, add them back to the pot and turn the heat to low. Using a potato masher, mash the potatoes for about 2 minutes, until all lumps are gone.
Now comes the kicker. Butter, cream cheese, and half-and-half to be exact. Before you start hyperventilating, allow me to outline the game plan. First, add the aforementioned ingredients.
This is post-butter, pre-cream cheese and pre-half-and-half.
Second, if you listen carefully, you can actually hear the sound of your doctor weeping. Take note of this and push it to the far edges of your mind.
Before I move on to step three, you need to add some salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, and seasoned salt. After stirring that in, spread the potatoes in baking dish and top with pats of butter. Then toss it in a 350 degree oven for 25-30 minutes.
You’re really past the point of no return when it comes to butter-osity by now.
Now, you’re ready for step three. The final stage of coping with so much butter, cream, etc. is to erase all guilt over consuming them by hopping on the treadmill and going for a run while it bakes. Work up a good sweat for about 30 minutes and you’ll feel much better about the exorbitant amount of calories you’re about to ingest. That, my friends, is the fool-proof method for the enjoyment of these potatoes. It may seem like a lot of work, but it is truly worth it.
Once the roast is done, pile it on top of the finished potatoes with the veggies and juices and go to town. The roast will be falling apart on your fork, full of deep, rich flavor. The carrots, mushrooms, and onions will be tasty beyond belief. The creamy, dreamy mashed potatoes will be everything you’ve ever hoped for mashed potatoes to be and more.
Before you go to make this recipe, make sure to grab a towel to wipe off any drool that has undoubtedly accumulated on your keyboard. Now you're good to go!
Faux Pot Roast
Recipe adapted from “Pot Roast” by the Pioneer Woman
3 tablespoons Olive Oil
One 3- to 5-pound Chuck Roast
2 Onions, quartered
8 Carrots, peeled and sliced about 2 inches thick
1 ½ cups Button Mushrooms
Freshly ground Pepper
2 to 3 cups Beef Stock
4 fresh Rosemary sprigs
3 fresh Thyme sprigs
Heat olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the onion quarters and brown. Remove to a plate. Next brown the carrots in the same pot, removing to a plate when done. Finally brown the mushrooms briefly and transfer to a plate.
Heat another tablespoon of olive oil in the pot. Salt and pepper the meat, then add it to the pot. Sear the meat on both sides (about a minute per side) and then remove to a plate.
Over high heat, add 1 cup beef broth and whisk constantly to deglaze the pot. Once most of the bits are loosened, add the meat back to the pot with the carrots, onions, and mushrooms. Pour enough beef stock into the pot so that it’s level with the meat.
Place the rosemary and thyme in cheesecloth tied closed with kitchen string and add to the pot, making sure they’re in the juice so the flavors distribute.
Cover the pot and simmer on medium-low heat for 3-5 hours, depending on the size of your roast. For a 3-pound roast, cook for 3 to 3 ½ hours. For a 5-pound roast, cook for 4 to 5 hours.
When the cooking time is over, check the roast for doneness; a fork should go in easily and the meat should be very tender. Transfer the meat to a cutting board and allow to sit for about 10 minutes, and then slice against the grain.
Serve with mashed potatoes, vegetables from the pot, and plenty of juices.
Creamy Mashed Potatoes
Recipe Adapted from “Creamy Mashed Potatoes” by the Pioneer Woman
5 pounds Russet or Yellow Gold Potatoes
12 tablespoons Butter, softened, plus 4 addition tablespoons
One 8-ounce package Cream Cheese
½ to ¾ cup Half-and-Half
½ teaspoon Seasoned Salt
A few pinches Cayenne pepper
Salt, to taste
Freshly ground Black Pepper, to taste
Peel the potatoes and rinse in cold water, then chop into about 1-inch pieces. Add the potatoes to a pot of boiling water and cook for 20 to 30 minutes.
Once the potatoes are easily pierced with a fork, drain them in a large colander. Return the potatoes to the pot and turn the heat to low. Using a potato masher, mash the potatoes over low heat for about 2 minutes, until the all lumps are gone.
Add the butter, cream cheese, and half-and-half, mashing thoroughly to combine. Add the seasonings and stir to combine, adding more seasoning to taste.
Spread the mashed potatoes in a 2-quart baking dish and top with dabs of butter. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes.
Serve hot with Pot Roast, veggies, and juices.