It all started with an oven roast, or actually it all started with cheap groceries. On sale at the market and giving me that ‘take me home and cook me’ look, I spotted an oven roast. Unfortunately, all I kept hearing in my head was, “Ewww, pot roast?!” And to make it worse, I kept envisioning my grandmother’s main dish – barely holding itself together, stringy and gray and served up with veggies that had been cooked so long they were the same color as the meat. You couldn’t tell carrot from potato, potato from celery! Really, why did they feel the need to cook food for insane amounts of time until it was unrecognizable? Were they afraid the butchered meat wasn’t actually dead? The green beans not actually edible unless made into a watered down paste and turned into the worst shade of green imaginable?!
Not on my plate…or watch…or whatever. And let’s face it, a sale is a sale and I do like a cooking challenge. So, I picked up the roast and checked out with a less than an enthusiastic attitude towards the night’s dinner. Apparently my husband and I led parallel lives as children…when he unpacked the groceries he so kindly pointed out that he refused to eat THAT as a kid. Well, our Nanas and our Moms alike didn’t have the tools we have today – laptops and a world wide web full of helpful advice! A little online research and mashing together of recipes and I came up with something that hit the spot and surprisingly, still resembled meat when the timer went off. So here’s to roasts everywhere… this ain’t your Nana’s pot roast!
Oh and a special thanks to Martha Stewart for making a fabulous cast iron, self-basting casserole dish.
2 lb oven roast
1/2 tablespoon dried thyme
1 large white onion
4 celery stalks, leaves included
Start by preheating the oven to 350 degrees and thick slicing the onion and celery.
Next coat the roast liberally in sea salt, white pepper and thyme mixture. Using a cast iron dutch oven or heavy bottomed pan with lid that can be transferred to oven, pan sear the roast (in a little extra virgin olive oil) over medium high heat on all sides until you get a golden brown. This definitely kicks up the flavor! Once seared, remove roast from pot and set aside.
Reduce heat on burner to medium-lo and pop in a enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan and a tbspn of butter. Then add the cut onions and celery, with a bit of salt and pepper. Use a wooden spoon to push them around the pot and soak up all that fat from the oil and butter! Just when they thought it couldn’t get any better, add the wine to the mix and start scrapping up all those brown bits from the bottom. Add as much wine as you want…I used about a half a bottle. Let it saute for a bit and then push the veggies to the side and get the meat back in the pot. Add water until the roast is about 2/3’s covered. Pop the lid on and now you are cooking!
Into the oven, rack 2nd from the bottom row. I roasted for about an hour because I wanted a medium-rare to rare roast that wasn’t fork tender. That way I was able to save half and use it in my next recipe post…Creamy basil risotto with roma tomatoes and beef!