Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Roast Post

Well, it's Groundhog Day and Punxsutawney Phil must have had a hard time looking for his shadow in the Snowpocalypse of 2011. Being snowed in seemed like a good opportunity to make a big, hearty dinner, so I picked up the pot roast recipe I'd put aside this weekend. When you're stranded on a cold winter day, does anything sound better than a roast and mashed potatoes? It's classic comfort food!

Naturally, my pot roast took a slightly Italian twist. Definitely not a bad idea, but I'd also like to master a more traditional recipe.

Pot Roast with Red Wine, Mushrooms and Tomatoes
2-3 lb. Pot roast
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper
3 carrots, cut into large chunks
1 onion, cut into large slices
1 package sliced mushrooms
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon rosemary
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup beef broth
1/2 cup red wine

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Pat roast dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper on all sides. Sear roast on all sides, remove to plate and set aside.

Add carrots, onions and mushrooms to pot. Cook until starting to brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Add garlic, thyme, rosemary and sugar. Cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add chicken broth, beef broth and wine. Stir and scrape up browned bits from bottom of pot.

Bring liquid to a simmer and return roast to pot. If necessary, add water to reach halfway up sides of roast. Cover pot with foil, then put the lid on tightly. Cook in preheated oven 2 1/2 to 3 hours, turning roast over every 30 minutes.

Remove roast to cutting board and tent with foil. Bring liquid to a boil and reduce by about a quarter. Slice roast and top with veggies and gravy.

Parmesan Chive Mashed Potato Casserole
4 large red potatoes, chopped
4 cloves garlic (whole)
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup chicken broth
1 egg
2 tablespoons finely chopped chives
1/4 cup grated parmesan

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Place potatoes and garlic in a pot and add enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, combine butter, milk, chicken broth and salt in a small saucepan over low heat. Keep warm.

Drain potatoes and garlic and place in a large bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat potatoes and milk mixture until smooth. Beat in egg until well-incorporated. Fold in chives and parmesan. Spread potatoes in a greased 9x9-inch casserole dish. Bake for 20 minutes or until slightly browned on top.

This would have been an a-ma-zing dinner if it hadn't been for one thing ... everything ended up a little dry. I'm blaiming America's Test Kitchen for two reasons:

1. The article said the key to a good roast is to cook it until it's done and then keep cooking it. Given those instructions, how am I supposed to keep it from drying out? I assumed that's what all of the turning was for, but it didn't seem to help.
2. They need to stop trying to do too much with mashed potatoes! I modified this recipe from one of theirs (by cutting it in half and adding parmesan and chives to the mix). Somehow I thought a nice, crusty top on the potatoes would take them to a whole new level, but then I realized ... why mess with a good thing? Short of adding the egg and putting them in the oven, my potatoes were PERFECT!

If there's one thing I did learn from tonight's meal, it's this: Always, always, always mix your mashed potatoes with an electric mixer. It's a trick my mom used, which reminds me why I loved her potatoes so much. You're never going to get them creamier and more delicious.


  1. You need more liquid on your roast to keep it from drying out...and then you shouldn't have to turn it once it's in the oven. I almost drown my roasts (even when the start out frozen) and don't have any issues so add some more wine! And other liquid too.

  2. The potatoes, wow, they sound just about perfect! I don't think I've ever used an electric mixer for potatoes, but that's the most obvious stroke of genius! How come I always think everything in the kitchen requires a workout? I think I'm way behind the times :p Thank goodness I have your blog to enlighten me :)