New England Pot Roast
Six generous servings:
1 bone – in piece of chuck roast, (or a brisket) 4- 5 pounds, trimmed of excess fat
Sea salt or kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
Vegetable oil, such as canola
4-5 cloves garlic, sliced
1 large carrot, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
2 teaspoons dried thyme or 6 sprigs fresh
2 bay leaves
3 tablespoons flour
3 ½ cups water or half chicken stock, half water. Do not use beef stock.
2 tablespoons tomato paste (I now use imported Italian paste in tubes which have a long shelf life and are of excellent quality)
8 – 10 small pearl onions
5 carrots in 1 -2 inch pieces
1 pound red potatoes or larger white potatoes in chunks or the fingerling potatoes
1 pound large mushrooms, quartered
Over high heat, pour sufficient oil to cover the bottom of a large Dutch oven or other large heavy pot (we use a large French enameled iron pot), generously salt and pepper both sides of the roast and sear meat until well browned on both sides. Remove meat and pour off oil. Return pot to medium heat and add chopped carrot, celery, onion and the garlic. Cook stirring, adding a small amount of oil if necessary, until softened but not browned. Sprinkle flour over vegetables and stir for 2-3 minutes. Return meat, adding water, tomato paste and herbs.
Bring to a simmer on top of the stove, cover (use aluminum foil under cover if it does not fit tightly). Place into preheated 325 degree oven and cook for 2 hours. Check at 1 hour and turn meat if it is not covered by liquid; add additional water if liquid is too thick – it should be the consistency of thin gravy.
At 2 – 2 ¼ hours, add remaining vegetables; the time varies according to size. Cook for a total of 3 hours. If the vegetables are not quite cooked, cover and let sit – cooking will continue using retained heat. Check for seasoning, adding salt or pepper to taste.
Skim excess fat from the liquid, cut meat into serving size pieces, arrange on a heated platter and surround with vegetables. Moisten with some of the liquid, pass the remainder at the table and enjoy a true New England tradition.