Pot Roast with Potatoes

Tender sliced meat and a load of delicious vegetables—cooked at the same time.
TIME 2½ to 4 hours, mostly unattended
MAKES 6 to 8 servings
1 garlic clove, peeled
1 boneless beef chuck or rump roast (3 to 4 pounds)
2 bay leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 large onions, chopped
2 large or 3 medium carrots, sliced
2 celery stalks, sliced
½ cup red wine or water
2 cups beef, chicken, or vegetable stock or water, or more as needed
1 pound small waxy red or white potatoes, scrubbed and halved

1 Cut the garlic clove into slivers; use a paring knife to poke small holes in the meat and insert the garlic into them. Crumble the bay leaves as finely as you can and mix them with salt and pepper. Rub this mixture all over the meat.

2 Put the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. When it’s hot, add the roast and cook, adjusting the heat and turning as needed so the meat doesn’t burn, until it’s nicely browned on all sides, about 20 minutes. Transfer the meat to a plate.

3 Add the onions, carrots, and celery to the pot, turn the heat up to medium-high, and cook, stirring frequently, until softened and somewhat browned, 5 to 10 minutes. Add the wine and cook, stirring and scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan; continue cooking until the wine has just about evaporated, 5 to 10 minutes. Add 1½ cups of the stock, return the roast and its juices to the pot, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat so the liquid barely bubbles and cover the pot.

4 Cook, turning the roast every 30 minutes, until the meat is tender enough to pierce easily with a fork. This will take anywhere from 1½ to 3 hours, depending on the thickness of your roast and how low the heat is. Be careful not to overcook the meat or it will become tough and rubbery. If at any point the pot looks dry, add more stock or water, ¼ cup at a time.

5 Heat the oven to 200°F. Transfer the meat to an ovenproof platter, loosely cover with foil, and put in the oven to keep it warm. Spoon any excess fat from the surface of the remaining liquid and add the potatoes; they should be half submerged in liquid; if not, add more stock or water until they are. Turn the heat up to medium-high, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally and scraping the bottom of the pot, until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a knife and the liquid is the consistency of thin gravy, 10 to 20 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Slice the meat across the grain and serve it with the potatoes and sauce.

  • Other Cuts to Try: Beef brisket, short ribs, shin, or cheeks; pork shoulder (bone in or boneless; use the chicken, not beef, stock). The thicker the cut—or if it has a bone—the longer it takes to cook.
  • Rosemary Pot Roast with Tomato Sauce: In Step 1, add 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves to the seasoning rub. In Step 3, skip the carrots and celery and add one 28-ounce can diced tomatoes (don’t bother to drain), 3 whole garlic cloves, and another 2 fresh rosemary sprigs with the onions. Use only 1 cup stock (add ½ cup at first) and omit the potatoes. Instead, serve the pot roast over thick slices of toasted Italian bread.

  • Low heat is important to keep pot roast tender. Most take between 2 and 3 hours to cook, but very thick cuts may need up to 4 hours; just check and add liquid as necessary. Once the fat cooks out of it, the meat will turn dry (even good gravy won’t cover that up), so stop cooking when the meat is fully tender.

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