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Pot Roast Recipe?


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I just used the link to see Giada De Laurentis' recipe for Stracoto with Porcini Mushrooms that onrushpam recommended. There are only 8 ingredients and there are 274 glowing reviews for the recipe on the Food Network's website. How can you not try something like that?

   For anyone who has made it... do you find that 350 degrees is too high? I know that in the Braising with Molly Stevens thread, most people seem to think that you need to cook things at a lower temperature. What temp have you used?

I've done this one both in the oven and in the slow cooker. I think I probably did it at 300 degrees in the oven, just because that's what I always do for any type of pot roast braise. I probably didn't even look at the temp listed in the recipe.

This actually works very well in the slow cooker. I'm probably going to do it Thursday, to be served to guests arriving Friday night.

Edited by onrushpam (log)
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Yup, AOL.Homepage shutdown at the end of October (trick or treat??) and left everyone stranded without access to year's (in some cases) of collected memories.

Someone posted an archive link in this thread and someone else emailed me to publish the recipe, so here it is from the link in this thread provided by someone else! Even Blue-L's web site still points to the now defunct URL!

Delta Doc's Garlic Beef

Ingredients: 1/2 cup Kikkoman regular soy sauce

1/4 cup olive oil

2 whole bulbs garlic - each clove quartered and/or halved

1 onion, chopped

10 ounces beer

1 teaspoon each salt and pepper

1-1/2 cups beef stock

3-4 lb. whole sirloin tip roast

Preparation:

In crockpot (off), place soy sauce, olive oil, and garlic. Soak overnight.

In the morning, add the chopped onion, beer, salt and pepper, beef stock, and the whole roast.

Turn crockpot to LOW with vent closed (if your pot has a vent) and simmer for 8 to 10 hours until it falls apart. Serve on hard rolls (preferably rye or pumpernickel).

doc

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I just used the link to see Giada De Laurentis' recipe for Stracoto with Porcini Mushrooms that onrushpam recommended. There are only 8 ingredients and there are 274 glowing reviews for the recipe on the Food Network's website. How can you not try something like that?

   For anyone who has made it... do you find that 350 degrees is too high? I know that in the Braising with Molly Stevens thread, most people seem to think that you need to cook things at a lower temperature. What temp have you used?

I've done this one both in the oven and in the slow cooker. I think I probably did it at 300 degrees in the oven, just because that's what I always do for any type of pot roast braise. I probably didn't even look at the temp listed in the recipe.

This actually works very well in the slow cooker. I'm probably going to do it Thursday, to be served to guests arriving Friday night.

I prepared the Stracoto with Porcini in a crockpot last night. Excellent results, with superb sauce and tender (not mushy) texture to the beef. I used a 5.5 pound chuck roast, browned and prepped in Le Creuset prior to transfer to crock pot where it cooked on low for six hours.

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  • 8 months later...
I make pot roast often.  I sort of follow a Molly Steven's recipe from Fine cooking that came out in a issue a couple of years ago.

Brown the roast first.  Remove and add 1/2 lb of chopped bacon, and saute until the bacon has released it's fat.  Remove the bacon and reserve with the roast.  Add 1 and 1/2 cups of chopped carrots and onions and saute until softened.  deglaze with a little brandy then add a quarter cup of tomato paste and cook for 3 or 4 minutes.  Make a satchet of thyme, a smashed garlic clove, bay leaf, peppercorns and parsley.  Put the roast and the bacon back in the dutch oven and add 2 cups beef stock and 1 1/2 cups of red wine.  Add the satchet and cover the pot.  Braise in the oven at 250 for about 4 hours.

Degrease the liquid.  I usually thicken the liquid with butter and flour but you can just reduce the sauce to taste if you like.

Marlene, this recipe sounds wonderful. I have a question, for sauteing the carrots & onions, is that is the released bacon fat or ?

edited for grammar & spelling. I do it 95% of my posts so I'll state it here. :)

"I have never developed indigestion from eating my words."-- Winston Churchill

Talk doesn't cook rice. ~ Chinese Proverb

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I make pot roast often.  I sort of follow a Molly Steven's recipe from Fine cooking that came out in a issue a couple of years ago.

Brown the roast first.  Remove and add 1/2 lb of chopped bacon, and saute until the bacon has released it's fat.  Remove the bacon and reserve with the roast.  Add 1 and 1/2 cups of chopped carrots and onions and saute until softened.  deglaze with a little brandy then add a quarter cup of tomato paste and cook for 3 or 4 minutes.  Make a satchet of thyme, a smashed garlic clove, bay leaf, peppercorns and parsley.  Put the roast and the bacon back in the dutch oven and add 2 cups beef stock and 1 1/2 cups of red wine.  Add the satchet and cover the pot.  Braise in the oven at 250 for about 4 hours.

Degrease the liquid.  I usually thicken the liquid with butter and flour but you can just reduce the sauce to taste if you like.

Marlene, this recipe sounds wonderful. I have a question, for sauteing the carrots & onions, is that is the released bacon fat or ?

yes saute the carrots and onions in the released fat from both the bacon and the browned meat.

Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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I don't know that my pot roast is out of the ordinary, but it's one I've been making for years and that my children call for on a regular basis.

1 3-4 pound chuck or shoulder roast

2-3 sweet onions (one sliced, two quartered)

4-5 Yukon Gold potatos, halved or quartered

4-5 carrots, scraped and cut in 2-3 inch lengths

Rosemary

Lawry's Seasoned Salt

Pepper

1 12-oz bottle dark beer (Newcastle works well, and so does Old Peculiar)

1/2 small can tomato paste (about 3 tbsp)

1 tbsp spicy or dijon mustard

1 tbsp brown sugar

1 tsp thyme

Slice and saute ONE of the onions. Film the bottom of the pan with just enough beer to cover. Sprinkle the roast with rosemary and brown it; put it in the center of the pan. Surround with the potatos, carrots and onions. Sprinkle the veggies with the Lawry's seasoned salt. Spread the caramelized onions atop the roast. Make a sauce of the remaining beer, tomato paste, mustard, sugar and thyme. Carefully pour the sauce over the roast and onions (trying not to flood the onions off. Cover with foil and bake at 300 for at least 2 1/2 hours; it can cook up to 4 or 5 without hurting it. Roast will be falling apart -- should not be able to slice, but just tear into chunks.

Wonderful stuff!

Don't ask. Eat it.

www.kayatthekeyboard.wordpress.com

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Here's one that's almost embarassingly simple, but we love it.

A friend owned a racing kennel at Wonderland greyhound track outside Boston, MA 15+ years ago. When, he closed his kennel and moved back to FL, he begged the cook at his favorite diner to tell him how to make the pot roast served there. (My friend used to eat two orders of it at a time!) The cook led him back to the kitchen and jotted the following instructions on a scrap of paper...

Salt and pepper chuck roast and brown well in a heavy pot (Dutch oven).

Cover the top of the roast with thinly sliced onion. Add some garlic if you like.

Pour V8 juice into the pot so it comes halfway up the roast.

Cover and bake at 300 degrees for 3-4 hours.

That's it!

I usually uncover it, adding carrots and new potatoes for the last 45 minutes, or sometimes roast the veg in another pan.

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  • 6 months later...

Introduction

Did a pot roast starting with a beef chuck roast. Used onions, carrots, celery, red wine, and some good chicken stock.

The result tastes good, but how would one make it better?

Braising Steps

Started with a boneless chuck roast, well trimmed of fat, that weighed about 2.55 pounds.

In a 5 quart classic Farberware pot, with virgin olive oil, sauteed

  • 2 1/2 pounds of thick rings of large, yellow globe onions

The weight of each onion as purchased was about 1 pound. Got rings from three such onions. From each onion, got four disks of rings. The plane of each disk was perpendicular to the line from the root to the top of the onion.
Did the saute at high enough temperature to get some browned fond and some browning of some of the onion rings. Cooked long enough to have onions softened.
Removed the sauteed onions and placed them, to drain, in a colander set in a bowl.
In the 5 quart pot with the bottom coated again with olive oil, including oil drained from onions, browned the roast over medium low heat for 30 minutes on a side. Removed the roast.
Added
  • ~1/2 C peeled, fresh whole garlic cloves

and cooked them a little. Right away deglazed with

  • 16 ounces Mouton Cadet 2004 red Bordeaux wine

Reduced by about 1/2.
Note: In an earlier trial had used some red wine, also from the Cabernet Sauvignon grape but not from France, and did not like the results.
Added
  • 2/3 C own flavorful tomato sauce
    2 bay leaves
    50 twists of black pepper

Added

  • 250 mg of frozen white chicken stock that had been reduced to a light syrup and was made with a lot of mirepoix

Added roast, onions
  • 1 1/2 pounds chunks of carrots
    1 pound celery chunks

The 5 quart pot was nicely full. Covered. Simmered over LOW heat.

When onions and celery nearly cooked to mush and carrots nicely cooked, put vegetables in a colander set in a bowl. Could not find the garlic cloves!

Used spatulas to move roast to a dinner plate.

Sauce Steps

Wanted to make a sauce out of the braising liquid.

Poured braising liquid through a strainer and put strainer contents with vegetables in colander.

Put roast back in 5 quart pot, covered, and chilled.

After a few hours, vegetables had drained; added vegetables to roast, covered, and chilled.

With braising liquid drained from the vegetables and also from the strainer, got about 1 quart. Let chill for 2 days. Got surprisingly little fat, about 200 ml. Removed and discarded fat. Chilled liquid was softly gelled. There was some sediment at the bottom. Otherwise the liquid was brown but nicely clear.

Reduced braising liquid, with some of the sediment, rapidly to about 1 1/2 C, to a light syrup.

Added salt and pepper to taste.

The result was a good sauce: Could notice the wine, the beef, sweetness from the vegetables, maybe some of the chicken stock syrup.

Chilled, the sauce gelled firmly.

Serving

For a meal for one, reheated the sauce in microwave, put about 1/4 of the roast and vegetables a bowl, heated for 8 minutes at full power in microwave, poured over about 1/4th of the hot sauce, and ate with soft toast. It was good and very filling. Carrots were nice. Other very soft vegetables were also good eating. The roast flavor and texture were good.

Make it better?

  • Add vegetables to the braising later so that onions and celery remain distinct and not mush in the final dish?
    Reduce braising liquid to 2 C instead of 1 1/2 C to get more volume with slightly less intense flavor?
    Serve with good French bread instead of soft toast, maybe also with some butter -- the roast itself is a bit low on fat?
    Serve with a side of broccoli with, say, olive oil and garlic?
    Serve with a glass of good red wine?
    Follow with a Romaine salad with a light vinaigrette?
    Maybe somehow include some sauteed mushrooms?

Note: In an earlier trial, used 20 ounces of large, fresh, white button mushrooms that had been in refrigerator long enough to start to shrink and turn dark. Here was hoping that the idea that older mushrooms have better flavor is correct. The mushrooms tasted awful and seriously hurt the flavor of the final dish. So, be careful when using old mushrooms; mostly don't try.

What would be the right food and wine to go with

R. Strauss's 'Ein Heldenleben'?

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Sounds very good. Certainly along the lines of how I make a pot roast. Two things I do that I think improve it greatly is cut the roast into large chunks prior to browning so I get more sear and fond. The other is ala Keller, strain the braise liquid about an hour before being done and discard the worn out vege. Then replace with fresh vege to get a brighter taste and texture out of them.

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With the olive oil and tomato sauce, were you going for an Italian gravy? Pancetta and dried porcini mushrooms would be a good addition.

You have plenty of flavor components -- no need to cook the vegetables to death, but if they were, you could whiz with a handheld mixer or something then make them part of the sauce.

It sounds like it tasted great!

Rhonda

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Yours sounds delicious. Just for comparison, here's what I did on Sunday, more of an Irish theme than French, worked well for us:

Rubbed a 4.75 lb. cross-cut chuck roast with kosher salt, black pepper, dry mustard, paprika, ground celery seed, and garlic powder.

Browned the chuck on two sides in a cast-iron skillet, in veg. oil, about 7 min/side

Removed the chuck, turned down the heat, and threw in the pan one onion and two carrots in large dice, and one whole peeled garlic clove. Salted lightly, and sauteed a few minutes.

Deglazed the pan with 2 12 oz. bottles Guinness Stout. Added about 1 C dark veal stock. The liquid came about halfway up the roast.

Added the chuck back in, with one bay leaf and 1/2 t dried thyme, a little more salt, and brought the liquid to a boil.

Covered the pan and placed it in a 250 deg. F oven for about 4 hours, turning every hour or so.

When the meat was fully tender, I removed the chopped vegetables with a slotted spoon. I added 6 med. red potatoes (peeled) and 5 carrots, peeled and halved crosswise. Covered the pan again, put it back in the oven for about 45 min or until the vegs are done, turning the vegs once.

The sauce was very liquidy. Given more time one could remove the meat and vegs to a plate, keep them warm, and reduce the sauce while adding some beurre manie or a slurry of water and flour and simmering until the raw flour taste cooks off. But we'd been bathed in the aroma for hours, and were too hungry to get fancy.

Margo Thompson

Allentown, PA

You're my little potato, you're my little potato,

You're my little potato, they dug you up!

You come from underground!

-Malcolm Dalglish

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It sounds like you know what you're doing, and it's always good to keep detailed notes when you're developing a recipe. Like you, I often have "thoughts for improvements" written at the end. You've already identified flavours and variations you'd like to make, so I'll just make a few brief comments.

I especially like your "about 2.55 pounds" of meat, which wouldn't make it in my kitchen. That's about 2 and a half, OK ?! Likewise, I hope your 250mg of chicken stock is really 250g :wink:

You mentioned "surprisingly little fat" - but you trimmed the roast, and the only other fat that went in was some olive oil. If you look at the traditional recipes like Bourgignonne, they tend to have the beef barded with fat, or some amount of salt pork / bacon melted in the pot in the initial stages. This is always something you have to balance with the fattiness of the roast itself, but it's something you might think about. Of course there are other things like trotters, bones, calf's feet, to lend richness and body.

A 6-year-old Mouton Cadet is a fairly nice wine. You said you'd tried another cab that didn't satisfy. Maybe it's a big leap to go so far in search of a cabernet sauvignon that'll make a good stew ? There are those who say, using as good a wine as you can manage makes all the difference, and those who say that using a very good wine in the pot is a waste. I haven't done any all-else-equal side-by-side testing, but I can think of any number of good cabs significantly cheaper than that, all of which will make a beef/wine dish that'll have diners going "mmmmmm !".

In my kitchen (again. sorry) the minimum for a good pot roast is a nice piece of meat salted correctly well in advance so the salt penetrates, some chopped vegetables, some liquid (wine or stock), other seasoning - typically pepper, bay, lemon or vinegar; initial browning and enough slow cooking without going dry. You didn't mention salting and I'm wondering, did you do that beforehand ? It's always important to taste and adjust, but it's also possible to calculate your preferred amount of salt based on the weight of the meat, and to add a minimum amount at first for the other ingredients.

Lastly, when I reheat in the microwave, I typically split it into two bursts, and I'll also normally do the meat together with the sauce, because to me microwaving is a wet-cook method (and because I'm lazy at washing up). I find that if I do one continuous burst at high heat, I'm not only reheating but doing further cooking. On the other hand, if I use high heat just until the outsides of the meat are hot, the centre is still cooler. So I'll do two bursts, with a wait of 2 or 3 minutes in between. Usually I use a bowl and cover it with plastic wrap, with a small hole pierced in the centre - stopping each time when the wrap has ballooned up with steam for a while.

Edit to add: oh yes, and by "browned the roast over medium low heat for 30 minutes on a side" Did you mean you browned the roast for 30 mins on four sides, i.e. you browned it for 2 hours ? Or something else ?

Edited by Blether (log)

QUIET!  People are trying to pontificate.

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Nice comments, guys!

I think this is progress!

Doodad:

For cutting roast into smaller pieces, I have a personal hangup about doing that! I struggled off and on for years making Boeuf Bourguignon or whatever want to call it from chunks of lean beef. Maybe with sous vide and very careful temperature control (as in laboratory constant temperature water baths as in the long eG sous vide thread) it could be made to work, but nearly all I ever got was dry, hard, brittle chunks of meat. Finally I wrote a beef industry trade group and got back a nice reply: "Use chuck roast". They were right. But somehow I'm still afraid that chunks have higher risk of going dry than a whole piece!

In particular, in this trial, the chuck roast behaved great: I was not as careful about just the correct length of time and a just hot enough temperature as I would like to be, but still the texture of the meat was terrific.

Thanks for the Keller suggestion: I wondered about that, but it seemed extreme to use two batches of vegetables, discard the first and eat the second.

As I did it, the carrots were still distinctive but good; only the onions, celery, and garlic went to mush. But, those vegetables are there heavily as a form of in-place beef stock making, so likely should not serve them, but do want some vegetables to serve that have been cooked with the roast. So, likely Keller is correct: Two batches of vegetables is a worthwhile option.

I did use celery; this is just from the traditional constituents of mirepoix. So far I don't mind the celery.

You are also correct about a "brighter taste". One thing the final dish isn't very is bright. In color, everything, except the carrots, is essentially black until cut into the roast where the inside is gray. Also the flavor is not bright. Being brighter, in both color and flavor would help.

For brighter flavors, some vinegar might help. I could add one teaspoon at a time to the sauce and see what happens. Or if I want to risk it, add 2 tablespoons or some such to the roast itself. I did notice sugar from the vegetables.

Thanks.

PopsicleToze:

"With the olive oil and tomato sauce, were you going for an Italian gravy?"

Not really: I use olive oil, just virgin, not extra virgin, because it works well in cooking and I like the flavor. Commonly when braising beef, it is suggested to put some tomato paste in with the stock and/or wine. I have about 5 quarts of my favorite, home made, flavorful tomato sauce in the refrigerator so just used 2/3 C of it instead of tomato paste. Somehow tomato gets used with beef, e.g., painted on beef roasted before making beef stock or in Sauce Espagnol to use an old term.

"Pancetta and dried porcini mushrooms would be a good addition."

I'm considering mushrooms. I've never used dried porcinis (except maybe in some Chinese cooking that didn't work well); maybe I should. And pancetta or any unsmoked bacon is a common ingredient and maybe for a good reason -- more flavor and fat.

In recipe development, to overly dignify my effort, maybe it's better strategy to start with some minimal collection of ingredients and add instead of starting with a larger collection and subtract!

"You have plenty of flavor components -- no need to cook the vegetables to death, but if they were, you could whiz with a handheld mixer or something then make them part of the sauce."

I wasn't sure I had "plenty of flavor components" -- thanks for the judgment.

Nice! Whizzing the vegetable mush is an alternative view to the Keller idea of discarding a first collection of vegetables and cooking and serving a second collection with the roast. So, could (1) use two collections of vegetables as from Keller, (2) use one collection but add the vegetables later so that they don't cook to mush, or (3) let the onions, celery, and garlic go to mush and blend into a sauce! Idea (3) would make a very different sauce, with more volume, body, and flavor! Could end up with maybe 2 quarts of sauce instead of 1 1/2 C! Also via the sauce have a way to get some fat into the final dish as served: What I did makes the dish so low in fat can feel too tired eating it; also more fat would bring more flavor. Cute idea!

"It sounds like it tasted great!"

It was good. Thanks to chuck roast, vegetables, wine, etc. But it could be better.

Thanks.

catdaddy:

"My braises always turnout better when cooked at the lowest temps possible."

Well, from long discussions on eG, etc., I agree. I cooked this one all on top of the stove and failed to control the heat as well as I wanted. The idea of bringing to a simmer on the stove top and then covering and placing in a low oven, maybe 250 F, is a much better idea.

Thanks.

Margo:

"Rubbed a 4.75 lb. cross-cut chuck roast with kosher salt, black pepper, dry mustard, paprika, ground celery seed, and garlic powder."

Sounds better than what I did. And generally it sounds like I should do more in seasoning the meat before applying heat. Could even consider a marinade.

"Salted lightly, ..."

Sounds like I definitely should add salt long before the end. Actually, thinking back, while the final sauce I got had S&P in good shape, the meat itself, and the vegetables, did not. For adding salt earlier, I was afraid of getting the sauce too salty, but I should include SOME significant but likely not too much salt early on and then set aside this concern of not enough salt.

Also if make the sauce with whizzed vegetable mush, then too much salt in a reduced sauce would be not a problem.

"Deglazed the pan with 2 12 oz. bottles Guinness Stout."

That's 24 ounces! I used only 16 ounces of wine!

"Covered the pan and placed it in a 250 deg. F oven for about 4 hours, turning every hour or so."

Yes, I should do that next time! I cooked the thing only on top of the stove, and what you did IS better. Progress!

Thanks.

Blether:

"It sounds like you know what you're doing, and it's always good to keep detailed notes when you're developing a recipe."

I'm TRYING to know "what I'm doing". For keeping notes, that's a habit from my professional work, college courses in science, etc.

"I especially like your 'about 2.55 pounds' of meat, which wouldn't make it in my kitchen. That's about 2 and a half, OK?"

Yes, my 2.55 pounds is more digits than are significant! Uh, there were two roasts in one package; so from the label I knew the weight of total package; I estimated the larger one as 55% of the total, .... I have some scales accurate enough for such weights and should have weighed the roast.

"Likewise, I hope your 250mg of chicken stock is really 250g"

You are correct: That's a mistake. It was about 250 ml of chicken stock, because it was frozen as a cake in a standard, Pyrex 300 ml custard dish that was not quite full.

"You mentioned 'surprisingly little fat' - but you trimmed the roast, and the only other fat that went in was some olive oil."

Well, there were some streaks of fat in the chuck roast, and I was expecting it to melt and be visible at the top of the chilled braising liquid. But in the end you are correct: The fat I removed from the braising liquid was about what I had added as olive oil. I did not like throwing that fat away, but I didn't want to use it to make a roux, either, so didn't really know what to do with it.

The sauce looked good; if I had carefully omitted all the cloudy sediment, then it would have had quite nice gloss and sparkle served separately.

But the fat removal made the dish too low in fat. So, more fat would provide more food energy so that would not feel so tired eating the dish; and, of course, more fat would carry more flavor. Whizzing the mush vegetables into the sauce could let the fat be in the sauce.

"If you look at the traditional recipes like Bourgignonne, they tend to have the beef barded with fat, or some amount of salt pork / bacon melted in the pot in the initial stages. This is always something you have to balance with the fattiness of the roast itself, but it's something you might think about. Of course there are other things like trotters, bones, calf's feet, to lend richness and body."

I think that one of the better lessons from this trial is that you and the "traditional recipes" are correct: Need to get some fat in there, and do it carefully in amount and treatment. So, use pancetta, unsmoked bacon, bone marrow, or something.

"A 6-year-old Mouton Cadet is a fairly nice wine. You said you'd tried another cab that didn't satisfy. Maybe it's a big leap to go so far in search of a cabernet sauvignon that'll make a good stew ?"

Well, it was a small "leap" for me because it is what I had in my basement! It was six years old because it had been there about three years. I don't recall what I paid for it, but I bought it because it was not very expensive; maybe the shop had it on some special. It is a 1.5 liter bottle.

Opening it, there was no doubt: It's a Bordeaux! I don't know if it's from the Haut Medoc or wherever, but it's definitely honest Bordeaux.

For French reds, I prefer the Burgundies. Somewhere I have a Chambertin and also a Corton, but I didn't use those!

But I should definitely go ahead and drink, instead of cook, most of the rest of the Mouton Cadet! I have one more dinner of the roast; so, should have a glass of the wine! Then, cook something with the tomato sauce and have Bordeaux instead of Chianti!

I was surprised at (1) how little I liked the Cabernet Sauvignon (from South America) in the trial with the other piece of chuck roast and (2) how much better the Mouton Cadet made the sauce and the whole dish. One reason I did work fairly carefully making the sauce, and didn't add a roux, was to see what the Mouton Cadet would do! It was good!

With all the cooking and reducing, any bouquet or subtlety of the Mouton Cadet had to be lost. So, what was left was different in, I don't know, more tannins, less sugar, some fruitiness that somehow stayed with the South American wine. Again, I was surprised by the difference. Sugar? Heck: There was plenty of sugar from the vegetables. Again, I don't understand the difference and was surprised.

When I get my software written, I will get back to wines near Macon and from a little south of Beaune up to Dijon! And I will shop carefully for more appropriate reds for pot roast!

You are correct about salt: I salted only the sauce and that only at the end. The salt in the sauce was fine, but the meat and vegetables could have used more salt. So, you are correct: I should salt before heating, "well in advance so the salt penetrates".

For salting at the start, I was afraid of getting too much salt in the sauce, but that's not a very good excuse.

Next time I'll salt and pepper, at least, the roast, put it in a freezer bag, and let it rest in the refrigerator for 24-48 hours, and THEN cook the thing.

And maybe I should put some acid -- vinegar or lemon juice -- in there during the cooking.

And maybe I should consider a marinade.

"Edit to add: oh yes, and by 'browned the roast over medium low heat for 30 minutes on a side' Did you mean you browned the roast for 30 mins on four sides, i.e. you browned it for 2 hours ? Or something else ?

Yes, I was not fully clear. I browned on only the two parallel, flat sides, 30 minutes on each of these two, 1 hour in all. I had the heat high enough that I did get browning, that is, didn't accumulate water based liquid, but so low that the browning worked well, not too much. I didn't try to brown the edges.

Real progress!

Thanks.

What would be the right food and wine to go with

R. Strauss's 'Ein Heldenleben'?

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To add one more twist. I have had great luck with grilling the roast rather than pan searing for the browning then moving to a pan for a rest to get some of the flavors into the pot. Less fond in the pan granted, but great fond on the meat and really good.

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Project,

Many excellent comments already made about your recipe, & I have only a few things to add. If your dish overall seemed dull in flavor, and you couldn't taste all the good ingredients you put into it, that probably means you needed more salt. If the dish tasted flat or flabby, that means you needed to balance the fat in the dish with more of an acidic ingredient.

I agree with others about adding more salt before the end, but be careful. The blood in the meat is already salty. While cooking, I salt lightly after adding each layer of flavor, then I taste and adjust for salt at the end. In your recipe, for example, I would salt lightly while sauteing the onions, then again while browning the beef, then again when adding the garlic, tomato sauce, and spices.

What are you aiming to taste in this dish? I'll assume a rich, beefy piece of meat enhanced by aromatics, some cooked vegs, and a tasty broth. Your traditional aromatics of garlic, onions, carrots, celery, & bay leaves are on target, and the red wine and chicken stock will add depth to the broth. To add complexity to this mix, you could substitute a little brandy for some of the wine; or a little anise-flavored liquor would go well with beef and give it a Mediterranean touch. You could substitute a little butter for some olive oil for another flavor (butter enhances food wonderfully, and it doesn't take much). More herbs, like thyme and parsley, will add flavors too. If you chop and saute a strip of bacon with the onions, you'll add a smoky note and a different meat flavor to the dish.

When making braised beef, my go-to wine is a red Rhone, sometimes a Beaujolais. I'm only looking for something fruity, without too much tannins or other off flavors. For cooking I buy young, drinkable wines that aren't meant to be cellared. I can't remember the last time I cooked with a cab, and I rarely cook with a burgundy. If the wine is very good, it really should be drunk at the table. If the wine is bad--and cabs and burgundies can age erratically--it shouldn't go into the pot.

When I'm feeling motivated, I drain the vegs from the braised beef, puree them, then add some puree back to the sauce. Before the end of cooking time, I add fresh carrots, celery, or other vegs to the pot, let them cook until they are well done, and serve those vegs at the table. (I don't add potatoes, though. The starches dull the sauce.) The vegs you eat at the table have more flavor and firmness that way, not to mention a better appearance.

I wondered about the amount of garlic and tomato sauce you put into the recipe. That's a lot of garlic, but you know yourself best. For this amt of meat, I would normally add 3 or 4 cloves of garlic. I would also add less tomato sauce, because tomatoes are a strong flavor that can take over the mix. Maybe the equivalent of 1-2 TB of tomato paste? Remember, these flavors are supposed to enhance the meat, not overwhelm it.

Pot roast is supposed to be homey comfort food, rich-tasting but not really exciting. If you want to brighten it, don't mess with the dish itself, but think about an accompaniment at the table, like horseradish, mustard, port wine jelly, or (my favorite) a gremolata of parsley & lemon zest, that will make the dish more zingy.

good luck with your recipe development!

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... I salted only the sauce and that only at the end. The salt in the sauce was fine, but the meat and vegetables could have used more salt. So, you are correct: I should salt before heating, "well in advance so the salt penetrates".

For salting at the start, I was afraid of getting too much salt in the sauce, but that's not a very good excuse.

Next time I'll salt and pepper, at least, the roast, put it in a freezer bag, and let it rest in the refrigerator for 24-48 hours, and THEN cook the thing.

Then, yes. This is probably the single thing you can do that'll most improve the flavour.

My stock cooking salt is a granular, not particularly fine salt, that I measure out by volume. One teaspoon weighs about 5 grams (my scale doesn't give me any more significant digits). My appetite for salt is about average, judging from others' enjoyment of food I cook.

Whatever meat I buy fresh or defrost, I will then salt and hold in the fridge. For something like chicken legs I will use 1/4 - 3/8 tsp per lb. For boneless red meat, 3/8 - 1/2 tsp. I find this is the amount to give the 'correct' level of salt, no matter how long it soaks in (that is, it'll never be too salty even when it has completely permeated the meat).

Like djyee100, I'll then add the appropriate amount of salt at each step of preparation - so much for onions, so much for other vegetables, and so on. I agree that it's important to taste as you go, and yes, be wary of reducing sauces. But try the pre-salting. I think you'll be happy with it.

QUIET!  People are trying to pontificate.

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Okay, on salt, how much to add?

Uh, I like salt, do know that (1) it raises blood pressure until the body excretes any excess, (2) also suspect that salt does not cause the disease hypertension, (3) know that it's easy to add salt but difficult to remove salt after adding too much, and (4) I could use some information on how much salt to add!

Or, if I am going (1) add salt before cooking and all during the cooking but (2) not get too much salt at the end, then I should start the cooking with something of a salt budget, that is, just measure out about the right amount of salt to add, in total, to the dish, draw from that measured quantity, and use it all but no more.

So, I did a little investigation and arithmetic and report here what I found. Here's the executive chef summary:

  • Commonly canned foods have roughly 1 gram of salt per pound of food as sold. The common range is maybe 0.75 to 1.5 grams of salt per pound of food as sold. Hot dogs can be much higher, e.g., 7.23 grams of salt per pound of food as sold.
    Ordinary table salt has density 1.5 grams per 1/4 teaspoon.
    The salt in boneless beef as purchased is right at 295 milligrams per pound, which is close to negligible if want 1 gram to 7.23 grams per pound of food in the final dish.
    E.g., for a 2.5 pound chuck roast in a pot roast with vegetables to yield about 5 pounds of meat and vegetables and about 1 quart, or 2 pounds, of braising liquid, will have about 7 pounds of food.
    So for 1 gram of salt per pound of food, will want 7 grams of salt or
    • 7 / 1.5 = 4 2/3

1/4 teaspoons or 1 1/6 teaspoons or

  • ( 1 / 3 ) * ( 1 / 4 ) * 7 / 1.5 = 0.389

tablespoons of table salt. Can do similar arithmetic for 1.5 grams of salt per pound of food up to the hot dog level of 7.23 grams of salt per pound of food. So, can have a salt budget of just over 1 teaspoon to a little less than 3 tablespoons.

Details and Sources

Let's assume, easier than some other approaches I tried, that Campbell's, Progresso, etc. have already worked out at least roughly how much salt makes food taste good, read their nutrition labels, and start with that information.

Okay, for a recent can of

  • Campbell's Chunky Grilled Sirloin Steak with Hearty Vegetables Soup (which is a good reason for me to work on pot roast :smile:!)

I see:

  • net weight: 533 grams
    sodium: 890 milligrams
    sodium Daily Value: 2400 milligrams

So, they didn't tell me how much salt, that is, NaCl! Uh, as I recall from chemistry, I should NOT try to separate out the sodium from NaCl and add the sodium directly, at least not until I have a kitchen on the other side of a large earthen mound with a remote control room in a blockhouse 100 meters (staying with the metric system here!) away :smile:!

So, how much salt is needed to supply 890 milligrams of sodium?

Ah, Google to the rescue; find a good copy of the periodic table! They used to hang a big copy on the wall in chemistry class; did they do that in Home Ec :smile:?

So, the atomic mass of sodium is right at 23 and that of chlorine is right at, may I have the envelope, please?, 35.5, So, the fraction of sodium in NaCl is

  • 35.5 / ( 23 + 35.5 ) = 60.68%

and 0.6068 is also the number of grams of sodium in 1 gram of salt. So, the number of grams of salt needed for 1 gram of sodium is just
  • ( 23 + 35.5 ) / 35.5 = 1.65

So, the salt needed for 890 milligrams = 0.890 grams of sodium is

  • 0.890 * ( 23 + 35.5 ) / 35.5 = 1.47

grams, and that was for 533 grams of food. Back to pounds, how many grams in a pound? Ah, chiseled into my brain is 2.2 pounds per kilogram or 2.2 pounds per 1000 grams. So, 1 pound has
  • 1000 / 2.2

grams. So, 533 grams of food should have

  • 0.890 * ( 23 + 35.5 ) / 35.5 = 1.47

grams of salt so that 1 gram of food should have
  • 0.890 * ( 23 + 35.5 ) / ( 35.5 * 533 )

grams of salt so that 1 pound of food should have

  • ( 1000 / 2.2 ) * 0.890 * ( 23 + 35.5 ) / ( 35.5 * 533 ) = 1.25

grams of salt. That's borrowing from Campbell's.
What we did for 890 milligrams of sodium in 533 grams of food will be the same if we let s be the weight (grams) of sodium, w be the weight (grams) of the food, and n be the weight (grams) of salt in 1 pound of food and write:
  • ( 1000 / 2.2 ) * s * ( 23 + 35.5 ) / ( 35.5 * w ) = n

Then we can apply this equation also to (raid my kitchen):

  • Progresso Traditional Hearty Chicken and Rotini, s = 0.960, w = 538, n = 1.34
    Bush's Best Original Baked Beans, s = 0.550, w = 468, n = 0.880
    V8 100% Vegetable Juice, s = 0.690, w = ~340, n = 1.52
    Ballpark Brand Beef Franks (gee, doesn't pork fat rule :smile:?!), s = 0.550, w = 57, n = 7.23

Again, good data on why I'm working on pot roast :smile:!

Gee, hot dogs don't taste so salty to me!

But from this data, looks like a dish with meat and vegetables might have about the right amount of salt for good taste at 1.5 grams per pound of food. Of course, if want to be like hot dogs, then can go to 7.23 grams per pound of food. So, there's a wide range.

Hmm ...: The beans have low fat and the hot dogs have a lot of fat, so with more fat want more salt? Maybe.

So, at 1.5 grams of salt per pound of food, 7 pounds of food would have 10.5 grams of salt.

Okay, how to measure out 10.5 grams of salt?

Ah ha! Back to the pantry for a box of

  • Morton Table Salt

where see that 1/4 teaspoon of table salt weighs 1.5 grams. Cute: For 1.5 grams of salt per pound of food want 1/4 teaspoon of table salt per pound of food! So, for 7 pounds of food, want 7 times 1/4 teaspoon or 7/4 teaspoon or just over 1/2 tablespoon of table salt.
So, if I want to measure out salt for a pot roast salt budget and draw from just that amount of salt during the cooking, then for a pot roast of 7 pounds of food, to end up with 1.5 grams of salt per pound of food, 1/2 T of table salt should be enough. Still, if want to be like hot dogs, could use
  • ( 1 / 4 ) * 7 * 7.23 / ( 1.5 ) = 8.44

teaspoons or

  • ( 1 / 3 ) * ( 1 / 4 ) * 7 * 7.23 / ( 1.5 ) = 2.81

tablespoons.
Hmm: How much salt is in the chuck roast when buy it?
Ah, back to my old copy of The Big Red Book:
  • Bernice K. Watt and Annabel L. Merrill, Composition of Foods: Agriculture Handbook Number 8, Agricultural Research Service, United States Department of Agriculture, 1963.

So, in "Table 2: Nutrients in the Edible Portion of 1 Pound of Food as Purchased", in a footnote on page 73, beef, nearly any beef, without bone, has right at 295 milligrams of salt per pound.

So, now we know! If we want 1 gram, 1.5 grams, or 7.23 grams of salt per pound in the final dish as served, beef as purchased has very little salt and needs, compared to what it has from the store, a lot more salt! Or the 2.55 pounds of chuck roast I bought came with

  • 0.295 * 2.55 = 0.752

grams of salt, and that's about 1/8 teaspoon of table salt! Call this negligible!

So, now can calculate a salt budget for a pot roast!

For more insight, could compare with the salt concentration in brines, salt cured meats, and sea water, but this post is already long enough!

Edited by project (log)

What would be the right food and wine to go with

R. Strauss's 'Ein Heldenleben'?

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djyee100:

Nice!

Thanks!

You wrote:

"Many excellent comments already made about your recipe, & I have only a few things to add. If your dish overall seemed dull in flavor, and you couldn't taste all the good ingredients you put into it, that probably means you needed more salt. If the dish tasted flat or flabby, that means you needed to balance the fat in the dish with more of an acidic ingredient."

Nice! Progress in explication of principles! Ah, one principle worth 1000 recipes!

Above I did some arithmetic on salt so that I could budget salt for the whole dish and, thus, add salt all along without getting way too much or way too little at the end.

And I've been wondering about more in acid, say, just 1-2 T of, say, red wine vinegar.

Gee, with some information on pH could do for acid something like what I did for salt! To mention pH in cooking: Horrors :smile:!

For

"The blood in the meat is already salty."

Yes, I wondered about that and used that as one excuse to salt only the sauce and only at the end. But as in my post above and drawing from a USDA handbook, there are only 295 milligrams of salt per pound of boneless beef!

Ah, the tyranny of quantities instead of qualities :smile:!

"To add complexity to this mix, you could substitute a little brandy for some of the wine"

WOW! I'll have to look at the back of a bottom cabinet to see if I still have a bottle of cognac!

I should have one since it is recommended for steak au poivre since I have some NY strip steaks, and all the Mouton Cadet Bordeaux I have should go well!

You mentioned butter and that not much butter was required for its flavor to be noticed: I've used a butter-flour blond roux in sauces for fish, scallops, chicken, and lamb and beef pot roasts, especially as Boeuf Bourguignon, and recently got an example of how just a little such roux could do wonders for some chicken soup and, thus, confirmed your point.

For this trial of pot roast, the strength of butter flavor would cause the dish to make a big jump into different, likely better, territory, but I don't understand the present territory very well yet!

For

"If you chop and saute a strip of bacon with the onions, you'll add a smoky note and a different meat flavor to the dish."

Yes, and I've wondered about that. Commonly Boeuf Bourguignon recipes say to use unsmoked bacon. And pancetta, often recommended, as in this thread, would be another unsmoked bacon. Why such recipes are big on UNsmoked bacon, I don't know.

I like bacon plenty well enough: Once the wife of a friend blew me away with some skinless, boneless chicken breast pieces baked with butter, bacon, and Mozzarella cheese!

You wrote:

"When making braised beef, my go-to wine is a red Rhone, sometimes a Beaujolais. I'm only looking for something fruity, without too much tannins or other off flavors."

WOW! I need to learn more. I've been assuming that tannic wines would be better for beef. The last Rhone wine I had was an Hermitage, and the bottle is still on the kitchen counter, empty, helping to fence off the kitty cat from the mouse trap hidden away (I live in the country; there are mice in the garage and occasionally in the basement but rarely in the house; GOOD kitty cat!).

Good to get your vote for both (1) add pureed vegetables to the braising liquid to make a sauce and (2) add fresh vegetables near the end of the cooking and serve those with the roast. Looks like I definitely should try that for the next trial.

You wrote:

"I wondered about the amount of garlic and tomato sauce you put into the recipe."

Well, in the previous trial I had included 1/2 C of minced garlic; it didn't overpower the dish; it does seem like too much garlic, and I was trying to probe, that is, add until I could notice it and later cut back. This time I didn't want to take time to mince the garlic so just tossed it in. Yes, the volume is large, but, again, it didn't overpower the dish. For a final recipe I intend to cut the garlic back to something more standard. I was surprised that the garlic cloves all cooked to mush or whatever during the cooking and were not visible at the end.

So, now we have a cute result: Just toss the garlic in whole and save the chopping effort! If can still see the garlic cloves at the end, then discard them or whiz them; else f'get about them! Either way, save effort!

We're making progress! Ah, the Internet and eG :smile:!

For the tomato sauce, I thought that I could get more flavor with my flavorful homemade tomato sauce than with the usual tomato paste. The 2/3 C seemed only subtle and not excessive, and it was not noticeable in the final dish. One good point: Adding the cold tomato sauce to the hot pot contents released a burst of some of the aromatics I have in the tomato sauce and should have given a subtle addition to the roast!

You are guessing correctly, I have been trying to make chuck pot roast a little "exciting"! The sauce I ended up with was a start: It was a nice sauce, dark, glossy, slightly transparent, nicely viscous, with a LOT of flavor. If I whiz the vegetable mush into the braising liquid, then I will end up with a better tasting dish and better comfort food but a less "exciting" appearing sauce! It could be exciting more easily if I had about a quart of really good beef demi-glace! Maybe someday, when I get my software written :smile:!

Could consider the sauce trick of adding a little red current jelly to the sauce!

Thanks for your suggestions of accompaniments at the table; I would never have thought of either the idea or your examples. Given your idea, for one more example, maybe classic Cumberland sauce? I've had good versions and looked up how to make it but never have.

The dish should be more exciting with the second batch of onions, carrots, and celery cooked with the roast and served not as mush.

Another idea is to take white boiler onions, saute them (outdoors!) until slightly brown by rolling them around with a layer of oil and then baking them uncovered with some beef stock, white wine, and a bouquet garni until these liquids are reduced to a thick syrup coating, and let those onions be the onions served with the roast along with the carrots and celery.

Maybe I should try the often recommended new potatoes roasted uncovered with a coating of schmaltz! The last thing I did with chicken used 6 chickens weighing a total of 29 pounds and using a dozen or so pounds of mirepoix; results included the chicken stock I used in the pot roast and also a lot of schmaltz!

Otherwise have French bread, butter, broccoli, good red wine, etc. Follow with a light salad and then a light dessert (looks like I'll need a greenhouse for a good supply of good varieties of raspberries, strawberries, etc.!).

Should be good enough unless the Queen of England drops by! Then I'd need cherry dining room furniture, a lot of white damask, sterling silver, stemware, various uniformed, obsequious servants, etc. and hold down on the beer and Buffalo wings for Hors d'oeuvres (horse's WHAT?) :smile:!

Thanks!

What would be the right food and wine to go with

R. Strauss's 'Ein Heldenleben'?

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Blether:

Thanks!

You discussed salt concentrations! Yup, I was thinking about being more specific about salt!

So I did the investigations and arithmetic I reported above.

And while I was doing that arithmetic, you reported:

"For something like chicken legs I will use 1/4 - 3/8 tsp per lb. For boneless red meat, 3/8 - 1/2 tsp. I find this is the amount to give the 'correct' level of salt, no matter how long it soaks in (that is, it'll never be too salty even when it has completely permeated the meat)."

Yup, you did it! What you reported you found to be "correct" was well in the center of what I found by reading food product nutrition labels and converting food weight in grams to pounds and converting sodium weight in milligrams to salt grams and salt grams to teaspoons! So, we both found teaspoons per pound, and the concentrations we found agree!

Your post reminds me of a point in Escoffier where he mentioned that mushroom peelings added to stock improve the stock flavor. Apparently he just found this, by experience, like you did for the salt quantities. Of course now we know that mushroom peelings have MSG!

No wonder he was the King of Chefs!

Your findings are in good company!

Thanks!

The Internet and eG can do some very good things!

What would be the right food and wine to go with

R. Strauss's 'Ein Heldenleben'?

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I hope someone can help me! I bought a 10 pound (4.5 kilos) cut for roast beef. I think it is called Tenderloin or sirloin in English. I have about 18 meat eaters (!) for dinner. I am also serving baked salmon. I expect leftovers for lunch the following day for this same crowd.

Is this the right amount of meat?

Now, I want to make and slice a few days before,freeze and then reheat the sliced pieces. This is to be relaxed and ready and at the table as much as poss. Any advice would be welcome. I do not have a thermometer.

Thanks

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  • 4 weeks later...

For cutting roast into smaller pieces, I have a personal hangup about doing that! I struggled off and on for years making Boeuf Bourguignon or whatever want to call it from chunks of lean beef. Maybe with sous vide and very careful temperature control (as in laboratory constant temperature water baths as in the long eG sous vide thread) it could be made to work, but nearly all I ever got was dry, hard, brittle chunks of meat. Finally I wrote a beef industry trade group and got back a nice reply: "Use chuck roast". They were right. But somehow I'm still afraid that chunks have higher risk of going dry than a whole piece!

Larger cuts will lose less juice, so cook the intact roast sous vide (e.g. 48h/55°C; with higher temperatures there is more liquid loss) and cut into chunks just before searing and adding to the sauce which you prepared separately. As an analog example see

And of course well marbled roasts will come out juicier than lean roasts.

If you keep braising the traditional way, you might consider Harold McGee's rules:

Guidelines for Succulent Braises and Stews

A moist, tender braise or stew results from the cook's cumulative attention to several details of procedure. The most important rule: never let the meat interior get anywhere near the boil.

  • Keep the meat as intact as possible to minimize cut surfaces through which fluids can escape.
  • If the meat must be cut, cut it into relatively large pieces, at least an inch/2.5 cm on a side.
  • Brown the meat very quickly in a hot pan so that inside of the meat warms only slightly. This kills microbes on the meat surfaces, and creates flavor.
  • Start the pot with meat and cooking liquid in a cold oven, the pot lid ajar to allow some evaporation, and set the thermostat to 200°F/93°C, so that it heats the stew to around 120°F/50°C slowly, over two hours.
  • Raise the oven temperature to 250°F/120°C so that the stew slowly warms from 120°F to 180°F/80°C.
  • After an hour, check the meat every half hour, and stop the cooking when it is easily penetrated by the tines of a fork. Let the meat cool in the stew, where it will reabsorb some liquid.
  • The liquid will probably need to be reduced by boiling to improve flavor and consistency. Remove the meat first.

My two cents: never exceed 78°C, as at 80°C and above meat will turn into shoe leather.

Edited by PedroG (log)

Peter F. Gruber aka Pedro

eG Ethics Signatory

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