Is there any better comfort food than pot roast and mashed potatoes? (Okay, maybe macaroni and cheese - and I'm sure in Heaven they go crazy and serve pot roast and macaroni and cheese together!) It's such a simple dish and yet something I feel comfortable serving to impromptu dinner guests, which is what we did last night. Definitely a staple in our family cookbook.
One 4-pound boneless Chuck roast, neatly tied
Salt and ground pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium onion, roughly chopped
3 medium carrots, peeled and sliced
3 celery ribs, sliced
2 bay leaves
2 teaspoons dried thyme leaves
3-4 cups beef broth or stock
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons butter, softened
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pat roast dry and season with salt and pepper.
2. In a Dutch oven, heat the oil over moderately high heat until it's hot, but not smoking. Add the roast and brown on all sides, about 15 minutes total.
3. Transfer the roast to a plate. Add the onions, carrots, and celery to the pot and cook over moderate heat, stirring until vegetables are golden.
4. Place the roast back in the pan along with the bay leaves, thyme, and enough of the beef broth to come up about 2/3 of the way to the top of the roast.
5. Bring the pot roast to a simmer on top of the stove, skim fat if necessary, cover tightly and set in the lower third of the preheated oven. Braise for about 2 1/2 to 3 hours, until the beef is tender. Turn the roast over several times during the cooking process. (Ideally, you want to keep your roast at a gentle simmer. If you notice it's boiling too hard, regulate your heat accordingly.)
6. Transfer roast to a cutting board and let it rest for 10 minutes.
7. Skim any fat from the surface of the liquid. Strain the liquid. To thicken the sauce slightly, bring it to a boil. For each cup of liquid, stir together 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon flour. Whisk the butter mixture into the liquid. Simmer, stirring constantly, until thickened.