Or, at least I thought I didn't.
The urge to slow braise meets was not, I must confess, a natural inclination for me. In my brain, the thought of putting hunks of meat in a puddle of hot broth and cooking them for a very long time was paramount to BOILING the meat... and that was something, in my world, reserved for unique cases like corned beef (and, even then, I have the tendency to brown the pasty-looking meat when it comes out of its bath, just to make it look like it was roasted).
At the rate I was going, I probably wouldn't have made a pot roast for... oh, at least ten more years, if it weren't for the fact that somebody (Peef would be the logical guess here) was having a craving. So, I decided to give it a whirl.
I recalled, from childhood, that people often made pot roast with packets of Lipton French Onion Soup mix. That idea kinda turned my stomach, but the concept of a lovely tender roast with some caramelized onion action going on was pretty appealing. So, I went with it.
First, I threw what felt like a bazillion onions into a large saute pan with a bit of real butter. You can't beat butter for caramelizing onions, especially since it toasts up nicely itself and lends not only great color but a delicious toasty flavor to the mix.
Of course, my massive mountain of onions cooked down in no time, and I was left with a sad little hill of onions. Fortunately, they were beautiful and brown, and I had confidence that we were on the right track with this inaugural pot roast.
I browned up a fine looking naturally raised beef rump roast and then added it to a large, heavy pot with the caramelized onions and a few cups of beef stock, some soy sauce, and a bunch of minced garlic. Now is probably not the time to talk about the quality of beef, but we don't eat a ton of it, so I'm pretty picky about the sort of meat I buy. Since "naturally raised" means different things to different people, I'll clarify by saying that this beef was:
- Raised without the use of antibiotics/hormones
- Raised humanely in a "minimal stress" environment
- Given free access to the outdoors
- Fed 100% vegetarian feed
- Never irradiated
Anyhow, back to cooking.
The beef (and its bath) was placed, covered, in a slow oven for a very long time (about 2 1/2 hours for this roast). The hardest part was NOT peeking into the pan when delicious smells started wafting through the kitchen. But, we managed to control our urges and wait for the appropriate moment.
After a short resting period, we plated up the roast with a few of those (nearly dissolved, but still delicious) onions. And I've got to say, the finished product was pretty nice.
The poor roast was so tender, it fell apart into hearty, muscley slabs when we went to cut into it... although we did get a few nicer slices for photos.
We served it with a pile of the (prerequisite) mashed potatoes and some sort of vegetable (though I don't remember what)... because we are not the sort of household for whom "meat and potatoes" means exactly (and only) "meat and potatoes".
The leftovers made fantastic sammiches... with the au jus serving as a really tasty dipping sauce. And the leftover onion broth is currently living in the freezer, since I think it would make a seriously nice base for some impromptu French Onion Soup.
Pretty good mileage for a big old chunk of boiled meat.
I think I might be a newly converted sucker for the infamous pot roast after all.
Lo's "I'm in denial" French Onion Pot Roast
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