Friday, January 16, 2009

Lo's In Denial: French Onion Pot Roast

I don't do pot roast.
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
I'd like to say that it was organic, but right now we don't have an affordable supplier for such things.
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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  1. So making that. Im on my way to Whole Foods now for meat. YUM. Also still loving the leftovers of that awesome chili. I am going to post about it this weekend.

  2. Very delicious looking. Those onions are a delicious beginning.

    I'm glad you put your veggies in another pot. I hate pot roasts that have vegetables cooked in with them. I never liked my vegetables cooked in a pot until soft and then they break up into clumps all over your food.

  3. Lo, boiling meat will give your grey meat. Braising, like here, gives you deep brown, fork tender meat...I lurve roasts.

  4. Yum. Just what I have a hankering for in these frigid temps!

    But I have to admit I was speed reading & saw "irritated" instead of "irradiated". So I had to think, "Yeah, who wants to eat a moody cow?!"

  5. It sounds delicious! My husband loves pot roast. I'll have to try this!

  6. That is a beautiful hunk of meat! Nice and I can see the tenderness.

  7. Looks great - I made pot roast last night too, with onions, carrots, tomatoes and red wine. Yours looks delicious.

  8. Amanda - Yay! And they sell happy cows at Whole Foods. Good call.

    Rachel - Come to think of it, I think that the soggy veg are another reason why I wasn't altogether thrilled about pot roast. This seems the perfect solution.

    Peter - I'd been told, but I never believed it. Consider me a convert!

    Jinx - Only HAPPY cows at our place, thanks :)

    Duckie - Go for it :)

    Cathy - Isn't that the best thing about pot roast?

    Sara - Sounds good. Now that I'm over my boiled meat phobia, I might have to branch out :)

  9. Overcooked veggies and soup-based pot roasts are a large part of my childhood - and a larger part of what made me vegetarian! This, however, looks like a whole different, well, animal. If my mom could figure out the internet, I'd send her to this post!

  10. oh man does this look amazing! I love french onion anything and I love pot roast! I think I shall be making this soon! Thanks!

  11. holy crap, lo! this looks great. look at the sauce! you know this made you miss the lipton onion soup packets just a bit... come on, admit it.

  12. Looks absolutely delicious and I can only imagine how tender it was. Also, love how you used and planned on using everything!

  13. Tantalizing!
    Love the idea using caramelize onion.


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