Pot roast has always been high on my list of top comfort foods, but before last night I had never actually prepared it myself. I didn't even know what cut of meat to use; that's how carnivorously uninformed I am. I grew up in a chicken family, and married a pork man. Luckily, the people at the meat farm did the work for me and plastered a large sticker proclaiming "POT ROAST" across the 2.5 pound hunk of boneless chuck. I love it when that happens.I researched countless methods and recipes, from slow cookers to oven roasting to braising on the stove. When in doubt, braise. It is the best cooking method for tough cuts of meat. Plus, you can add all sorts of delicious things to the braising liquid, from red wine to fresh herbs to garlic and beyond. I prefer a combination of wine and broth, with lots of fresh thyme and garlic.
Before braising, it's best to lightly sear the meat to seal in juices and provide a little golden brown color. Parsnips, along with the carrots, provide a lightly sweet flavor to counteract the meatiness of the roast. For the mashed potatoes, use your favorite recipe. I mashed six or seven boiled fingerling potatoes with a fork, moistened them with a little butter and sour cream, and seasoned them with salt and pepper.
2 tablespoons oil, divided
2-3 pound boneless chuck roast
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup red wine
3 cups beef broth
4 sprigs of thyme, or assorted herbs such as rosemary or sage
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes with juice
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
salt and pepper to taste
4 carrots, peeled and cut into inch-long pieces
2 parsnips, peeled and cut into inch-long pieces
Chopped parsley for garnish
Mashed potatoes to accompany
Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large Dutch oven. Add the beef and brown on all sides and set aside. Heat the remaining oil in the same pan. Add the onions and saute until tender, about 5-7 minutes.Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, about a minute. Add the red wine and deglaze the pan (scraping all the browned bits and reducing slightly). Add the beef broth, thyme, tomatoes, Dijon mustard, salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Add the roast, cover and cook in a preheated 325F oven until fork tender, about 3 hours. Add the carrots and parsnips during the last 20 minutes of cooking. Shred or slice meat and serve on top of mashed potatoes with the carrots and parsnips alongside.