Provence-style Pot Roast – winter version

Nothin' like lovin' from the oven!

Nothin’ like lovin’ from the oven!

It’s getting cold out there folks, so that means it is braising season. Now, I don’t tend to eat a lot of beef, but it is a great meat for braising and I do love a full-flavored pot roast. If you have some time to putter in the kitchen, and want an easy, yet flavorful warm-winter meal, try this out. You will be glad you did.

Provence-style Pot Roast – Printer friendly version!

1 – 5 lb beef pot roast

Your main ingredients.

Your main ingredients.

salt, pepper
4 tbsp olive oil

1 large leek, thinly sliced, white and light green parts only
½ large white onion, small dice
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 ½  tbsp Herbs de Provence

1 quart or 2-15 ounce cans diced tomatoes
1/3 cup brandy
1 cup white wine
4 cups beef broth

8 ounces of baby bella mushrooms, cut into quarters

Yield: 8 servings

Preheat oven to 300 degrees

See how much salt and pepper I added.

See how much salt and pepper I added.

Heavily, and I do mean heavily, salt and pepper the roast. Place 4 tbsp of oil in a heavy Dutch oven and heat on high until the oil shimmers. Place the pot roast in the pan and sear until you achieve a brown crust on the roast.

A good sear on the meat.

A good sear on the meat.

This will take longer than you expect – count on at least 5 to 10 minutes per side. By doing this, you will be creating a brown crust on the outside of the meat which helps develop good flavor. Contrary to what others may say, this doesn’t seal in the juices. Just sayin’.

Remove the roast to a plate and set aside.

The veggies cooking away!

The veggies cooking away!

Now, place the leek, onion, and garlic in the Dutch oven and cook on medium heat until wilted. The dark crustiness from the bottom of the pan will cling to the vegetables. No worries though, this is where the flavor is. Keep stirring.

Once the veggies are wiled add the Herbs de Provence and cook for a minute to allow the herbs to release their oils.

Add the brandy and cook the mixture until the almost all liquid is evaporated. All we want is the flavor here, not the liquid. Plus, this burns off the alcohol. Finally, add the white wine and beef broth. Bring to a simmer and place the covered Dutch oven into the oven to cook for at least 4 hours at 300 degrees.

Braising away!

Braising away!

Now, go do something fun while to oven does all of the work for you! Might I suggest a manicure?

Once 4 hours are up, test the meat to see if it is tender. You will need to let the meat cook a little longer if the meat doesn’t fall apart easy; just check on it every 15 minutes or so. I like to take the lid off the pot toward the end of the cooking time to allow the juices to begin to reduce down.

When the meat is done, remove it from the pot to a plate and add the mushrooms. Cook the sauce on the stovetop at a medium heat for about 10 minutes with the lid off. I like a somewhat thick gravy on this dish, so I boil down the liquid in the pot to the consistency I like. This will also concentrate the flavors to make the sauce even more delicious. I find that if I seasoned the meat correctly, I don’t need to add anymore salt or pepper. Make sure you taste the sauce to ensure it has the correct seasonings for you though – our tastebuds may differ greatly.

Now, here is my big secret – I make this dish a night or two before I plan to serve it. After the sauce has cooled, I place the meat – in large chunks – back into the sauce and refrigerate it. This allows the flavors to absorb back into the meat. Delicious!

Now that doesn’t mean you can’t eat the Pot Roast right away. You can. I just like to have a quick meal in the middle of the week that tastes like I worked really hard to make it. All I have to do is reheat the roast and sauce, make a starch – I like roasted potatoes, a salad, and I am done!

And, the leftovers make a mean filling for lasagna. Recipe to come! I promise you, this pot roast is worth all the effort you put into it – which in reality isn’t a lot. Yeah, it takes time to cook, but you can go out and get a manicure while it is simmering away. Now that is good time management! And a great Do Again dinner.

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