Brown Ale Pot Roast
The great thing about cold weather is the excuse to eat all the comfort food. Today we woke up to one of those blustery days that feel like it’s already evening from the moment the sun comes up. It’s days like these that make me crave hearty meals like pot roast. There’s something so heartwarming about a hot meal brewing in the oven all afternoon, its aroma promising the scrumptious meal to come. I will always be a meat and potatoes kinda girl. And proud of it.
The great thing about meals like pot roast is whether you’re using your oven or a new-fangled contraption like an instant pot, the amount of effort needed to throw it together is very little and yet the reward is so great. I still prefer to make mine in the oven, partially because I tend to make bread at the same time, which we know is an hours-long process. I love that I can turn on the oven for one thing and piggyback something else at the same time. Also, it gives me a chance to work on other projects while it does its thing unattended. Saving time is my favorite.
For this pot roast, I wanted to veer away from the typical wine and try to capture the warmth of cable knit wool sweaters and peacoats at a corner pub. A thick cut of chuck roast and creamy potatoes slow-cooking in brown ale, whole grain mustard, and Worcestershire sauce seemed like the right way to achieve that. Oh, and garlic. So. Much. Garlic.
Now the best way to make sure you get the most flavor out of this dish is to 1. make sure your meat has great marbling (fat = flavor), and 2. sear the meat really well on all sides. In order to accomplish this, you will need to pat the surface of the meat dry with paper towels. If it’s wet or damp looking, it won’t get that fantastic Maillard reaction that creates a beautiful brown crust that renders the best flavor. After you pat the meat dry, make sure it’s sprinkled really well with salt and pepper on all sides. Salt brings out flavor. Add just a bit of oil to the dutch oven and wait until it smokes just a little. Sear each side and all edges until the meat is brown and crusty.
For other flavor enhancers, I like to make an herb bundle out of thyme and the leaves on top of the celery stalk. If the celery you have doesn’t have a bunch of leaves, you can always use the few really pale stalks in the center to add flavor. just cut off the base if it’s dirty, tie it with the thyme, and throw it in the broth. You’ll fish the bundle out later, but there’s no reason to waste it!
Okay, that’s enough of an intro, let’s get to the recipe!
3-4 pounds chuck roast or rump roast
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium white onions, sliced lengthwise
1 head of garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
2 bottles brown ale
2 cups beef stock
1 bunch thyme
2-3 celery tops or the center of a celery bunch
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons stone ground mustard
2 tablespoons tomato paste
4 large carrots
1-2 pounds red and gold Yukon baby potatoes
fresh cracked pepper
- Heat oven to 300
- Pat meat dry with paper towels and season liberally with salt and pepper.
- Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to a dutch oven over medium high heat. Once the oil is slightly smoking, sear the meat on all sides until it’s browned, about 4-5 minutes per side. Add more oil as necessary.
- Reduce heat to medium, add onions around the roast. Add garlic, beer, beef stock, Worcestershire, mustard, tomato paste, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil.
- Create an herb bundles by tying celery leaves and thyme together. Add to the pot, cover, and roast in the oven for two hours.
- Clean potatoes and carrots, and slice carrots into 2-inch long slices.
- After the first two hours, remove pot from the oven and check the liquid level. If low, add a bit more stock, and arrange carrots and potatoes around meat. Cover and return to oven for two more hours.
- Remove pot from oven, and temporarily remove meat and vegetables to a dish. Remove herb bundle and bay leaves and discard.
- To make gravy, skim fat from broth and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce to half.
- Create a roux by mixing 2 tablespoons of flour or corn starch and a cup of broth or water (no lumps!). Stir the roux into the broth with a whisk. Continue stirring until the broth thickens into gravy.
- Return meat and vegetables to gravy to reheat and serve immediately.