I finally have my kitchen back and it’s about time! I decided to cook something comforting as it was the weekend and being in the new kitchen with the family around just begged for comfort food. Braised beef cooked in a pot roast was just the perfect winter warmer and I knew it would make the house smell gorgeous for hours.
I started with a visit to the local butcher hoping to get hold of a solid lump of braising steak (chuck or top blade). This is a tasty meat with lots of collagen that will break down during the long cooking process, so perfect for braising. Unfortunately, braising beef usually comes diced (makes a lovely stew!) and I wanted to roast a roll so I could get melt-in-the-mouth slices. They had brisket, which is also a perfectly good choice for a pot roast and with it I headed home ready to (re)start cooking.
Making a melt-in-the-mouth roasted meat dish really is easy because it is the cooking time that does all the work for you and with only a handful of ingredients you are set to make something delicious.
You don’t have to brown the meat like I did but I do it because it creates a nice caramelised outer layer that is full of flavour. And you can add a lot more ingredients like carrots, celery and stock, but I have to say that you can make it really simple and still get fabulous results and I’m not sure how much more flavour you can get beyond what you get if you cook it with the ingredients listed here.
This pot roast is better for the day after for a few reasons: it will taste better if you have cooked it the day before, it makes next day’s dinner super-easy because you only have to warm the meat up (perfect if you have guests) and it allows time for the fat in the sauce to solidify so you can easily remove it and you get left with a lovely, healthier deeply flavoured sauce.
Comfort food: The ultimate (and easy) pot roast
Melt-in-the-mouth beef brisket that has been slow cooked in the oven with a handful of ingredients.
Preheat the oven at 150 degrees Celsius (300 Fahrenheit), Gas Mark 2. In a wide pot roast pan, place some olive oil. Add the meat so it browns all over. Set aside when done.
In a bowl add the chopped tomatoes, Port wine, balsamic vinegar and Worcestershire sauce and mix well. Chop the shallots into thin slices and peel the garlic cloves (optional).
Pour this mix over the meat and scatter the garlic cloves and shallots around it and season with freshly ground black pepper, bay leaves, thyme and a generous amount of salt flakes. Remember, you won’t be able to adjust the salt during the time it roasts and adding it at the end is not the same, as it just sits on the meat rather than season it. Cover with a lid and place in the middle of the oven. After 4 hours, remove the brisket from the pan, place it in a deep dish and cover with 2 layers of aluminium foil to rest for 1 hour.
If you prepare the meat the day before you need to serve it, not only it tastes better but you also have the opportunity to remove the fat from the sauce. Place the pan with the sauce in the fridge without the meat overnight. The next day the fat has become hard and set on top so it should be easy to remove this top layer. You get left with non-fatty yummy sauce (you should also freeze this fat and use it to make a delicious meaty rice to serve with roast meat).
Cut the meat into slices, place them back on the pan and cover. Heat everything up in a preheated oven at 150 degrees for 30 minutes.
Perfect to serve on a bed of pasta (preferably small like mini-farfalle or orzo) or anything that will soak up that wonderful deep sauce (e.g. mash). With the leftovers (if there are any), you can make a delicious roasted meat sandwich!