This simple pot roast recipe may be simple, but it’s neither ordinary nor boring. I realize I’ve been posting a lot of simple or basic recipes lately – something I’m absolutely not sorry for. Meatballs, biscuits, muffins: although these are ordinary, normal, everyday recipes, this is the kind of food I cook at this time of year – the kind of food I to really want to this time of year – always, really but especially when it’s cold outside.
Every once in a while I get carried away and make a wild recipe that I’m dying to try, but for the most part I’m making pretty family-friendly, comforting, familiar food. Appreciable food. If it’s cold or particularly snowy outside, this is one of the first recipes I think of.
When in doubt, prepare a braise. This is my theory. Or currency? Either way, it’s always a good choice.
A few notes on how I prepare my roast
Pot roast: such a terrible name for such a delicious thing. It takes about 10-20 minutes to get ready and then you forget about it for hours! And it’s incredibly cheap. This is probably my son’s favorite dish. He asked for this and my potato gratin (AKA “those good cheesy potatoes”) for his birthday dinner two years in a row.
Yes, you will find coffee in the ingredient list of this simple Charcoal Roast recipe. I started adding coffee to my roasts at some point, and if I have any left in the coffee maker, I use it. Otherwise, I don’t. I have this distant, hazy memory of my dad making stewed rabbit with coffee when I was a little girl and it was so delicious. Your roast won’t taste like coffee, but it does add something – a darkness and depth to the sauce that is truly special. It also gives the roast (along with the burn) a dramatic, super dark color on the outside.
Also, the wine is optional, but again it adds something, an acidity that I think you would miss if you left it out. You can use red or white, or none at all, but maybe add a splash of balsamic vinegar or red wine to the cooking liquid. Once I used a Guinness beer that was lying around in the fridge and it was so good. Surprisingly good. Heck, I even used marsala in a pinch. Anyway, alcoholic beverages are optional, cash is not. Whatever you choose, make sure you have a total of 4 cups of liquid.
And finally, something else that sets my simple pot roast recipe apart
I don’t add vegetables – I know, crazy, right? I prefer to serve separate, fresher and crisper vegetables rather than soggy, mushy and overcooked vegetables. See below for some of my favorites.
What to serve with this simple roast
I used to always serve it with peas and/or corn, but as my kids have grown I find I do it with more grown vegetables. Now I like to serve it with mushrooms, cooked in butter, broth and wine, until the liquid evaporates and they become almost glazed. Give the same treatment to beautiful lavender-pink shallots and you have an updated, super-sleek, Frenchified classic.
Serve it with mashed potatoes, egg noodles, creamy polenta, rice or good crusty bread. You must have something to soak up this tasty sauce.
Speaking of sauce, if you want to thicken it up and make it more sauce-like, a recipe follows. This step is optional and entirely a matter of personal preference. (I love the sauce).
For the roast:
- 2 x 1.5 lb chuck roasts (or one large 3-4 lb roast)
- 2 ½ cups beef broth
- 1 cup wine, beer or about ¼ cup balsamic vinegar or red wine
- ½ cup of brewed coffee
- lots of salt and pepper
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 whole garlic cloves
For Butter handled (a fancy French term for flour and butter mashed together to thicken the sauce):
- 2 tablespoons soft butter
- 3 tablespoons of flour
For full instructions, see https://wildthistlekitchen.com/simple-pot-roast/.