The name is simple, straightforward, and minimally descriptive. A roast in a pot-what could be more simple? Simple dishes are my favorite, not only because they are easy to prepare, but because you can taste every ingredient. The cooking method makes cheaper (tougher) cuts of meat tender, moist, and flavorful . A properly executed pot roast may be comprised of humble ingredients, but the finished product is anything but. This one is peppery but not overly spicy, with garlic and herb infused fork-tender meat. Humans have been gathering around hunks of roasted meat for a long time, and this recipe will remind you why. And unlike your ancestors that enjoyed similar meals, it's nearly certain that you won't be eaten by a large cat.
4-5 lb roast
8 large carrots, peeled
6 large potatoes, peeled
1 large onion
3 T salt
6 cloves lightly crushed Garlic, cut in half (give them one light smash with the side of your chef's knife)
1 large tomato
2 cups water
3 large sprigs fresh rosemary
2 large sprigs fresh oregano (or thyme)
3T Canola oil
Preheat oven to 275F
Embrace your inner barbarian and puncture roast evenly 12 times with paring knife. Lightly season the garlic with salt and pepper, then push garlic clove halves deep into each cut. Rub exterior of roast with 2/3 of the salt and pepper (reserve other 1/3 for potatoes and carrots). Heat large dutch oven (with lid) on stovetop over high heat. Add oil, then sear the roast until deep brown crust develops (5-7 minutes per side). This is the Maillard step that will give you complex flavor, so don't skip it. While it's browning, peel your carrots and potatoes, then chop potatoes, carrots,and onion into 1.5 inch chunks and toss in large bowl with remaining salt and pepper to coat.
When exterior of roast is browned, remove from heat, and deglaze dutch oven with water and worchestershire. Arrange vegetables around your roast, and place fresh herbs on top of the meat. Slice tomato into 3 thick slices, and arrange on top of the herbs.
If you have a dutch oven with a basting lid, all the better. As it cooks, steam will drip from the lid, basting the meat and veggies with herb and tomato infused water. Bake for 3 hours, lid on. When the meat can be pulled apart easily with a fork, remove lid and broil on high until veggies are nicely browned (about 4 minutes).
Remove liquid, (I use a turkey baster) and reduce liquid in saucepan until desired thickness is achieved. You can use a roux or cornstarch slurry to thicken if that's your speed. Pour gravy over the roast and veggies and serve immediately. I put the whole dutch oven in the center of the table (on a trivet) and let folks serve themselves directly from it, barbarian style.
Warning: this meal can make even the most civilized resort to grunts and gestures.