04-14-08 - 1

The regular "toss everything in a pot" method of making pot roast tends to just make a bland mushy pile of goop. You can make a much tastier faux pot roast using the "cook separate and combine" method. The idea of cooking the flavors together is very overrated; for example when you cook carrots with meat, you really don't get good carrot flavor into the meat, all you do is suck the carrot flavor out of the carrots. When you cook things seperately, each thing gets a chance to brown and develop it's own rich flavor, and then when you eat the dish you can put those flavors together in your mouth.

Basic composed pot roast : sear the meat in a big pan, salt & pepper of course. Toss a bit of flour in the pan and stir around in the meat fat (this will wind up thickening the sauce). Add liquid to almost cover, stock or maybe some beer, also bay leaves, whole garlic cloves, etc. Put on a tight lid or aluminum foil and toss in a 325 degree oven. Cook about 2 hours. Now jam the oven up to 425. Toss in a sheet of carrots rubbed in olive oil and salt & peppered. Also toss in a sheet of potato wedges with the same treatment and also perhaps some thyme or similar. Cook about 30 minutes at the higher heat. Make sure you don't completely run out of liquid on your meat, add liquid if necessary but not too much. The carrots should get nice and charred. When it's all cooked, remove from oven. Pour the juices off the meat & reserve. Toss the carrots and potatos in the pot with the meat. Toss in some frozen peas and let it all sit 5 minutes so the peas cook.

Turn the juices into a sauce. To really do this right you should've cooked the whole thing ahead so the drippings can cool and you can take off some of the fat. Or you can skip that. Taste the juices and maybe don't do anything. If it's too thick, add wine or beer or stock. If it's too thin, you can either cook some flour in the pan you cooked in to make a gravy/roux, or make a cornstarch slurry and add that, or if it's thin and the quantity is sufficient you can just cook it down a bit to reduce. Perhaps add salt & pepper to the sauce. Finish with a bit of butter.

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