I had never made Pot Roast, so I was nervous. Yes, I realize Pot Roast is an All-American food made by everybody - everybody but me! And this was for company night, so I wanted it to be perfect!
Would the meat be fork tender? Would it be over done? These are the questions I continued to ask my foodie friends, my mom... really anyone who would listen!
You know what? The recipe knows best. And you know what else? I'm not sure if it would have mattered what the meat was like because the sauce was so incredible I think we would have eaten it like soup! Let me tell you a secret - I added a pound of mushrooms to the pot which only served to impart their earthy tones to the rich red merlot sauce. So if you enjoy mushrooms like we do, try it!
Merlot Pot Roast (The Sunset Cookbook)
1 tied fat-trimmed boned beef chuck roast (3 to 3 1/2 lb.)
1 tablespoon butter or olive oil
3 carrots (about 1/4 lb. each), rinsed and peeled
1 onion (1/2 lb.), peeled and chopped
2/3 cup chopped celery
3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 dried bay leaf
1 cup Merlot or other dry red wine
1/3 cup canned tomato paste
1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon minced parsley
1 to 2 cups watercress sprigs, rinsed and crisped (optional)
1. Rinse beef, pat dry, and sprinkle generously all over with fresh-ground pepper. Melt butter in a 10- to 12-inch nonstick frying pan over high heat. When hot, add beef and brown well on all sides, 6 to 8 minutes total.
2. Meanwhile, cut carrots into sticks about 3/8 inch thick and 2 inches long. In a 4 1/2-quart or larger electric slow-cooker, combine carrots, onion, celery, garlic, thyme, peppercorns, and bay leaf. Set beef on vegetables; add drippings. In a small bowl, mix wine and tomato paste; pour over meat and vegetables.
3. Cover and cook until beef is very tender when pierced, 8 to 9 hours on low, 5 to 6 hours on high. If possible, turn meat over halfway through cooking.
4. With 2 slotted spoons, transfer meat to a platter; keep warm. Skim and discard any fat from cooking liquid. Turn cooker to high. In a small bowl, blend cornstarch with 1 1/2 tablespoons water; pour into cooker and stir often until sauce is bubbling, 10 to 15 minutes.
5. With a slotted spoon, lift vegetables from cooker and arrange beside meat. Garnish platter with watercress. Spoon sauce over meat. Slice meat and serve with vegetables and sauce, adding salt to taste.