Pot Roast with an Italian Twist

I enjoy watching America’s Test Kitchen as well as Cook’s Country on PBS. Both are spin offs from Cook’s Illustrated Magazine. They’re all about the food, equipment and the ins and outs of cooking, no commercialism.

One Sunday afternoon, I watched as they made Italian Pot Roast, hmmm, that looked pretty darn good, so I printed out the recipe and there it sat in my binder over the kitchen stove for 2 years.

The recipe calls for a cut of beef that I just couldn’t find here in the middle of the desert, chuck-eye roast, so I went for the always at the ready chuck-blade roast.

This is an easy enough recipe, the thing is, my pot roasts come out terrible! So I made no other alterations, and followed the instructions as set forth:

*This is my adaptation from Cook’s Country TV*

3 ½ to 4 pound chuck roast

2 Tbsp. Oil (olive or canola or vegetable, no matter)

1 medium Onion, chopped

1 rib of Celery, chopped

1 lb. Crimini Mushrooms, quartered

2 Tbsp. Tomato paste

1 15oz. can diced Tomatoes (I use no salt-added)

½ C. Tomato sauce (any kind will do)

2 tsp. sugar

½ C. water

1 C. light, sweet, Red Wine such as a beaujolais or merlot (it doesn’t need to be expensive, I got Trader Joe’s merlot for $3.99 and it taste good too)

1 head of garlic, paper skin removed & cut horizontally

½ tsp. each dried Thyme and Rosemary (recipe calls for a sprig, but I only had dried)

Italian Pot Roast, the cast members

Preheat the oven to 300⁰

Pat the meat dry and season with S&P

In a large dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat, just until you see a wisp of smoke. Brown the meat on all sides and set aside on a plate.

Lower the heat to medium and sauté the onion, celery mushrooms and paste, just until the veg is barely tender. Add in the canned tomatoes, sauce, sugar, water and ½ cup of wine, garlic and thyme; stir well and added back in the meat with all of the juices.

Bring everything to a simmer over medium-high heat. Cover the pot tightly with tin foil and then the lid, put the pot into the oven to cook until the meat is fork tender, maybe 2 ½ to 3 ½ hours, turning the meat over in the pot after 1 hour.

leave the meat to rest IN THE POT that was my mistake until now

When done, remove the lid and foil and leave the meat in the juices to rest for 30 minutes, skimming any fat off after about 20 minutes. Transfer the meat to a cutting board and tent with more foil. Remove the garlic head and set aside.

Add the remaining ½ cup of wine to the pot and bring to a boil of medium-high heat on the stove top and cook until the sauce starts to thicken, about 10-15 minutes. Squeeze the now soft garlic cloves out of the papers on a plate and mash to a paste; add the rosemary and garlic to the pot and stir until fragrant.


Italian Pot Roast

It was wonderful with roasted potatoes and veggies!

the finished product on the table

Here’s something that I learned: you know those cans of tomato paste that never get used up in one recipe?  I put the rest of the can into freezer zip bags in tablespoon portions and freeze it for later.  Why pay the big bucks for the stuff in a tub?

call me cheap, I freeze tomato paste from the can



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