Thursday, April 01, 2010

Beef Pot Roast

Oh my toe-curling god, am I ever loving my pressure cooker right now. Pot roast, in an hour (well, 90 minutes counting prep). Are you fucking kidding me?

Believe it or not, I am still somewhat a n00b when it comes to preparing hunks of beast. I've only been cooking meat for about 6 or 7 years, and although I can really do some damage with slow-cooking in dry heat (I mean, who can't put a big chunk of meat in a 200 degree oven for 4 hours?), wet heat always fucks me up. It always hits a boil and turns to leather. Enter the pressure cooker: it's going to boil anyways, so why not let 15 pounds psi pulverize that connective tissue until it's butter?

The thing is, I only have a giant 23-qt pressure cooker that I bought for canning. It's a beast (the other kind), and I've used it for cooking only a couple of times - giant vats of beans in most cases - and it's a real bitch to get clean after that. This one's just not meant for everyday household use. So I came up with this neat trick that allows me to cook a 2 person-sized dinner in an army-sized pressure cooker. I make a sort of double-boiler by filling the large crock with a few inches of water, into which I insert a smaller pot that contains dinner. Works a dream.


So the rundown: I hit a 2lb chuck roast with a bunch of freshly-ground pepper and kosher salt, then browned it on all sides. Remove the roast, add two cups of mirepoix (1 part onion to half parts celery and carrot) and a bay leaf and thyme, saute until the veg is browned and the moisture from it deglazes the pot. I didn't have any beef stock so I added some homemade chicken stock (brown, from last week's roasted chicken) with a spoonful of beef bouillon paste, a glug of red wine, and a few squirts of Worcestershire sauce (I added enough to cover the roast). Put the whole shebang into the pressure cooker and let the flame rip. Once it hit my desired pressure (between 10 and 15 psi is my safety zone), I turned down the heat to around medium-low to keep it there. After an hour, I turned off the burner and got the side dishes ready while the pressure cooker wound itself down.

Simple sides are best for pot roast, and mine were boiled new potatoes and some mustard-glazed carrots and Brussels sprouts (glaze: spoonful of stout mustard, a few pinches of mustard seed, a scant spoonful of sugar and a knob of butter, add a splash of water to combine everything then let it reduce back down). When the pressure cooker simmered down enough to remove the lid without garnering third-degree steam burns, I pulled out the pot of roast and strained the jus into a hot pan to reduce. I whisked in a flour slurry and let it simmer into a rich gravy.

Serve with a nice Pinot Noir (hey, it's springtime - no need to go too big) and enough soft wheat rolls as needed to sop up all that gravy. Yes, all of it.

16 comments:

Peter M said...

Heather...that juicy, flaky meat has given me a chub! Pressure cookers are are fab time saver and very safe these days.

Choosy Beggar Tina said...

Awesome idea with the pot-in-pot method! I'm keening for a pressure cooker, but they also scare the bejeezus out of me.

Lo said...

Completely drooling over that fork tender beast. And the brussels sprouts aren't looking half bad either. It definitely has me contemplating a pressure cooker. What can't they do? They cook. They can. Do they do the dishes??

Cooking Rookie said...

Looks very delicious - so juicy and tender. I tried making a similar dish in a slow cooker today, and it turned out absolutely dry, not to mention that it took hours. I need to try pressure cooker instead!

Bellini Valli said...

It looks like now I also need a pressure cooker..your melt in your mouth beast has convinced me.

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

That looks fabulous and so good! A great idea...

Cheers,

Rosa

Foodycat said...

Look at that meat! Superb! I've never used a pressure cooker, they scare me.

Rachel said...

OK nothing is better than slowly cooked meat. Nothing. Delicious.

I'd love it if you would check out and follow my blog! It's titled "Peasant Girl". It's my journey exploring the way American women value food and how we can be better served by a more traditional approach to eating and meals.

http://thepeasantgirl.blogspot.com

Rachel

Crepes of Wrath said...

I'm going out to a well known roast beef sandwich place tonight, and thank goodness, because I'm craving something hearty and delicious after looking at this wonderful pictures and reading the description!

Manggy said...

Wouldn't it be funny if you found the inner pot had been beaten to a pulp? (Okay, maybe not that funny :) I actually just made a kalbi today - boiled for 3.5 hours. Thank heavens for the electric stovetop :) We have a pressure cooker but it doesn't see much play :( Looking at your lovely roast I'm inspired to change that!

Mark @ Cafe Campana said...

Great looking dinner. Pot roasts are great all the flavour of the meat is infused in the vegies. Yum

Hunter Angler Gardener Cook said...

Looks very English, yet somehow very tasty. Nice jury-rig on the pressure cooker!

Ken Albala said...

This looks absolutely incredible. I've never used or even seen used a pressure cooker. This may be the first time I've ever had pc envy.

Laurel said...

This recipe is no joke. I ordered a pressure cooker (hey, it can do double duty when it's canning time)and took a roast out of the freezer to defrost. But the damned pressure cooker didn't come in time and I had to cook the roast and...so I did it in a slow cooker instead, which misses the point entirely. The point is...the recipe is fantastic anyway. It was tender like a meatloaf. I love this blog. Thank you, thank you.

Tori said...

Thanks for posting this recipe. It sounds amazing! Pot Roast and a hearty side dish is my favorite type of meal. When making pot roasts for dinner, I would recommend trying grass fed Black Angus beef. It is absolutely delicious and a healthier option. I work with La Cense Beef and because our beef is 100% grass fed it is higher in omega 3 acids and lower in calorie and fat as opposed to traditional grain fed beef. Try grass fed Black Angus Beef and you will be able to taste an even bigger difference!

elle pee said...

Your fantastic idea is called "pan-in-pot" cooking method. Though, most of us who pressure cook have a measly 6qt pan with something much smaller inside.

Thank you for sharing your recipe...it looks delicious!

http://www.hippressurecooking.com/