Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Beef Pot Roast

Pot roasts.  Gloriously, flavourful, delicious, falling apart beef gorgeousness.  Are you with me yet?

Is it pretty?  Not really unless you love hunks of meat (sorry veggies, sometimes I do, everything in moderation).  Does it taste great?  Absolutely.

I have to get my disclaimer in first.  There is no making a pot roast for one.  There, I've said it.  So why am I posting this recipe?  Well despite the fact I made this in my weeny household, I did seriously cook 1kg of beef and it was so blooming tasty I certainly didn't mind eating leftovers for a few days but see tips towards the end for more on that.

Pot Roast - Serves 4+


1kg, 2.2lb Pot roast joint (rolled brisket)
60g, 2oz Butter
3 Shallots
2 Carrots
400ml, 3/4 pint Ale (bitter, IPA, stout, all of these would be good.  Not lager!)
200ml, 7 fl oz Beef stock
2 bay leaves
A few sprigs of thyme
A few sprigs of parsley
5 cloves of garlic, skin left on and simply halved
1 tbsp cornflour / cornstarch


Heat half of the butter in a frying pan and fry the chopped onions and chopped carrots until starting to brown.  Put into a slow cooker with the garlic, bay leaves and herbs.  Deglaze the frying pan using the stock (i.e. pour the stock in and get up any browned bits as they add to the flavour, then pour into the slow cooker.)

Heat the remaining half of the butter in a non stick frying pan and brown the beef joint all over.  This browning process adds flavour so don't skip it.  Add the beef joint to the slow cooker then deglaze the pan again with the beer getting the beer bubbling before pouring into the slow cooker.

The amount of liquid in the slow cooker will be below the level of the top of the meat.  That's how it should be.

Cook on high for 2 hours then low for a further 2 hours or until the beef is really tender.  My slow cooker is quite hot so don't worry if it takes a little longer or you can intentionally cook it for longer by cooking on a low setting for the whole time.  I normally give it a bit of a turn over at some point if I remember.

When the beef is ready, take out of the slow cooker and leave to rest while covered.  Strain the gravy into a saucepan discarding the vegetables and herbs and thicken by mixing the cornflour in a cup first with cold water to make a thin paste, then whisking the paste in gradually to the boiling gravy, bring back to the boil and it will thicken.  Add more cornflour paste until it is the consistency you want.

Serve with fresh vegetables.

Why is brisket great?  Well brisket is a cut of beef from the chest near the top of the forelegs of cattle.  It is the part of the animal which does a lot of work meaning it tends to be tough but more work also means more flavour.  What's great as well is pot roasting means that the joint doesn't shrink alarmingly like a piece of roasted beef can.  The fact it's so tender too makes it a big hit with kids.

What about leftovers?  Well you can simply cut up the beef, cover in gravy and store in the freezer ready to reheat at a later date.  I also found the leftover sliced beef was great in a wrap with salad, some grated cheese and some serious chilli sauce (don't judge me!)


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