Today we’re going to make a fabulous post roast with Yorkshire pudding. This is NOT one of the Fast & Easy dishes. In fact, after preparation, the actual cook-time for this recipe is going to last at least four hours. So, if you’re in a hurry, this recipe will be best saved for another day.
6 Celery Stalks
3 Medium Onions
6 Cobs of Fresh Corn
10 Baby Portobello Mushrooms
8 Medium Red Potatoes
Four Cloves of Garlic
3 Cups of Beef stock
3 Tablespoons of Worcestershire Sauce
(or go here and learn how to make Tom Rummel’s amazing BESTESHIRE SAUCE
2 Tablespoons of Butter
Salt & Pepper
One Cup of All Purpose Flour
One cup of Milk
Three Large Eggs
¼ teaspoon of Salt
Large heavy Skillet (preferably, stainless steel) with a lid
Large, Deep Roasting Pan
Large Resting Platter
Heavy Duty Aluminum Foil
Medium Mixing Bowl
Wooden Spoon, Tongs and a Wisk
The key to a tender pot roast is time and temperature, and we’re going low and slow. It kitchen-speak, this cooking method is called a “braise.” The word “braise” comes from the French word, "braiser” and it’s is a combination-cooking method that uses both moist and dry heats. Typically, the food is first seared at a high temperature, then finished in a covered pot at a lower temperature while sitting in some kind of liquid, which may also add flavor. The best way to impart flavor into your roast is through the creation of a yummy mirepoix.
The word “mirepoix” (pronounced meer-PWAH) is another French word (of course it is!), which is used to describe diced vegetables (usually a mixture of onions, carrots, and celery) that are cooked for a long time on a low heat without color or browning, usually with butter or other fat or oil. The traditional ratio for mirepoix is two parts onions, one part carrots, and one part celery. Mirepoix is not to be confused with sautée, which is (of course) yet another French word, meaning "jumped” or “bounced," in reference to the way you toss the vegetables while cooking them in a small amount of oil or fat in a shallow pan over relatively high heat. Hey… bet you didn’t know you were going to learn a fabulous pot roast recipe AND to speak French… did you?
Making a mirepoix is an excellent opportunity to make good use of those wilting veggies that are rolling around in at bin in the bottom of your fridge. Since everything is getting chopped up and cooked down, the physical state of the vegetables isn’t important. So, as long as it isn’t moldy, go ahead and chop up those limp celery stalks and carrots and even that semi dried-up onion!
Okay, let’s talk about the cuts of beef you can use for a pot roast.
There are three basic cuts that are traditionally used for pot roast. Oddly enough, they are also the toughest cuts. But cooked properly – using the “low and slow” braising method -- the high amount of collagen in tough cuts will eventually break down into gelatin. That will tenderize the meat, making it moist and succulent while adding additional richness to the braising liquid, which we will eventually to turn it into a fabulous gravy!
Chuck: From the front portion of the animal; look for chuck roast, shoulder steak, boneless chuck roast, chuck shoulder pot roast, chuck seven-bone pot roast, or beef chuck arm. (This is the cut we will be using for this recipe).
Brisket: From the breast or lower chest with long strands of meat; the flat cut is leaner, and the point cut has more fat; brisket is best sliced against the grain of the meat for maximum tenderness.
Round: From the rear leg area of the animal; look for rump roast or bottom round.
Okay. Let’s get started.
The first thing you need to do is prepare your mies en place. Yep… another French cooking term!
As explained in the Fast & Easy Blog post for Brunswick Mineral Springs Bed & Breakfast, mise en place (French pronunciation: [mi zɑ̃ ˈplas] or [MEEZ ahn plahs]) is a French culinary phrase which means "putting in place" or "everything in its place." It refers to the set up required before cooking, like chopping, measuring, organizing and arranging the ingredients you’ll need to prepare your meal before you actually start cooking anything.
As each ingredient is prepared, place them into small bowls or ramekins so they will be organized and ready when you need them.
First, finely chop two carrots, three stalks of celery and one whole onion for your mirepoix. These will eventually cook down completely and dissolve to become one with your broth.
Cut the rest of your carrots, celery and onions into chunky pieces. Do the same with the potatoes.
Slice the garlic into thin slivers, cut the mushrooms in half and cut the corn cobs into 1-1/2” pieces. You can leave the sprigs of thyme as is so they will be easy to remove once the flavor has been imparted into your dish.
Let’s start cooking!
Pre-heat your oven to 200 degrees. Remember… Low and slow.
STEP 1: SEAR YOUR ROAST
Season the roast on all sides with salt and pepper. Heat a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat and add a little olive oil. Get a good sear on all sides of the beef. This sear will add tremendous flavor to your broth. Oh… and if the meat doesn’t sizzle enthusiastically when it hits the pan, it isn’t hot enough and you will wind up steaming your beef… and that is not a good thing.
Remove the seared beef from the skillet and set it aside on your resting platter.
STEP 2: THE MIREPOIX
Reduce the heat and add the chopped onions, celery and carrots into the drippings left behind from searing your roast, stirring frequently. The idea isn’t to brown the vegetables but to soften them and get the flavors moving. You will know it’s ready when your onions are translucent.
STEP 3: DEGLAZE THE SKILLET
Add one cup of your beef stock to the skillet, stirring and scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot with the wooden spoon. Why a wooden spoon? Well, among the ten reasons listed by The Reluctant Gourmet, they won’t scratch your copper, aluminum or stainless steel pots or change the flavor or color of your food.When these browned bits and veggies are dissolved into the beef broth they will come together to make magical flavors that will enrich the entire dish. Add the sprigs of thyme and garlic slivers and bring the stock to a simmer.
STEP 4: BRAISE THE ROAST
Return the seared roast to the skillet along with any juices and that may have collected on the platter. Add more beef stock to the skillet but not enough to cover the meat. Remember, you're braising your roast, not boiling it. Cover and slide into the oven… and leave it alone… for three hours.
THREE HOURS LATER:
Vegetable types cook at different speeds. So, to ensure that your celery doesn't turn to mush while leaving your potatoes raw in the middle, we will add the vegetables at intervals that will have everything cooked at the same time.
First, transfer everything to your deep roasting pan and add the carrots and celery. Add your three tablespoons of Worcestershire (or Besteshire) Sauce. Cover with heavy duty aluminum foil, raise the temperature to 300 degrees and cook for another fifteen minutes.
Start Your Yorkshire Pudding:
While Yorkshire Pudding is quite simple to make, you have to get it started 30 minutes before you want to serve your meal. If you’ve never heard of Yorkshire pudding, or have heard of it but never tried it… you are in for a treat. Yorkshire is an English food made from batter consisting of eggs, flour, and milk. For those who like stuffing or biscuits with your meal, this may very well become one of your new all-time favorite gravy-soppers!
In a medium bowl, whisk together your three large eggs, milk, flour and salt. Do not over mix the batter. It will be slightly lumpy. Allow the batter to rest at room temperature for at least 30 minutes.
While the batter is resting, add the rest of your vegetables to the roasting pan, arranged so they aren't crowded together. This will allow them to cook evenly. Re-cover and cook for an additional 20 minutes.
Remove the roast from the oven and leave covered.
Back to the Yorkshire Pudding.
Raise the oven temperature to 400 degrees.
Add a teaspoon of fat to each cup the muffin tin -- I use the country tradition of bacon grease, saved in a tin in my freezer for just such an occasion. Spoon a small amount of broth from your roasting pan into each muffin cup and place in the oven until the ingredients begin to sizzle. Fill the muffin cups about halfway, and return the muffin tin for 10 to 12 minutes.
MAKING THE GRAVY:
While your Yorkshire Pudding is baking, it's time to make the gravy.
Mix a couple of heaping tablespoons of corn starch into a cup of cold beef stock and mix until all lumps are gone. Strain the broth that has been steeped with flavor in the roasting pan for the past four hours to the large skillet and simmer until bubbly. Add the two tablespoons of butter and stir until incorporated thoroughly. Season with some salt and pepper to taste. Add the cornstarch mixture and stir until the broth begins to thicken. Remove from the heat. Transfer gravy to a serving vessel
By now, your Yorkshire Puddings should be have risen to glorious perfection. When they are golden brown and crisp on top, they are ready. Remove them from the cups and serve immediately as they will "deflate" very quickly.
Now, ladle with gravy and... ENJOY!