The first time I was married, a thousand years ago, I wanted nothing more (well, in the kitchen, anyway) than to be good at cooking meat. My basic grasp of egged, breaded chicken slivers was well enough to pass muster, but I so routinely violated the broiled steak (wtf is up with that process, anyway) that I probably should have been arrested for abuse. Or deliberately-attempted food poisoning. I was, as I recall, especially gifted at decimating the pot roast. People would smile and nod, and then discreetly wipe the shoe leather into their napkins or the dog’s dish.
Fast-forward twenty years, and I’ve finally got a handle on things. As I now have a freezer full of Gertie, and no job, I have gotten creative in serving her up.
Gertie’s Best Pot Roast
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 2-3 medium elk back strap pieces, OR 1 medium beef Pot Roast
- 1 small, white onion
- 2 cups baby carrots, cut in half
- 3 celery stalks, chopped into crescents
- 1-2 tbsp minced garlic
- 2 tbsp rustic / hot mustard (optional)
- 8 oz beer (porter or stout)
- 3 cups beef (or vegetable) broth
- Garlic powder
- Parmesan cheese
- Want a kick? 2 tsp chili pepper
I use a laminated, cast iron Dutch oven. Place on burner on medium-high and add olive oil.
Meantime, rinse the meat and towel dry. I like to add each dry rub item individually and rub them in – you can use a gallon ziplock bag as well.
Rub in an equal portion of salt, sugar, pepper, basil, Parmesan cheese, and chili powder (if desired) to each side of the meat. I like to beat it up a little bit while I do this – it’s great stress relief and I’m convinced that it adds to the flavor.
Sear the meat on all sides in the hot oil, about 3 minutes on each side. The sugar and the cheese will do a happy dance and create a crispy, caramalized crust.
Set the meat aside to rest, once seared. In the same hot Dutch oven, reduce heat to medium, and add your onion. I like to add the onion alone initially, and push it around with a spatula as it softens to gather the crunchy meat leftovers from the bottom. FLAVOR YOU GUYS. If you don’t have a high-heat spatula, I’d recommend picking one up. Once onion is soft and starting to brown, toss in your carrots, chopped celery, and garlic. Cook all the veggies together until soft, about 5-7 minutes.
Once all the veggies are soft and happy, sprinkle your flour in, and folding it gently. Push everything around with your awesome new spatula until thickened, about 3 minutes. Note: at this point, I would add a nice scoop of yummy spicy brown mustard. It acts as a thickener and adds a nice flavor kick. Unfortunately, my husband hates mustard, and will taste that one nice scoop, and will then refuse to eat the entire dish. But if you like mustard, DO IT.
Now you get to add your beer! Hooray! Pour in 8 oz of a 12 oz can. I recommend a nice local lager or your favorite stout, and please, for everyone’s sake, do not use an IPA. You may also be tempted to fly by the seat of your pants and substitute red wine, which is fine, but doesn’t have the same carbonated kick of the beer. Trust me on this.
While you’re finishing off that remaining 4 oz of beer, stir your veggie-beer mix. It should look about like this.
Yum. Bring up to temp, and then add 3 cups of beef broth. I try to make my own, but who has time for that pretentious bullshit? Any beef broth will do.
Bring your soupy broth to a gentle boil, then remove from heat. Add the seared meat to the pan, making sure to cover it on all sides in deliciousness. Cover with lid, and place in 335 degree oven for 3-4 hours.
I say 335 because that’s my oven, which runs a little hot. 325 is too low, and 350 is too high, so find your sweet spot.
Check on your meat every 30 minutes or so. I turn and poke with a fork until the meat is fork-tender. You’ll know it’s done when it pulls apart easily. If you’d like, add 1 cup additional beef broth to add to that yummy gravy.
I serve this over mashed potatoes or baked potatoes, and almost *always* with The Perfect Rolls. Do your family and friends a favor. Trust me.