Serious Eats: Recipes

Cook the Book: Perfect Pot Roast

"All of a sudden my house smelled more like my grandmother's house than my own."

Chuck roast. [Flickr: joshbousel]

20091026thepioneerwomancooks.jpgThere are so many things that I love about fall—the crisp air, pulling on that first wool sweater, smelling smoke that is from a chimney (not a barbecue). But my favorite thing about the fall is that it marks my official return to the kitchen. I keep my stove and oven use to a minimum in the summer but when the weather gets cold I can fire up all of the burners and not worry about turing my kitchen into a mini inferno. In other words, let the braising begin...

This Perfect Pot Roast from The Pioneer Woman Cooks by Ree Drummond was my first foray into the world of slow and low cooking this season.

My usual braises are typically more complicated affairs but this one was a cinch—just salt, slice, sear, and stick it in the oven. Against my better judgment I followed Drummond's advice. I didn't poke or prod the roast at all during the cooking time. I let it cook for the entire four hours without even a glance into the pot.

An hour went by and I waited for the meaty and braise-y aromas to start emanating from my oven. Sometime during the second hour, it happened. That warm smell that only occurs when you just do happen to have a very large piece of meat slowly releasing it's flavorful juices in your kitchen. All of a sudden my house smelled more like my grandmother's house than my own, and it was then that I knew: this was truly a perfect pot roast.

This was one of those dishes that I didn't even have to taste to know it was spot on. It emerged from the oven looking like it could grace the cover of any fall issue of a cooking magazine—and it smelled like fall. The next logical steps were to mash some potatoes and break out the flannel sheets.

As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of The Pioneer Woman Cooks to give away this week.

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