When I was teaching a Passover Cooking Class last week I realized how even the simplest of tips can push your pot roast from just okay (or even barely edible) to excellent. Take a look at this video I did a couple years ago for The Jewish Federation to get an idea of how easy it really is. Hint: It’s all about the vinegar-sugar combo. And of course, check out the recipe.
Evan’s Pot Roast
4 lbs boneless chuck in one or two big pieces
Sugar for dredging
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup Sherry Vinegar
1 juicy orange
2 cups fresh cranberries or “Mediterranean” Apricots or Pitted Dates, or Pitted Prunes
2 onions, peeled and sliced (optional)
2 – 4 peeled garlic cloves
1 cup tomato sauce (optional)
Preheat oven to 375°.
Heat heavy ovenproof casserole over high heat. Place sugar on plate. Dredge meat in sugar on all sides. When oil is hot add meat to pan in one layer. Allow the meat to deeply caramelize to a dark brown, turning it as necessary with tongs to allow browning everywhere.
When the meat is browned add the vinegar to the pan and deglaze, scraping underneath the meat to get at the dark bits. Remove from heat.
Squeeze the juice from the orange onto the meat and throw in the squeezed halves for flavor (I like to rip the peel into pieces). Add the garlic cloves, salt and pepper to taste and the cranberries or dried fruit. If you want a more traditional eastern European flavor add the optional onions and tomato sauce. Cover pot, place in 375° oven and cook meat for a minimum of 2 hours or until fork tender.
If you have a lot of thin cooking juices after 1 ½ hours then remove the lid to the pan and let the pot roast cook uncovered so juices reduce as the meat finishes cooking.