A review of Alton Brown's newest and "final" pot roast recipe. After his original recipe was panned by many online reviewers, he reloaded it and came up with a new one featuring Herbs de Provence and pearl onions and omitting the raisins! Was it any better?
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Check out all of our Good Eats Reloaded recipe reviews.
Searching the internet, you could easily find thousands and thousands of pot roast recipes.
Many of them are the same. And they make the same mistake - cook all the veggies the whole time with the meat. Yes it may be convenient but you aren't doing a favor to the veggies. They will without a doubt being overcooked.
That is why I love Alton Brown's pot roast recipe. He calls for the equal treatment of his veggies so they they are live up to their maximum potential. While the meat is important, the veggies are an integral part of the pot roast experience.
This review recipe is for his new recipe (his "Final Pot Roast") that doesn't involve olives and raisins. Those ingredients were in his original recipe. A lot of people didn't think belonged in pot roast. For the record, the raisins and olives were pureed in the end, so you weren't eating chunks of raisins along with your meat - that would certainly be weird.
Here is what you will need to make this recipe.
- Boneless chuck roast
- Kosher salt
- Oil or ghee
- Button mushrooms
- Pearl onions
- Herbs de Provence
- Black pepper
- Tomato juice
- Vinegar (calls for red wine)
- Baby potatoes
Pretty easy to find ingredients. Most produce sections will have pearl onions. They either come in a bag or in a plastic clamshell container. Melissa's Produce has them in yellow, red, or white onions. Or you can do as Alton did and just get frozen. The most wonderful thing about pearl onions is that you don't need to chop them up. Just throw them in a whole. No tears that way.
Herbs de Provence is a collection of dried herbs. Popular in French cooking. The herbs that are used included some if not all of rosemary, thyme, marjoram, savory, or oregano. Lavender is sometimes included as well but that seems to be more of a North American thing than a French thing.
Frozen pearl onions -> The store I went to only had fresh. That's totally fine of course, use what you can find.
Herbs de Provence -> If you don't have any Herbs de Provence, then use whatever dried herbs that you already have on hand such as thyme, oregano, rosemary, or marjoram.
Baby potatoes -> You can pick any small sized potatoes you find in the store. Most grocery stores carry them now in a wide arrange of colors.
Button mushrooms -> These are also called white mushrooms. You could sub in cremini or baby bella mushrooms if you like.
Red wine vinegar -> Use whatever vinegar you have on hand. Red wine would be the best, but rice, apple cider, or white wine would work as well. You could try balsamic, it will bring a stronger flavor to the final dish, so that's up to you.
Tomato juice -> If you find yourself out of tomato juice but have tomato paste, you could thin out the paste to make juice.
Let's take you step by step on how I made this pot roast.
One thing I like about Alton's recipe is that he has you cut the roast into 4 pieces. Why? The best part of the pot roast is the browned meat. If you cut the meat you increase the surface area and thus you have more meat to brown.
The meat is then seasoned with 2 tablespoons of kosher salt. It may seem like a large amount but I found the meat to be perfectly seasoned in the end.
Brown the meat in a cast iron Dutch oven, the perfect vessels to brown the meat and cook it in. I am all for having less dirty dishes.
The key to brown the meat is patience. Don't crowd the pan. I did 2 pieces at a time and made sure to brown each side until it was browned well, not burned.
Pull the meat out and set aside. Then it's time to sear half of the veggies. The other have will be added later on. This will give you different contrasting textures as well as flavor your cooking liquid.
For this recipe, tomato juice is used along with some vinegar. Add those when the veggies are browned. At the start I thought the vinegar smell was strong thus it would be too much vinegar but in the end it certainly isn't strong, just a background note in the flavor of the pot roast.
Stir up the veggies and then add in the beef. Then the meat goes into a 250 degrees oven for 2 hours. Place the lid on the Dutch oven.
The low temperature will allow the meat to cook slowly and break down the connective tissue producing a tender pot roast.
After the 2 hours it's time to put in the 2nd half of the veggies and all of the baby potatoes. You will notice there is more liquid now in the pot that there was when you first put the pot in the oven.
When the meat is fork tender and the veggies are cooked, between 2-3 hours later, then pull it out of the oven. Strain all the veggies and meat from the pot and save the liquid.
What you are going to do now is reduce the liquid so it's closer to a sauce than a soup. But first you need to remove some fat. You can do this if you have a gravy separator pretty easily.
Without a gravy separator, place the liquid into a glass measuring cup. Place it in the back of the fridge or even in the freezer once it has cooled some at room temperature (you don't want to heat up the content of your fridge or freezer too much). As the liquid cools the fat will rise to the stop or stick to the container.
Don't worry about getting every drop of fat. If you can get the majority of it you will be good.
Then return this liquid to the pan, bring to a boil, and reduce it until it's thicker, about 25% of it's previous volume.
The leftovers of this pot roast will be fantastic. In fact, Alton recommends you don't eat the roast until you refrigerate it. How come? As the meat chills the fibers in it can re-absorb the liquid lost during cooking. Thus more flavor. When you re-heat it, the flavor will remain as long as your not cooking it again.
Alton recommends placing the roast back in the oven at 350 degrees for 45-60 minutes until warm enough. But if you don't want to re-heat all of it again or you are not that patient, then you can re-heat what you want to eat in the microwave. I still find it's better than it was the day I made it.
🍴 More Alton Recipes
I have reviewed plenty of Alton Brown recipes on the blog. Here are a few of my favorites.
Make either of these rolls to go with your pot roast.
Alton's Herbs de Provence Pot Roast
- Cast Iron Dutch Oven
- Gravy Separator
- 3.5 lbs Boneless chuck roast
- 2+ tablespoons kosher salt divided
- 2 tablespoons high heat cooking oil or ghee
- 8 ounces white button mushrooms cut in half
- 15 ounces carrots peeled and chopped into 1-inch pieces
- 14 ounces pearl onions fresh or frozen
- 6 cloves garlic chopped
- 1 ½ tsp Herbs de Provence
- 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup tomato juice low sodium if you can find it
- ⅓ cup red wine vinegar
- 15 ounces baby potatoes
- Begin by preheating your oven to 250 degrees.
- Place your roast onto a cutting board and cut into 4 pieces. Season all the meat with 2 tablespoons worth of kosher salt.
- Place a pot over high heat with 2 tablespoons of oil or ghee. Place 2 pieces of meat into the pan. Brown on one side, and then turn to the next side until all 4 sides of each piece are browned. Repeat with the other two pieces then set the meat aside.
- Add to the pan half of the carrots and half of the mushrooms. Season with kosher salt. Cook for 2 minutes, then add all the garlic, half the pearl onions, black pepper, and Herbs de provence. Cook for another 2-3 minutes until you can smell the garlic.
- Stir in the tomato juice and vinegar. Scrap the sides and bottom of the pot to get any brown bites stuck to it. Cook for 3-5 minutes or until the liquid has reduced in half. Now add in the beef.
- Put the lid on the pot and carefully place in the oven for 2 hours.
- Then remove the pot carefully from the oven. Take off the lid and add in the rest of the carrots, pearl onions and mushrooms along with all the potatoes.
- Return to the oven and cook for another 2-3 hours or until the potatoes are cooked and the meat is fork tender.
- Strain the meat and veggies out, keeping all the liquid.
- Pour the liquid in a gravy separator or into a glass measuring cup. Allow to chill until the fat starts to separate. You can place it in the fridge to help it chill faster once the liquid is no longer hot.
- Now you are going to add the liquid back to the pan. Remove the fat from the top of the measuring cup or pour the liquid out of the gravy separator making sure no fat comes out. Bring the liquid to a boil. Reduce by 25%. The liquid should be more of a sauce than a soup at this point. Add back in the meat and veggies.
- Eat right away or refrigerate overnight and then reheat. Leftovers will be better the next day.