A pot roast is a thing of beauty. Flavorful, filling, comforting. It’s the sort of thing to make just for you and enjoy leftovers for days, or to present to friends and family for dinner. Chances are they’ll eat seconds, and ask for the recipe. The star of our classic pot roast recipe is a reliable and affordable staple: bottom round roast. It comes from the leg, so it’s a lean, well-used muscle. But it has a little fat cap, which means it has good flavor. When you roast it with the most basic fridge and pantry items — carrots, celery, potatoes, onions, stock, vinegar – you wind up with something that’s anything but basic.
Classic Pot Roast With Bottom Round
Yield 6 servings
Time 5 to 6 hours
1 bottom round roast, approximately 3 pounds
2 red onions, peeled and quartered
4 large carrots, roughly chopped
6 stalks of celery, roughly chopped
2 pounds small fingerling or new potatoes
12 cloves of garlic, peeled
1 tablespoon fresh horseradish, minced (note: if using jarred horseradish, use less vinegar, or substitute fresh ginger)
5 to 6 sprigs fresh thyme and 1 to 2 sprigs fresh rosemary, tied in bundle
1 small handful whole black peppercorns
½ cup white wine vinegar
½ cup apple cider vinegar
¼ cup soy sauce
2 32-ounce cartons of chicken or beef stock
1 tablespoon cooking oil
1. If cooking in the oven, preheat to 325 degrees. If using a slow cooker, preheat on “low” setting. Then salt the roast on all sides and leave to sit at room temperature for 20 minutes.
2. In a large Dutch oven, the biggest you’ve got, heat the cooking oil over medium heat. Place the bottom round roast fat side down in the oil and sear each side of the roast 4 to 5 minutes, until a good brown crust is formed. Once all sides of the roast are seared, remove from the pan and set aside, or place directly in slow cooker if that’s what you’re using.
3. Turn the heat down to medium, add onions to the pan, lightly salt, then let them cook in the oil and rendered beef fat, about 5 minutes, until a good brown color starts to show. Add carrots and celery; allow to cook 4 to 5 minutes, until lightly colored. Add garlic cloves, cook until lightly colored. Add horseradish, cook until fragrant, about a minute and a half. Add potatoes, stir them around to get a good coating of fat on them. Add peppercorns and herbs, stir in and let cook until fragrant (the fresh thyme will sound like it’s popping). If you’re using dried herbs, wait to add them after adding the liquids.
4. Deglaze the pan with the white wine vinegar, let it cook down, then add the cider vinegar, and let that cook down. Then, add the soy sauce and bring to a boil.
5. If using a Dutch oven:
-Add enough stock to just cover the roast.
-Bring back to a boil, cover, and place in the oven for 3 and a half to 4 hours, until fork tender. You can check halfway through to make sure you have enough liquid.
If using a slow cooker:
-Transfer the vegetables to the slow cooker, being sure to scrape the pan for all the good bits at the bottom.
-Add enough stock to almost cover the bottom round roast, cover the slow cooker and cook on “low” overnight or on “high” for 4 and a half to 5 hours, until fork tender. You can check halfway through to make sure you have enough liquid.