Jacques Pepin’s Pot Roast Followed by Egg Dish #3

I have the third installment of my egg series to post later today, and since it requires a lot of last minute monitoring, I needed a main dish that I could didn’t need to babysit.  What’s more effortless than an oven-braised dish?  It was time for some beef after days of chicken and pork dishes.

I turned to my old pal Jacques Pepin.  I loved watching him cook– on his own shows as well as with Julia Child.  I imagine him to be a very funny, friendly dude, and his dishes were ones that I knew I could make at home.  I use his recipe from his book with Julia titled “Cooking at Home.”  His pot roast dish is unique because the braising liquid consists of white instead of red wine, resulting in a completely different pot roast– lighter, fresher, yet still rich in flavor.

I veer slightly from his recipe ingredient list; I have always substituted potatoes for turnips (yuck).  I also cannot get bottom round roast at Wegman’s, but the butcher recommended top round over eye, so that’s what I buy.  I now use frozen white onions instead of the little white cooking onions (I hate blanching and peeling those suckers) and canned tomatoes instead of fresh during the winter.

The flavor of this dish relies heavily on a good browning of the roast before it goes into the oven.  Say 15 minutes or more.  Once you’re done browning, you assemble the roast and braising ingredients into a large Dutch oven (I love my Le Creuset pots), clamp on the lid and let the roast slow cook in the oven FOR HOURS.  Once the meat is tender, you add the remaining vegetables and continue cooking til they’re tender.  I serve the roast with a crusty baguette, but you can serve it as is, without accompaniment.

Pot Roast Braised in White Wine (adapted from Jacques Pepin in Cooking at Home)

  • 5 lb beef bottom round roast (I can never find this; the butcher told me I could use top round instead, but never eye round)
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 2 TB olive oil
  • 2 c onions, roughly chopped
  • 1 1/2 c canned chopped tomatoes (or 1 large fresh, chopped)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme (or 1 tsp dried)
  • 1 1/2 c white wine
  • 1 1/2 lbs potatoes (I use the small white ones)
  • 1 bag frozen pearl/boiling onions
  • 1 lb baby carrots
  • 1 1/2 c frozen baby peas

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.  Prep the braising ingredients: onions, tomatoes, bay, thyme and wine.  Season the roast with the salt and pepper.

Yes, dry the meat off so that it will brown well!

Yes, dry the meat off so that it will brown well!

Over high heat, coat the bottom of a large Dutch oven with oil (just a film).  When the oil is hot, add the seasoned roast and sear about three minutes on each side.  You want the roast to be well browned, with fond developing on the bottom of the pan.

Brown = Flavor

Brown = Flavor

Spoon out any excess oil, and add the braising ingredients.  Stir well, scraping up the bits of fond, and bring the liquid to a boil.

Surround the roast with the braising ingredients

Surround the roast with the braising ingredients

Clamp on a lid and place the pot into the preheated oven.  Let braise for 3 to 4 hours until meat is tender.

This was after four hours

This was after four hours

Add the carrots, onions and potatoes and cook another hour in the oven until they are tender, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.   In the last half hour, add the peas.

Try to nestle these down into the pot, around the roast

Try to nestle these down into the pot, around the roast

Remove roast to a platter (I never bother to slice the roast ahead of time), cover with foil and then a couple of dish towels,  Thicken the sauce with a slurry of cornstarch and water (I used about 3 TB of cornstarch and 3 TB water– just make up a lot and add it by the tablespoon until you get the consistency you want).  Jacques recommends potato starch, but I’m not buying a box just for pot roast.

From braising liquid to sauce

From braising liquid to sauce

Unwrap the roast and surround with the gravy and vegetables.

A homey platter of pot roast

A homey platter of pot roast

Perfect dish for a winter day.

Thanks, Jacques!

Thanks, Jacques!

Next post – “The Egg – Part 3 of 3.”



Filed under Family, Food, Main Dishes

6 responses to “Jacques Pepin’s Pot Roast Followed by Egg Dish #3

  1. Janice

    Looks yummy – and I like the idea of white wine – I can’t have red so this could be a good one to put in my arsenal. Pls invite me for dinner the next time this is cooking at your house ha ha

    • Kurt was the first to make this recipe (a long time ago) and we all like it so much better than the red wine braise, which can be overpowering. Maybe I will make for Mommy Dinner Night…along with the souffles!

    • Thanks, it is! I jumped over to look at your blog– definitely going to dig in deeper because you use a charcoal grill (I’m afraid of gas grills, but not of red-hot coals). I stopped grilling once my husband bought a gas grill, but now I may go out and get an old Weber this summer!

  2. Pingback: Va te faire cuire un œuf ! | One quality, the finest.

  3. Pingback: Simple and Easy Pot Roast | Simply Sophisticated Cooking

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