Cooking a pot roast on top of the stove is a bit untraditional in my neck of the woods. I am sure there are plenty of people out there who have been cooking pot roast on top of the stove their whole lives. But my Mom always makes her pot roast in the oven. And it is delicious. The pot roast that I am using for this recipe is the traditional chuck shoulder roast. This particular cut is from the rib end and has a little bit of chuck eye in it. This cut of chuck shoulder is the best for this particular cooking style, as it is inherently more tender than the other chuck shoulder cuts. A chuck eye can make a pretty decent steak on its own if it's cooked right. If you get a chuck roast from a little bit farther up, it will be good too. You just may have to cook it for a bit longer. The underblade makes a really good chuck roast, too. It looks a bit like a long rectangle and is usually well-marbled. The butcher is unlikely to sell you just the underblade on its own, but if you get a chuck roast with a larger piece of it, that will be a nice substitute if you are unable to get a cut from the chuck eye end.
1. The ingredients for a simple, classic pot roast. Over the years I have found that it's best to cook the potatoes separately from the meat and the other vegetables, to prevent them getting mushy. So for this pot roast recipe I am using just mirepoix, garlic, and thyme. Also, since we are doing the pot roast on the stove top, we will be using almost three times the amount of liquid I would normally use. The liquid in this case being 2 cups of some very precious homemade chicken stock.
2. Brown the chuck roast on both sides in butter. Season the chuck roast with salt and pepper before browning it. Heat up the skillet or braising pan over medium heat for a couple minutes. Add the butter and stir to melt. Then lay the chuck roast down flat in the pan and let it cook for about 5 minutes. You want to get a nice deep brown color on each side. Once achieved, remove the meat and set aside for a moment. Put the onions and celery in the bottom of the pan and lay the beef on top. Add the carrots, parsnips, garlic, and thyme. Finally, pour the stock in and put the lid on.
3. Simmer the pot roast for the next 2 hours. As the pot roast cooks for the first 30 minutes, keep your eye on it. If the boil gets too rapid, turn it down a little. If the lid doesn't make a good seal, add a sheet of aluminum foil over the top of the pan. After 2 hours, use a fork to see if the meat is tender. It should pull apart with just a little pressure. When it's done, remove the meat and vegetables to a platter. Reduce the liquid in the pan until it's thick, or add a roux to thicken it. At my house I serve my pot roast with ketchup and sriracha. Consider the hot sauce; it's a good addition.
Cast iron, whether enameled or not, is the best dish for cooking pot roasts in the oven or on the stove.
A friend of mine told me that in his family they put Jerusalem artichokes in their pot roast. I haven't tried it yet. But he swears it's good.
In my mind, this recipe is good because the pot roasts ends up tasting like meat. All of these ingredients are here in a supporting role. The meat is the main attraction. If you prefer your meat to not taste so much of meat, you will find this recipe lacking. Try my Bison Pot Roast recipe instead.