This Pot Roast Is Your God, Now
It’s time for turkey to eat a bag of ducks.
Oh. Dicks. Dicks.
Thanksgiving is over. Kaput. Time lurched forward this year with the speed and grace of a fast-running zombie rather than a slow shambly one, and as such, the Turkeypocalypse (in which many turkeys are summarily slaughtered and ascend to their final resting realm of Gobblheim) is over.
We’re done with turkey. Till next year, gobblers. Sayonara, you big fat dummies.
It’s time to move on. Time to put that holiday behind us. Time to put away childish things.
NOW IS THE TIME FOR POT ROAST.
For a long time I didn’t “get” pot roast. I mean, I understood its nature — it is a roast of meat that you cook inside a pot. I’m not mule-kicked. I grokked the core concept. But every time I did a pot roast it came out tough or dry or it lurched out of the pot and tried to bite off my face (though there I admit I misunderstood the concept as a piranha roast, which is apparently a whole different thing that nobody ever does). I used to do it in the crockpot and the fact that it came out dry puzzled me — how can something bathed in meaty juices come out dry? (Answers: cooked too long, wrong cut of meat, crockpot too hot…)
But I have since perfected the pot roast. I mean that. It is perfect. It is a shining example of meatliness. It is the Platonic ideal — a pot roast that can comfortably be placed upon the altar and given to the god of your choice as a gift without fear of being smited or smoted or… whatever the word is.
The great thing about this pot roast is, for a family of, say, three, you get to eat it for three whole days. The pot roast continues to feed you. It’s like self-replicating manna! The perfect food.
Get yourself a big slab of chuck roast. Three to five pounds.
Take your magma-cube (aka “oven”) up to 275F.
It’s time now to punish some vegetables for being vegetables and not being meat. Take two onions, four carrots and two stalks of celery. Cut the onion into rough pieces. Peel the carrots and chop them into two-inch lengths. Cut the celery into smaller slices — quarter-inch. Sure, fine, you can wash the vegetables first if you want, but I personally find that a little sprinkling of e.Coli does a body good.
Okay, it actually does a body bad. Apparently, wash your vegetables.
Now you want to take a heavy pot or a Dutch oven (HA HA HA DUTCH OVEN) and slap that motherfucker atop the fiery doom circle (aka stovetop) on medium. Splash into the pan a little squirty-squirt of olive oil. Once it warms up, pop the vegetables in there. (If you’re patient, you can do them in batches. Onions, carrots, then celery. Or you choose the order, I don’t give a fuck.) Get a little color on them. Scald them for their transgressions. This’ll maybe take you five, even eight minutes.
If you’re feeling sassy, cook some minced garlic in there too.
Whilst that is happening —
It is time to handle our meat.
Once again, not a masturbation euphemism. I am in fact troubled by how often you think I’m talking about masturbation and how often I see you ripping your pants off like a child freeing a Christmas present of its crinkly wrapping, but that is a discussion for another time.
For now, get out the chuck roast.
Wipe it down with a little olive oil.
Then coat it with a sprinkling of black pepper.
Then some garlic powder.
Then comes the salt. I don’t want you to be a coward with the salt. This is not the time for craven curs. I want you to salt the ever-living shit out of that pot roast. Lots of salt. On all sides. I mean, you should still be able to see meat beneath that salt, but trust me: salt is your friend. Except when it kills you by hardening your arteries and turning them into dead little twigs, but that’s later in life.
Veggies done? Good. Rescue them from danger.
Now it is the meat’s turn to suffer your wrath.
Brown it on all sides. Since the roast will most likely be in the shape of some kind of… drunken sludgey cube, you have roughly six sides that need a little color. Hurt it. Make it beg for mercy. Let its fat squeal and pop.
When each side is sufficiently browned — say, three to five minutes on each side — take it back out of the pot. Put it on a plate. Let it sit there and think about what it’s done to deserve this fate (a fate that, don’t tell the meat, ends in your belly). While that’s happening, it is time to deglaze the pan. Splash some red wine — no, not red wine vinegar, not broth, but motherfucking red wine, you goddamn teetotaler — into the still-hot pot and as it starts to bubble up, use a metal scrapery-thing (spatula, flipper, spoon, ice scraper, robot claw) to loosen all the charred meaty bits from the bottom of the pot. Now put the meat back in there. Listen to it shriek and blubber as you lower it back into the heat.
As the vegetables hang nearby, chuckling at the torment you visit upon the quivering block of meat, point at them and say, “YOU’RE NEXT,” and then cackle madly as you upend them over the roast.
Now, it’s time for fluids.
One-and-a-half cups of coffee, into the mix.
Then: one-and-a-half cups of beef stock. Or broth. Or some liquidy part of the cow as long as it’s not, say, urine. What’s wrong with you, trying to cook your roast in cow pee?
You’re lucky I still let you hang around here, mutant.
Here’s the only seasoning you need (since you salted the very soul out of that roast):
Herbs de Provence.
It’s my secret weapon in things like this. Any time I think I need rosemary and thyme, I instead think, “Well, let’s bring them and all their Frenchie friends to the goddamn party,” and I reach for the Herbs de Provence and then I take a swig of whiskey and a hit of acid and I wake up in Reno for the 57th time covered in greasepaint and blood. Then I haul my way back home to start it all over again.
Herbs — say, two generous pinches — atop the meat and veggies.
Cover the pot.
Shove it in the oven.
Roughly one hour per pound of the roast, though I sometimes tack on another five minutes per pound of the roast because my oven is a bit finicky that way. You do what your oven commands. Unless that oven commands you to like, feed it babies. That’s a defective oven. You learn that after two, three babies and it keeps wanting more, more, more. “MORE BABIES,” it roars with hot breath. Jerk.
When it’s done, take it out.
Should be fork tender. May even fall apart with gentle prodding, like a Girl Scout under intense Guantanamo interrogation. Now what do you do? Jesus Christ, do I have to tell you everything? You eat it. Preferably with your bare hands like some kind of feral hobo.
Though, should you choose to be civilized and incorporate it with a meal, it goes very nicely over mashed potatoes. And the vegetables are soft and lovely. Pillowy, I might say, were I the type of person to use the word “pillowy.” AND I AM.
The great thing is, this is three to five pounds of meat that you will not eat in a single sitting.
So, next day? Make sure to save all those sweet meat drippings in the fridge. Take it back out, once cold, and you can free it of its fatty crust. Into a smaller pot you make a roux (two to three TBsp of butter with equivalent amount of flour), let it golden up, then pour upon it the de-fatted drippings. Bring to a boil, stir till it thickens. Add, if you care, a bit more black pepper and then a splash of heavy cream and it will make the kind of gravy that will cause an angel to betray God and join Satan’s gravy-loving army.
Or: POT ROAST TACOS.
Or make a hat out of it.
I don’t give a shit. You do as you like.
All I know is, at the beginning of all this, the meat was your peon, your minion, your slave in earthly fealty. But by the end, the cosmic tables will have flipped. This pot roast is your god, now. Bow down and offer it praise. Consume its body as you would any avatar of the divine.
OM NOM NOM
IA IA POT ROAST FTHAGN