With no real plans to share this recipe here, I almost didn’t take a picture of our “big red pot” (what we call our beloved oval French oven from Le Creuset) prior to setting it on the supper table for my family. But then, at the last minute, I decided to snap a shot. Because maybe this would be the greatest meal ever…right?!
And you wouldn’t believe what a conversation piece this magnificent pot of beef turned out to be. Our youngest daughter couldn’t stop gushing about it. After nearly every other bite, Tessa would say, “This is the best thing you’ve ever made, Mom”. And then she’d ask for another helping. I know for a fact that that small-framed 5-year-old girl ate more than my 6′-7″ Blake did that evening.
This Hard Cider Pot Roast with Mushrooms, Carrots, and Onions is so incredibly tender, after braising away in the oven for a few hours, that all you need to do to serve it is simply break up the roast with the back of a wooden spoon. No cutting required. It just falls apart, all loose and juicy and tender. That silky texture is the stuff my supper table dreams are made of.
I have experimented a bit with cooking with hard cider, and this is far and away my favorite meal so far. When the cider is slow cooked with the beef and earthy mushrooms, plus carrots and onions, a most spectacular gravy results. It’s full of rich flavor…slightly creamy and just a bit tangy, with a little touch of warm cloves…utterly delicious. When a 5-year-old says it’s even better than her favorite mac and cheese, you just have to believe it’s one special meal.
- 3 to 3-1/2 lb. boneless beef chuck roast
- kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- olive oil
- 8 oz. medium-sized whole button mushrooms, halved
- 2 large onions, chopped
- 4 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1'' to 2'' pieces
- 1 tsp. dried thyme
- 1/8 tsp. ground cloves
- 1 bottle (12 oz.) hard cider (I really like "Crisp Apple" by Angry Orchard.)
- 1-1/2 c. low sodium beef broth
- 1 bay leaf
An hour before starting to cook, remove the roast from the refrigerator. Rinse it and pat it dry with paper towels. Place on a plate and sprinkle fairly generously all over with kosher salt and pepper. Let stand at room temperature.
Preheat oven to 350°. Coat the bottom of a 5 to 7-quart French oven with a thin film of olive oil and set the pot over medium-high heat. When the oil is shimmering, put meat in the pot and let it cook, without moving it, until it is deeply browned on the bottom and lifts easily from the pot when turned. This should take about 8 minutes or so. Continue to brown all sides of the meat, turning as needed. Transfer meat to a plate and set aside.
Add mushrooms, onions, and carrots to the pot and cook, stirring, until softened. This should take about 5 minutes. Stir in thyme and cloves. Then pour in hard cider and beef broth. Stir to release browned bits on the pan bottom. Add bay leaf. Let mixture come to a boil, then return meat and any accumulated juices to pot. Cover pot and transfer to the oven. Cook, turning meat over once about halfway through cooking, until meat is tender and pulls apart easily when prodded with a fork, about 2-1/2 to 3 hours.
There are a couple of different ways you can finish up this beautiful pot roast:
For an easy weeknight meal, I will simply break apart the meat with a wooden spoon while it sits in the juices in the pot. The meat should be extremely tender, and not even need to be cut with a knife This is personally my favorite way to eat the roast, all loose and juicy and tender.
To achieve a more sliced look, I remove the meat from the pot after it has been in the oven for about 2 hours. Then I slice it against the grain and return it to the pot with slices intact as much as possible, along with any accumulated juices, nestling it back into the veggies and juices. Return the pot to the oven and cook for another 30 to 60 minutes.
My family prefers this served over/alongside creamy mashed potatoes, but herbed wide noodles are good, too.
I’m linking up with:
- Cheryl at TidyMom for I’m Lovin’ It (healthy hair with volume)