July 14, 2012

Sunday Roast and Oven-Roasted Garlic Rosemary Potatoes

Is there a more classic, simple homemade meal than roast and potatoes? If so, it's a pretty short list! Some might even think it too simple to justify a whole blog post about it, but I don't! I spent YEARS trying to figure out how to cook a perfect Sunday roast. Cooking methods, temperature, time, cut of beef... there are a lot of factors! I certainly ate many more disappointing roasts than mouth-watering ones, so something wasn't quite right. I started gathering bits and pieces of recipes that really worked, and was amazed how simple "my" perfect roast turned out to be! (In fact, I use the same method to make meat and juices for my Pho recipe! So for now, I'm going to use those pictures, and next time I cook a roast I'll put some new pics in here)

**Disclaimer: These are all MY opinions. Just know that from the start! :) I don't expect everyone to agree with me!**
First of all, there is only ONE kind of roast worth using: Chuck Roast. It is the most marbled, and has the most ribbons of fat running through it. This used to gross me out, I used to pick the leanest roast I could find, until I learned that fat = flavor! When cooked long and low, those ribbons of white melt into the meat and turn it tender, juicy, and actually buttery! Generously salt and pepper your roast on both sides.

Second, SEAR your roast. Don't just brown it a bit, sear it on high heat in a few teaspoons of olive oil till it turns dark and a bit crusty looking. I have no idea why this makes a difference in the taste and texture of the finished roast, but it does! I have always heard that it "seals in" the juices, but America's Test Kitchen tested that theory and proved it wrong. Oh well! I may not know the reason, but I know the results. Searing is important!
Put your roast in any casserole, oven-safe dish, and cover with a lid or with foil. You CAN use a crock pot or slowcooker if you must, but my roasts never turn out as well from crock-pots as from the oven. Somehow slowcookers seem to hold more moisture, which leads to the next important point: Do NOT add liquid! Don't add water, or broth, or gravy. If you want to cook some veggies with this roast, go for it. Peel a few potatoes and carrots, quarter an onion and spread over the bottom of the dish, place roast ON TOP, but don't add a drop of liquid!! Though it might seem odd, adding liquid to roasting meat actually "waters down" the meat, as it were. The juices from the meat run out into the liquid instead of staying in the meat! It will create plenty of juice for any broth you may want to make, trust me. Leave it dry. 

Now, cook low and slow! For your average grocery store sized roast, 250 degrees for 6-7 hours. Next comes arguably the most important step of cooking ANY meat, especially a roast! LET IT REST. Let your roast sit in its juices for a whole hour! It will still be plenty warm, I promise! If you're low on time, cut back on cooking time, not resting time, because resting is what locks in the flavors and makes it ohhhh so tender!
Now, there is quite a battle in our house about which potatoes to eat  with roast. I love mashed potatoes, fully loaded with butter and sour cream, smooth and fluffy, with the roast juices ladled over the top. Stephen likes potatoes cooked with the roast, soaked through with juices and spread with butter. Because we can't agree on these, and because my roast "recipe" is more like a list of ideas and methods, I'd like to give you a REAL recipe for a way to make potatoes to go with any meal that even we can agree on!
Oven-Roasted Garlic Rosemary Potatoes
Printable Recipe

New potatoes, halved, or red potatoes, cut into 1-2 inch chunks
4-5 whole garlic cloves, peeled
2 Tb olive oil (or veggie oil)
2 sprigs fresh rosemary (or 1-2 tsp dried)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line a baking dish with foil.

Rinse potatoes and pat dry. Place potatoes and garlic cloves in large bowl, drizzle with oil. Toss (or stir) to coat. Season with salt and pepper (I'd estimate about a 1/2 tsp each), add rosemary, toss again till potatoes look evenly seasoned.
Dump potatoes into lined baking dish. Cover with lid or foil. Bake for about 30 minutes. Uncover and test done-ness with a fork. If they aren't quite soft, leave uncovered for 10-15 minutes. If done, leave uncovered for 5 minutes to brown a bit. Serve! Toss the foil, and you don't even have to wash the dish!
Variations: You can skip the garlic, use thyme instead of rosemary (fresh or dried), add just about any other veggie you can think of that roasts well, go simple and just use seasoned salt and pepper... we've done it all! We especially love these with our Crunchy Fried Chicken.


  1. Wow - what a wonderful meal!
    Mary x

    1. The best part is that it's so easy!! We all need a few of those up our sleeves, right??


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