Ted did something this weekend that he rarely does: requested a specific dinner (pot roast) because he wanted something that would go well with some of the Abacela wines we wanted to taste head to head. You can see the wine discussion over at Avontuur but I wanted to talk some more about the pot roast here.

The All-American pot roast recipe from The Food Lab (TFL) is astonishingly good, but it’s also kind f a pain in the ass to cook. Before I tried that, though, I thought I had my pot roast dialed in with the one from The Pioneer Woman (TPW), which is very good and is considerably less trouble. So today I tried to heterodyne the two; I browned the meat before the vegetables (TFL), and got the carrots well browned (TFL), which allowed me to add in a slurry of tomato paste, soy sauce and grated garlic (TFL, but they also call for marmite and anchovies) and some flour (TFL). On the other hand I used only a cup or two of wine rather than a whole bottle (TPW) plus chicken stock rather than beef (TFL), did not add gelatin to my stock (as TFL calls for), and most of all, ate it when it was done instead of keeping it for a day or more as TFL prescribes. I tried cooking it in the oven (TFL) but gave up and put it on top of the stove (TPW) when my oven didn’t seem to be maintaining temperature.

TFL calls for the addition of carrots, chopped onions and potatoes; TPW for carrots and halved onions with mashed potatoes on the side. I added carrots, chopped onions, parsnips and turnips.

Verdict: I am not convinced that the addition of the tomato/garlic slurry made much difference; mostly it came out tasting like a TPW pot roast – good, but not stellar. We have enough left over to have for another dinner; after it’s been int he fridge for a day or two I’ll discard the fats that rise to the top, which I think will improve it, but I’m not sure if it will make that much difference flavorwise. I think it’s useful to have both recipes handy: one simpler and good, the other more work intensive and great.

The parsnips and turnips were definitely a good addition, though: more subtle flavors and textural differences added to the pot roast base.