Oh my... When I was little, one of my favorite things my mom made for dinner was roast. We kids would come home from school, and the aroma in the house was heavenly. So one of the first things I wanted to learn how to prepare when I got married was, of course, her roast!
Lots of people say that they refuse to make roast bc they don't know how; the result of their best effort yields a hunk of meat that could only be labeled as jerky. There are three reasons that I know of that are the cause of this - as my mother taught me:
1. When people purchase a roast, they tend to avoid the cuts with fat.
2. They salt the roast before or during cooking.
3. They boil the roast.
I'm sure there are other causes for a tough roast, but these are the main three that come to mind.
So take this to heart: when looking for a roast in the grocery store or at the butcher counter, be sure to select one that is marbled with white. One or two larger areas of fat are perfectly fine, as this is what gives the roast its tenderness - and flavor! For this post, I purchased a roast that was already packaged in the meats aisle, bc I was too lazy to head to a store with a real butcher counter.
Find a nice, large roasting pan.. you'll be cooking on top of your stove the entire time. (Save the oven for the hot rolls!) Now chop an onion. White, yellow - doesn't matter. I think Mom uses a whole onion, and I usually use half of a large one.
Next you'll want to heat up your pan and add a couple Tablespoons of oil. I use this:
I also rough-chop some garlic cloves, but this is optional. I don't believe Mom does this, but I could be wrong..
After your pan has heated (don't let that oil get too hot! If you see it smoking, take it off the burner and let it cool down before you add anything else. Then turn your poor burner down a notch.), add your roast, onions, and garlic - all at the same time. (See the marbling?)
Heavily pepper the top side of your roast. No salt!
After a few minutes, the underside of your roast should be nice and brown. Flip it over, pepper it, and give those onions and garlic a stir. (Make sure you don't have all those onions underneath your roast or it won't brown evenly.) You'll notice in the picture below that I've accidentally seared the roast a bit much on one part. That's okay, but try to avoid too much searing, bc it can give your roast a bit of a burnt flavor. When this happens, I just pretend that I like the burnt flavor, so my family thinks I did it on purpose.
Let the other side brown, and then you'll need to add about a third of a cup of water. I usually just grab a glass out of the cabinet and splash a little water into the pan. In other words, it doesn't have to be exactly 1/3 cup, but just enough so that there's a little water in the bottom. You are not going to boil your roast; the water is added so you'll have some extra juice in the end. (Mom sometimes makes gravy with the juice, but I usually just leave it, au jus-style.)
At this point, I usually throw in a dry boullion cube. I have no idea why, other than one day it occured to me that maybe that would add a little bit of bold flavor to the juice, and I've been doing it ever since. I don't believe my mother owns any boullion.
After you've added your water (and boullion), you'll want to cover your pan and turn your heat way down. I realize the following photo isn't necessary, but I wanted to include it bc of the crown on the crock of utensils. ;)
Once your heat is turned down, you may then go stitch or quilt or knit for about 5 hours or so. This is a very important step. You may want to flip your roast once or twice during that time as well, just to even things out.
When you're about a half-hour away from serving time, cut up some carrots and potatoes (I leave the skins on both). Remove your roast from the pan and cover with foil to retain the moisture, and add the carrots and potatoes to the pan. (Btw, any potato will do. I prefer red, but I think Mom uses gold?)
My family usually complains that I don't add enough carrots, so I use more carrots than potatoes. Don't forget that potatoes absorb a lot of the juice, so don't go overboard with them. Just grab however many you think your family will eat and then take away one or two. ;)
Put the lid back on the pan and turn your heat back up a bit to bring everything to a low boil. Cook until everything is tender (the carrots will take longer than the potatoes). While that's going, you may want to use this time to remove the fat from your roast. (This saves your family members the agony of biting into what they think is meat and ending up with... well, fat. Although it's annoying to hear "Ewwww! I got a piece of fat!" at the dinner table, I usually leave the fat on bc it's my little way of getting back at my family for not picking up their clothes off the floor or leaving the bathroom a mess. It's all done in love, of course.)
Add the roast back to the pan and cover just a few minutes longer to re-heat it. THIS is the time to add your salt. Finally! I use kosher salt bc I think it has the best flavor. Just sprinkle on a little, and let everyone else add what they want to it, if they choose. There's nothing worse than putting your best into preparing a meal, and then accidentally adding too much salt in the end.
I realize a good recipe will include pictures of the meal on the plate with all the lovely sides, but I was too busy eating to remember this part. But we had sweet corn and rolls and applesauce, just so you know.
And it was delicious, even if I must say so myself. Thank you, Mom! You'll always be the best cook.