Taste of Home’s “Ultimate” Pot Roast Recipe Is as Good as Promised
When I think of a classic pot roast, I picture slow-cooked beef surrounded by melt-in-your-mouth carrots and potatoes, all deliciously glazed in the beef’s gravy. So when it came time to choose contenders for our celebrity pot roast showdown, I was surprised to see such a wide interpretation of the all-American dish — and that many of the internet’s most popular recipes don’t call for potatoes at all.
Maybe this is just personal preference, but I felt like at least one of the recipes I tested should include potatoes, which is how I landed on Taste of Home’s recipe. It looked to be fairly traditional but with a lot of smart flavor boosters, including tomato paste, garlic, and vinegar. It also included a step for reducing the leftover braising liquid into a sauce, which I was confident would make for a superior dish.
The recipe receives great reviews from Taste of Home commenters and is also “Test Kitchen Approved,” which means it was cooked, tasted, and reviewed by their professional kitchen team. Needless to say, I had high hopes. Here’s what happened when I tried it for myself.
Get the recipe: Taste of Home’s Ultimate Pot Roast
How to Make Taste of Home’s Ultimate Pot Roast
This recipe is incredibly detailed, which I very much appreciate. You’ll start off by patting the pot roast dry with a paper towel. Tie the roast with kitchen twine in two-inch intervals, and season it with salt and pepper. Heat the canola oil in a large Dutch oven, sear the pot roast on all sides until browned, then remove it from the pan for later. Next, cook the onions and celery with salt until softened for 8 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic, tomato paste, and thyme and cook for one minute more. Deglaze the pan with red wine, scraping up any brown bits, then stir in the beef broth. Return the roast to the pan; arrange the potatoes, carrots, and parsnips around it; and then place the lid on and braise for 2 to 2 1/2 hours, until the meat is fork-tender.
Remove the roast and vegetables from the Dutch oven and reserve in a warm bowl, discarding the bay leaves. Bring the liquid to a boil and reduce by half. Once reduced, stir in the vinegar and parsley, and season the reduction with salt and pepper. Serve the roast with the vegetables and sauce.
My Honest Review of Taste of Home’s Pot Roast
There are few things that make me happier than a well-written recipe, and Taste of Home’s test kitchen did a stellar job with this one. From the visual cues to the timing, this recipe was nearly spot-on. I ended up braising my roast for 3 hours rather than 2 1/2 to ensure it reached that peak tenderness, but otherwise I followed it to the letter.
In addition to being easy to follow, the result tasted delicious — building flavor with every step absolutely paid off. The addition of tomato paste, garlic, thyme, and bay leaves to the softened onions added savory flavor from the get-go. The parsnips, which are added with the carrots, lended substance and sweetness. Reducing the sauce until it was slightly thickened and glossy intensified its flavors, and vinegar added brightness, which cut the fattiness of the beef. To me, this is one of the very best versions of this traditional dish.
If You’re Making Taste of Home’s Pot Roast, a Few Tips
- Increase the acid: After reducing the braising liquid into a sauce, you add one tablespoon of red wine vinegar to brighten all the other flavors. I thought another tablespoon would have made it even better.
- Decrease the vegetables, if desired: This recipe yields far more vegetables than it does beef. If you’re a veggie-lover like me, this isn’t a bad thing, but to make the dish more balanced you could reduce the vegetables by about one-fourth.
- Tying the roast: If you don’t want to bother tying the roast, don’t worry — the pot roast will still be delicious. If you want to give it a go but don’t know how, here’s a great tutorial.