Kitchen Comfort: Italian Pot Roast

Granted, pot roast isn’t rocket science — recipes for this classic should be easy. And while you can’t go wrong with recipes like I’ve found in my grandmother’s well-worn cookbooks from the 1930s and 1940s, they’re rather plain. Tinkering around, I’ve landed on a revision that thrills the taste buds, and it’s still super-easy. I just added some red wine, tomatoes and tomato paste, garlic, salt, and pepper, plus mushrooms and fresh Italian herbs. I love the Instant Pot for quickness, or you can use the slow-cooker setting, but my go-to is always a large Dutch oven. In any case, you get a dish that warms you to the bones and, like all great pot roast, is even better as heated-up leftovers. Serve with crusty bread and a side of fresh green beans, if you like.

Serves 6 to 8

2 pieces of bacon, chopped

3- to 4-pound chuck roast

1 yellow onion, roughly chopped

3 to 4 garlic cloves, sliced

3 large carrots, sliced

2 stalks celery, sliced

1 pound new potatoes, cut in half

1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes

1 pound cremini (baby bella) mushrooms, sliced in half

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 cup dry red wine

4 to 6 cups beef broth or stock

Sea salt and black pepper, to taste

3 tablespoons mix of fresh oregano, thyme, marjoram leaves, chopped

Heat oven to 275 degrees. Saute bacon in Dutch oven until translucent; remove with slotted spoon and set aside. Brown beef in bacon drippings for a few minutes, until brown on all sides. Remove and set aside. Saute onion and garlic in drippings until soft, then add carrots and celery, stirring and cooking for another 5 minutes. Return bacon and beef to the pot and top with potatoes, tomatoes and mushrooms. Mix tomato paste with red wine and add to pot, followed by broth, seasonings and herbs. Cover, transfer to oven and cook 4 to 5 hours or until roast is falling apart. Garnish with more fresh herbs to serve.

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