I love braising.
Braising is cooking something in liquid, at a low temp, usually after searing it first.
Why do I love braising?
It is easy; almost foolproof (unless you have too little liquid and burn your food), it always yields a flavorful, professional quality dish; and it is one of the greatest cooking methods for longevity.
What makes it healthier than other cooking methods?
Just like our modern lifestyle, we like everything fast. We usually crank up the heat on our grills, ovens, and stoves, and quick cook our favorite foods to get a crusty, smoky, texture and flavor. This is tasty, no doubt, but I would rather leave that for the grilling season… allow me to explain with a quote from my favorite nutrition book, The Perfect Health Diet by Paul Jaminet, PH.D., and Shou-Ching Jaminet, PH.D.:
“In meats that are grilled, barbecued, or pan fried, heterocyclic amines (HCAs) form from amino acids, sugars, and creatine. Formation of HCAs is substantial at temperatures around 400 degrees F. HCAs can cause cancer.”
Take a look at the warnings on www.cancer.gov, and see for yourself.
Is this definitive? Can we be positively sure? No. It’s nearly impossible to test such a thing in controlled studies, especially on humans.
But, gathering the information we have so far, HCAs and PAHs are dangerous to our DNA and might be making us especially vulnerable to cancers.
What are HCAs and PAHs? They are chemicals created during the process of cooking meats at high temperatures, or over an open flame.
I love the smells and flavors from grilling and roasting meats just like everyone else, but I am content now knowing that those cooking methods should be saved for specific occasions.
Braising is a great technique to learn. You will find this cooking method works well on many of your favorite foods! This works especially well with inexpensive cuts of meat, meat on the bone, and hearty vegetables.
Speaking of inexpensive cuts of meat, the chuck roast, or pot roast, is an economical cut of beef. It comes from the shoulder of the cow, and has lots of connective tissue which makes it perfect for slow cooking.
This is a great cut of meat to buy when switching over to grass-fed meats, trying to feed a family on high quality meats, and if you love tender, slow-cooked beef. If you find one with bone in, then go for it! Bones equal more flavor, and you can even reuse them to make stock after you scarf down this lovely meal.
See the recipe notes for ideas how to stretch this meal, or even save hands-on cooking time using the slow cooker. This traditional braising method will give you the meatiest result though, so go for the big win!
- 1.5-2 lb Grass-fed Pot Roast/Chuck Roast (left at room temperature for at least 20 minutes)
- Sea Salt & Black Pepper
- High Heat Cooking Fat (e.g., Ghee, Pastured Lard, Palm Oil, Avocado Oil)
- 1 or 2 Onions, cut in half, skins removed
- 3-4 Carrots, cut in 2 inch large chunks
- 3 Celery, cut in 2 inch large chunks
- 1-2 Turnips, or small/medium Potatoes; peeled, cut into 2 inch pieces
- ½ Cup Red Wine
- 1.5 to 2 Cups Bone Broth or Organic Beef Broth (Water or any broth can be used in a pinch)
- 1 teaspoon Dried Rosemary, or 1 Tablespoon Fresh
- 1 teaspoon Dried Thyme, or 1 Tablespoon Fresh
- Heavy pot/dutch oven with a lid
- Preheat your oven to 275 degrees F
- Heat 1 Tablespoon ghee on high heat, and season the roast with plenty of salt and pepper on all sides.
- Once the pan is surely hot, place the roast in the pan using tongs. You should hear a loud sizzle. Time approximately 3-4 minutes on the first side to get a good sear.
- Sear both sides of the roast. You want dark brown color which takes about 3 minutes per side.
- Remove the roast from the pan and set it aside on a plate.
- Add 1 Tablespoon of fat, then the onion halves, flat-side-down, and the carrots. Brown the onions and the carrots.
- Now add the ½ cup of red wine, and using tongs, scrape the bottom of the pan with the onions...you want all the beefy goodness that is stuck on the bottom of the pan.
- Cook the wine for 2-3 minutes on a good simmer, so you reduce the amount of wine by half.
- Add the celery, turnips/potatoes, the rosemary, thyme, and some more sea salt and pepper. Give everything a good mix.
- Now make room for the steak in the center, placing it in the middle, and moving all the veggies to the outsides of the pan (it’s okay if they are on top of the steak)
- Add 1.5 Cups of broth. Use more broth if needed to cover at least half of the steak.
- Cover the pot, and transfer to the oven for 2 hours.
- Your roast is ready when it is fork tender, and flaking nicely. You may serve it sliced or shredded, on top of the braised vegetables. I usually finish with a sprinkle of coarse sea salt.
- For a quick gluten-free gravy, while the roast is cooking, heat 2 Tbsp of butter/fat in a sauce pan. Then add 2 Tbsp of rice flour stirring for 2 minutes, careful not to burn. Now add 1 Cup of warm or room temperature broth, and whisk to incorporate. Bring to a simmer and continue stirring occasionally. The gravy will thicken as the heat rises. Season with salt, and herbs.
- If you are making the roast ahead of time, it is a great idea to use the broth left in the roasting pan to make this gravy as directed above.
- Stretch this meal by braising extra root veggies on the side. Peel and cube the veggies, rub with fat, season with salt pepper and dashes of rosemary and thyme, and place them in a pot/pan with enough broth to cover half of the veggies. Cover and cook in the oven while making your pot roast, but check your veggies after 1 hour.
- Slow Cooker Method: This method can be great if you don't have time to do the full recipe. Season your meat with plenty of salt and pepper, place in the slow cooker, top with the veggies and spices, and pour 1/4 Cup Wine and 1.5 Cups Broth over the top of everything. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.
- 3 lb roast, 3 hours in oven
- 4-5 lb roast, 4 hours in oven (8 hours in slow cooker)