Since Suzanne Tracht opened her LA-based chop house, Jar, one recipe is repeatedly shared, discussed, and copied: pot roast. Usually when people hear “pot roast,” it conjures images of old school cookery, but Tracht’s version represents her style perfectly—comfort food with a modern twist.
After I ate this dish, I couldn’t stop dreaming about it—it was just one of those meals. Clearly, I’m not the only one with this obsession: Twice a month, for a small fee, Tracht provides her fanatical followers with pot roast demonstrations. I decidedly took the easier way out and satisfied my hankering by experimenting with Tracht’s recipe posted in the Wall Street Journal. In her own words, the recipe is “so easy, it’s stupid,” but in my words, the recipe is so good, it’s absolutely, positively addicting.
Set rack to the lower third of the oven. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Dry beef with paper towels; season with salt and pepper.
Set a Dutch oven on high heat until it is very hot; add oil and heat until just smoking. Sear beef until it is a deep, rich brown, about 3 to 5 minutes a side.
Remove beef from Dutch oven and set aside. Discard all but a teaspoon of fat from the Dutch oven. Add sherry to Dutch oven and reduce by half, about 4 minutes, while scraping up flavorful brown bits with a wooden spoon. Add all vegetables to the Dutch oven and cook until slightly soft, about 5 minutes.
Add bay leaf. Return beef to Dutch oven with any accumulated juices. Pour in the chicken stock until the beef is just about covered (leave the very top of the beef uncovered to guarantee that it gets nice and brown). Cover Dutch oven with a tight-fitting lid and place in oven. Check after 15 minutes to make sure liquid is simmering lightly; adjust heat as needed. Continue cooking for a total of three hours.
After three hours, allow the meat to cool in the liquid. When cool, degrease (either by using a degreasing pitcher or by chilling in the refrigerator and removing most of the hardened fat from the surface of the liquid).
Once meat is cool, remove from liquid. Strain the liquid, pressing down on vegetables to remove all the juice; discard vegetables.
Return the meat to the liquid and reheat. Cut meat into portions and place each in a pasta dish; spoon a generous portion of the braising liquid around the beef. Top with a spoonful of caramelized onions and roasted carrots (recipes below). Sprinkle with parsley. Yields 6 to 8 servings.
*A note about the short rib: I buy my short-rib, pre-cut at Costco (6-8 pieces) and it works BEAUTIFULLY. See pictures for details.
Heat a fry pan until very hot; add oil, then the onions. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and, using tongs, toss occasionally. Cook for about 10 minutes until onions are golden brown and very soft. If onions begin to burn, add 2 to 3 tablespoons of water, reduce heat and continue cooking.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Heat a fry pan until very hot; add oil, then the carrots. Add thyme, salt, and pepper. Agitate the pan to allow the carrots to brown slightly on all sides, about 2 minutes. Move pan to oven and roast for about 20 minutes, until carrots are tender.