Gamers' Guide to Grub - Pwning Pot Roast
Pwning Pot Roast
By Greg Spyridis
More kitchen ideas for gamers
In a perfect world, we would all be able to go home for the holidays. In a perfect world, we would all get to sit down to the feasts that countless grocery store commercials, Norman Rockwell paintings, and made-for-TV movies have promised us. In a perfect world, we would never be forced to fend for ourselves on a day that we all find synonymous with eating but that guarantees that at least 99 percent of all restaurants are closed.
Of course, in a perfect world, Xboxes would never RROD, 12-year olds who talk excessive amounts of smack during on-line games would get electrocuted by their controllers, and we'd all be millionaires living in mansions with a harem of super-models to do our laundry for us.
But I digress...
My point is that just because we can't make it home doesn't mean we can't have a kick-ass feast. All you have to do is gather all your other stranded buddies around the house, toss this shockingly simple yet positively perfect Pwning Pot Roast in the oven, and spend the day devouring beef, drinking 'nog, and deathmatching your friends - which is as true to the spirit of the season as anything I can imagine.
1 (4 to 5 Pound) boneless Chuck Roast
4 Red or 2 Yukon Gold Potatoes Per Person
2 to 4 Large Root Vegetables of Your Choice (Carrots, Turnips, Beets, etc.)
1 Medium Onion
4 Cloves of Garlic
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1/2 Tsp Salt
1 Tsp Pepper
1 1/2 Tsp Italian Seasoning
1 Tbsp Granulated Garlic
1) Start by trimming and cleaning the garlic - which means removing both the papery skin around each clove and any bad spots or blemishes. There are a lot of ways to do this, but I think the easiest starts by first slicing off the root-ends of each clove. Then cut each clove in half length-wise and remove the papery skin from the outside of both pieces. Finally, trim off any dark spots or signs of spoilage. Of course, if all of that sounds like too much work, you could get around this entire step by buying pre-cleaned garlic cloves from the grocery store and slicing each one in half.
2) Once the garlic is prepped, use the tip of a sharp steak or paring knife to make eight incisions into the roast at regular intervals and push a sliver of garlic into each hole as deep as it will go. Then, after the garlic is in, season the meat liberally with the salt, pepper, granulated garlic, and Italian seasoning.
3) Ok, now that the roast is prepped, it's time to toss it on the stove and brown that bad boy.
Browning, just in case you've never heard the term, is when you take something that you're going to cook in the oven and sear it on the stove first. This creates a caramelized crust that adds awesome flavor, great texture, and a fantastic golden-brown color - which makes it a kind of culinary equivalent to putting your hero in armor before marching him off to the fires of Mordor.
To brown your roast, all you have to do is put a couple tablespoons of oil into a skillet, get it nice and hot on the stove over medium-high heat, and then cook the roast for 4 or 5 minutes on each side - until the whole thing looks like a perfectly done steak.
Once your roast has been browned on all sides, pull it out of the pan and stick it into a large oven-safe pot or Dutch Oven
4) Now that your roast is in the pot, you should be face-to-face with a skillet that is both extremely hot and crusted over with some dark brown bits of charred spice and rendered fat - which you're probably used to thinking of as a bad thing. But, regardless of what past experience has taught you, it is not yet time to throw the pan out, nor should you set it on the back deck until the next time your mom comes over and cleans your kitchen. Instead we're going to use those crusty bits to make some of the best damned gravy on the planet.
All you have to do is pour 1 Cup of water into the still-hot pan, and - using the water as a solvent - scrap the bottom of the skillet with a plastic spatula or wooden spoon until all the crusty bits have come off. Then dump those bits, along with whatever water hasn't evaporated, into the pot with the roast.
5) Now it's time for your roast to ... well ... roast. Put the lid on the pot (or cover it tightly with aluminum foil if you ain't got no lid) and shove it into a 350-degree oven for 2 hours. Set a timer and go get some fragging in.
6) When the timer goes off, head back into the kitchen to prep your potatoes and veg. First give it all a good wash, then cut the potatoes into quarters (for Yukon Gold's) or halves (for Reds), and the veggies into pieces no bigger than two inches.
7) Once everything's cut up, pull out the pot, flip the roast, and add the potatoes and vegetables (giving them a quick stir to make sure everything's moist). Then toss the whole thing back into the oven for another half-hour to hour. It's done when a fork pushes easily into everything.
One of the best things about a pot roast is how easy it is to serve. Pile the potatoes and veggies on one plate, the roast on another, and pour the juice/gravy from the bottom of the pot into a cup*. Then bring it all to the table with some butter for the veg, your horseradish or hot sauce of choice, and a robust red wine or a nice amber lager.
As for leftovers ... well, unless you and your dinner guests have a combined total body weight of 65 pounds, there shouldn't be any leftovers. But, on the slim chance that there are, you can either reheat them in the oven or use them as the cooking gods have always intended - in pot roast sandwiches.
* The gravy from the bottom of the pot is especially good as-is, but can be a little thin for some people. If you want it thicker, just toss it on the stove over medium-high heat. While it's coming to a boil, mix 2 tablespoons of flour into 1/4 cup of cold water - stirring like a madman until there are no lumps of flour left. Add the flour/water mixture to the juice and cook, stirring constantly, until it reaches the desired consistency.