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Susan's Italian Pot Roast

Chunky red sauce on a bed of golden polenta with parsely and grated cheese garnish.

This Italian pot roast and its savory sauce is great served over polenta. (Susan Mintert)

The classic pot roast is the very definition of comfort--fork tender beef, rich gravy and mashed potatoes. Susan Mintert, of the Indiana Home Cooks Podcast puts an Italian spin on this classic. 

The recipe below is the way it's made on the show, and will produce the best flavor. However, you could skip the braising step, and follow these instructions: preheat oven to 325º. Combine all ingredients in a large roasting pan with lid. Bake, while covered, 2.5 to 3 hours, till fork tender. When done, remove from oven, and let sit, covered, up to 30 minutes. 

You could also make it in a slow cooker: put roast, veggies, garlic, tomatoes, tomato paste, broth/wine, herbs, sugar, and salt & pepper to taste in cooker. Cook on low for 10-12 hours. Or cook on high for 5-6 hours.

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Susan Mintert is a Hoosier home cook, based in West Lafayette, and is host of the Indiana Home Cooks Podcast. Find more on her blog, indianahomecooks.com .

Italian Pot Roast

Ingredients

One 2 to 2.5 lb. chuck roast

Olive oil

One medium to large onion, roughly chopped

One bell pepper, any color, roughly chopped

2-4 cloves garlic, chopped

1/2 cup beef broth*

1/2 cup red wine*

1 14 oz can diced tomatoes

1 6 oz can tomato paste

1 tsp dried thyme

1 tsp dried oregano

2 tsp dried basil

Italian flat-leaf parsley, one handful chopped fresh, or 1 tsp dried

1 T sugar

Kosher salt & pepper

For serving

More parsley

Grated parmesan cheese

Cooked polenta (directions below) or bite-size pasta, such as ziti

*If cooking in a slow cooker (Crock Pot), reduce the amount of wine/broth by half. Use a 1/2-cup of EITHER broth or wine, or reduce to 1/4-cup each.

Instructions

Preheat to 325º. Season roast on both sides with salt and pepper. Heat an oven-safe pot, like a dutch oven, on the stove on medium setting. Drizzle about 1 T. olive oil in hot pan and place roast in to sear-- About 3-4 minutes on each side. Remove roast from pot and set aside. 

Lower heat to med-low and pour in broth and wine. Allow it to boil and scrape up bits that are stuck to the bottom of the pot, 2-3 minutes. Carefully add roast back to the pot, season with thyme, oregano, and basil. Add onions, peppers, garlic, tomatoes, tomato paste, and sugar. 

Cover pot and place in preheated oven, and allow to braise for 2.5 to 3 hours, till fork tender. When done, remove from oven and let the roast sit, covered, for up to 30 minutes. 

To serve, pull roast apart into chunks and stir it into the sauce. Ladle over cooked polenta or pasta in bowls, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with parsley and parmesan cheese. Makes great leftovers. 

To make polenta:

You don’t have to buy “polenta.” Use Quaker Yellow Corn Meal and follow the instructions for cooking “Corn Meal Mush” on the box. When it has finished cooking and is thick and creamy it is ready to serve. If it thickens up on you before you are ready to serve, add a bit of milk and whisk. It’s also tasty to stir in a couple tablespoons of olive oil and 1/3 to 1/2 cup of grated parmesan cheese.

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