Quick and pot roast don’t go together. Chuck roast is cut from the beef shoulder, a hard-working muscle, chewy and tough…unless you cook it for a long time, breaking it down and making it tender.
Pressure cooker pot roast works around that problem…mostly. Chuck roast cooks quicker in the high heat of a pressure cooker, but even then, it takes a while. A chuck roast takes an hour and 15 minutes in my trusty Instant Pot, because it takes a while for the heat to penetrate the thick piece of meat.1
As a kid, pot roast was one of my favorite meals, a thick slab of tender meat that would break into shreds when poked with a fork. And, even better, it came with a thick, beefy sauce to pour over my baked potato. Heaven.
Pot roasted chuck shoulder has a wonderful, beefy flavor, with tender meat that breaks into shreds when poked with a fork, and a thick sauce to pour over a baked potato. But, I have a couple of tricks up my sleeve to make the roast taste even meatier. The first is to pump up the umami – the “fifth taste” – with tomatoes and mushrooms. I even sneak a teaspoon of soy sauce in there; you won’t taste the soy, but it adds even more umami goodness. The other “trick” isn’t really a trick, but a classic cooking technique; brown the meat well before pressure cooking. Well seared meat (and the resulting browned bits that stick to the pan) add depth to the sauce.
Is this a fifteen minute pressure cooker meal? Hardly. All in, it’s about two hours, between the searing, sautéing, pressure cooking, and natural pressure release. Still, it is every bit as good as a traditional pot roast, and ready in half the time. It’s amazing what a little pressure can do.
Video: Pressure Cooker Pot Roast – Time Lapse [YouTube.com]
Recipe: Pressure Cooker Beef Pot Roast
Pressure Cooker Beef Pot Roast gives you tender, shreddable pot roast beef in about 2 hours.
- 1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
- 1 cup hot water
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 (4 pound) boneless beef chuck roast, cut in two pieces
- 2 teaspoons Diamond Crystal kosher salt
- 1 large onion, minced
- 4 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1/2 teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce (optional)
- 1 sprig fresh rosemary
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 (15-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
- Soak the mushrooms: Put the mushrooms in a small bowl and cover with 1 cup of hot water to soak.
- Brown the chuck roast: Cut the chuck roast in half lengthwise, then sprinkle with 2 teaspoons of salt. Heat the teaspoon of oil over medium-high heat (“sauté” mode on an electric PC) until shimmering, about 3 minutes. Sear one piece of the roast on its two largest sides, about 4 minutes a side, then move it to a bowl. Sear the other piece of roast until browned, another 4 minutes a side, then add it to the bowl.
- Sauté the aromatics: Add the onion and garlic to the pot, sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes.
- Add everything to the pot: Pour the mushrooms and their soaking liquid into the pot and bring to a simmer, while scraping the bottom of the pan to loosen any stuck bits of beef or onion. Stir in the soy sauce, rosemary, and thyme, then add the beef and any juices in the bowl. Pour the tomatoes over the top.
- Pressure cook the pot roast for 75 minutes with a Natural Pressure Release: Lock the lid and cook at high pressure for 75 minutes in an electric PC or 60 minutes in a stovetop PC. Let the pressure come down with a natural pressure release, about 20 more minutes.
- Serve: Carefully lift the pieces of beef out of the cooker and transfer to a platter. Discard the rosemary and thyme sprigs. If you want to defat the sauce, strain the liquid in the pot into a fat separator and let it settle for 10 minutes, then pour the defatted liquid over the pot roast. (Or serve the pot roast country style, with the sauce straight out of the pot. Just pour it over the roast after you discard the herb sprigs). Cut the roast into serving size pieces – I get 5 to 6 servings – and serve, passing the pot sauce at the table to spoon on top of the roast.
- No pressure cooker? No worries. In a dutch oven, follow the instructions up to “Pressure cook the pot roast” – then stir in 2 cups of chicken stock or water, and bring to a simmer on the stove top. Cover with a lid, move to a 350°F oven, and bake for 4 hours, or until the roast is easily pierced with a fork. Continue with the “Serve” step.
What do you think?
Questions? Other ideas? Leave them in the comments section below.
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