Even though it depends on a large hunk of beef, pot roast is an economical—as well as a homey—meal. It begins with a tough cut such as chuck roast, which is usually inexpensive. Tough becomes tender thanks to long, slow cooking, and both meat and sauce are flavored by the aromatics and braising liquid you decide to use.
Pot roasts can cook entirely on the stove, but they also work well in the slow cooker, provided you first brown the meat in a sauté pan that gets deglazed (this method is used for CHOW’s Garlicky Pot Roast, pictured). Another option is to do the braising in the oven. “All my life I made pot roast on a burner, slow simmering. It was great,” says 512window. “Then, one time, I tried it in the oven, same recipe. It was sublime. I can’t explain it, but I’ve used the oven ever since.”
escondido123 advises choosing a braising liquid that will add flavor—such as red wine, dark beer, or puréed tomatoes—and making sure its depth is no more than two-thirds that of the meat. (If you’re using a slow cooker, add less liquid or you run the risk of meat that tastes as if it were boiled, acgold7 says.) escondido123 removes the meat and vegetables when they’re done and reduces the sauce, using an immersion blender to smooth it, and checks the seasoning for salt and pepper.
Photograph of CHOW’s Garlicky Pot Roast by Christopher Rochelle / CHOW.com