1 (4-pound) boneless chuck roast, trimmed of excess fat
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium white onion, coarsely chopped
1 medium celery stalk, coarsely chopped
4 medium garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 cups low-sodium beef broth
4 fresh thyme sprigs
Pot roast may conjure thoughts of Sunday supper at the grandparents’ house, but this roast is anything but geriatric. With its nontraditional mix of Cajun spices, it pairs well with our grits soufflé, for a homey twist on a classic meal.
1Heat the oven to 300°F and arrange a rack in the lower third.
2In a small bowl, combine the salt, paprika, pepper, and cayenne. Evenly rub the spice mix on all sides of the roast; set aside.
3Heat the oil in a Dutch oven or a large, heavy-bottomed pot with a tightfitting lid over medium heat until smoking, about 5 minutes. Add the meat and brown it on all sides, about 20 minutes total; remove to a plate.
4Add the onion, celery, and garlic to the pot, season with salt, and cook until just softened, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste and stir to coat the vegetables. Pour the beef broth into the pot and scrape up any browned bits from the bottom. Add the thyme, reserved meat, and any accumulated juices to the pot and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook in the oven until the roast is fork tender, about 2 1/2 to 3 hours.