Simple Gourmet: Foolproof Mother’s Day Pot Roast

Making a meal for Mother’s Day is an age-old method of getting on her good side for the next few months.

This is your chance to earn all the days you want to spend hunting this Fall. Don’t fowl it up.

It’s been several months since you brought home fresh backstrap, and you’re probably running low on the best cuts of meat from your deer last year. Fortunately, this recipe will help you make a tasty meal of meat from the shoulder, one of the least tender big pieces of meat you brought home. It’s simple food, but it’s delicious.

At the grocery store, the shoulder meat is sold as a chuck roast. Just like the beef roast version, your deer/elk/antelope/bear chuck is going to need a lot of time to become tender and tasty. But your lady is worth the effort.

**Bonus points if you get the kids to help**

Weigh-in with a comment about your favorite additions for a Mother’s Day dinner.

What You Need

  • Meat: Chuck roast from a shoulder is a good choice
  • Onions, 2 big ones
  • Carrots, enough for your family
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Cooking oil
  • Salt & pepper
  • Garlic (optional), 4 cloves
  • Cooking wine, optional, apple cider vinegar as a substitute, 1/3 cup
  • Meat stock, 2 to 4 cups, beef broth works
  • Dutch Oven with lid, or oven-safe pot big enough for your meat

What You Do

  • Char the veggies and brown the meat
  • Deglaze the pot
  • Braise in the oven

Defrost your roast at least a day before, or use a sous vide cooker at 130 degrees or so. It’s best if you can remove the meat from the fridge to warm to room temperature about an hour before starting cooking.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Start by cutting your onion in big quarters and the carrots in hearty chunks. Leave the skins on the carrots, but give them a good scrubbing to get the dirt out. If you’re adding garlic (recommended) peel it now.

Preheat your Dutch oven on the stove on medium-high heat. This is hotter than you’d cook eggs, and it may smoke a little. It may be a good day to use your outdoor stove to keep the house odor-free. You need it hot so you can char the veggies and brown the meat.

Use the hot pot to get some good black charring on the veggies. The key is to not move them.

After it’s hot, add about 1 tablespoon of oil to the pot, count to 12, then add your carrots. stir them around a second, then let then sit a solid minute before turning them to char on a different side. It’s essential not to stir them too much. You’re not trying to cook them through right now, just blacken them a little. Remove the carrots from the pot and set aside.

Do the same with the onions, getting a good bit of black on them, then set them aside with the onions.

Pat the meat dry with a paper towel. If you don’t pat it dry a little, it’s much harder to get a good browned crust that’ll be delicious. Add salt and pepper to the meat — you can’t do too much, but you can definitely do too little. It should be a visible crust on the meat.

Add more oil to the pot and brown the meat. Put it in the pot and don’t touch for two minutes. Then flip it and don’t touch it for two minutes. Use tongs and hold the meat up to brown the thin sides, two minutes per side. get all the edges well browned, nearing charred. Remove the meat and set aside.

Add the garlic and char. As the garlic is finishing, add the cooking wine to deglaze the pot and stir the brown charred stuff off the bottom. Apple cider vinegar is a good substitute if you don’t have wine, and even apple juice works well. Use a wooden spoon to scrape and stir.

Put the meat back into the pot and add enough stock to come most of the way up the sides of the meat. If you don’t have beef stock, you can use beef broth or even beef bullion cubes to make a broth.

Add the veggies on top of the meat and put the lid on. Put it on the middle rack in the oven and let it cook. It’d be 2.5 hours or so for 2 to 3 pounds of meat, and at least four hours for 4 to 5 pounds of meat. Longer is ok, just make sure it doesn’t run out of stock to keep it moist in the pot.

Check frequently to make sure the stock hasn’t boiled off. If it dries out, you might as well pack it up as jerky for your next hike.

While that’s cooking, peel some spuds and use your fancy Instapot to boil them for mashing. Add cream or yogurt and maybe some cream cheese to the potatoes to make them extra creamy and delicious.

If you really want to impress you can lightly steam some broccoli as well.

Set a timer on your phone to check the fluid level every two hours. Don’t fowl this up or your meat will turn into jerky. The long cook will turn all the silver skin and tendons into gelatinous moisture and make a tender pull-apart roast.

Serve it hot with rich mashed potatoes and lots of love.

Serve it all hot. Spoon some of the juices from the pan over the meat and the potatoes. Maybe make some biscuits to go with it.

Be sure to make Mother’s Day special (and bank points for being away for hunting season).

What are your favorite ways to show your lady you love them?

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About the author: Levi Sim is an avid hunter, and an increasingly avid shooter. He strives to make delicious and simple recipes from the game he kills. He makes a living as a professional photographer, writer, and photography instructor. Check out his work and he’d love to connect on Instagram: @outdoorslevi

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