Sometimes, and I mean, just sometimes, I miss cold weather. This is very, very, (I cannot stress this enough) very, rare. But the times I do miss it is when fall begins to approach and I yearn for crunchy leaves and chunky scarfs. That doesn’t happen here in sunny San Diego until about January. This is one of the many reasons Jake and I moved here of course. Perfect, 70-degree weather for about 8 months of the year is pretty much a dream come true for two people from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. One of the coldest states in the Midwest. A place that can make your tears freeze. God forbid you go running when it is under 30 out, you either don’t sweat at all, or it is possible it could freeze onto your skin.
But why would you go running when it is 30 degrees out? Well, because not much stops Wisconsinites from doing what they want, when they want. I have seen someone running in 30-degree weather, bundled up, determined to propel their wrapped, Michelin man body through the icy air. Wisconsinites all grill in the dead of winter (Jake’s dad has even done so while it was snowing) especially on Packer Sundays. We trot out to go shopping in 20 below zero (do we have a choice?). And we shuffle off to the bar to see friends even though the frigid cold smacks you in the face like someone threw needles at it.
Yes, us Wisconsinites are tough. I must admit, I have gone soft in my couple of years here in Southern California. So soft, I am shivering at 60 degrees. Pathetic, I know. I would never move back, as now, I am not sure I could last through another winter, but there is a charm to freezing your ass off occasionally. And yes, you back home, will give me shit for this, especially in January when your bones hurt from the dropping temperatures. But you get to experience holidays the way they are meant to be experienced! Coming in from the cold warming up with cocoa. Maybe you have a fire roaring away in the hearth. Enjoying your flannel pajamas (that San Diegans can literally never wear) and filling your tummy with all of the best holiday foods without feeling out of place. Eating roasted turkey, mashed potatoes, and stuffing doesn’t exactly sit the same way when it is 70 degrees out.
So yes, you have to chip away at your windshield. Praying a piece of ice will carve out enough, so you can see when you drive. But with the cold, comes the best types of food.
Like a big, juicy, tender, pot roast. It has been around 65-68 degrees here the last couple of weeks, which is our version of fall, so I took advantage of the situation and made this incredible roast. I had the idea of a mustard covered roast from the sandwiches my dad used to make me when I was young. I had this quirk when I was kid, where I always had to have “hot meals”. You can ask my dad to this day the “hell” (as he puts it) I dragged him through when it was time for a meal. I wanted tacos or fajitas for dinner, lasagna, creamy potato soup, or anything else I could think of that was specifically hot. For breakfast I either wanted a big breakfast (pancakes/waffles, or omelets) or rarely rice crispies cereal. I even liked toasted bread for my peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. My mom said I was a very specific child when it came to what was on my plate. She says specific, my dad says an asshole.
When he wanted to get away with making me a sandwich for lunch, my dad came up with hot roast beef sandwiches. It was always the same each time. He knew exactly what to make me: a soft roll or croissant, two slices of deli roast beef, melted provolone cheese, and whole grain mustard on the top part of the roll.
Every. Single. Time. It was one of those incredible dishes you remember as a kid that now, when I think about it, was extremely simple, but so comforting. I was missing my parents the other day (I last saw them in person in May), and I started thinking about things that remind me of them, and this sandwich came to my mind. I had to recreate it-the Allie way. This roast is unbelievably tender, buttery almost in texture. The combination of celery, onion, and garlic give it the classic roast flavor, but I specifically left out the carrots because I didn’t want to impart the subtle sweetness on it that carrot does so well. My secret ingredient is the whole grain mustard. I felt a little strange at first rubbing the browned meat with mustard, but I can tell you this: it is magical. Like Stevie Nicks type of magical.
The trick to this tender roast is sliding it into a piping hot 450-degree oven for about 15 minutes, then lowering it to 300 degrees and patiently waiting for it to do its thing. Don’t be worried if you check the roast after two hours and it springs back at you when you carefully stab it with a fork. It breaks down quickly, so it may need another 30-45 minutes for it to easily shred with a fork.
I would say depending on the size it should take about 2.5-3 hours total, possibly a little longer if you have a larger roast. Of all the roasts I made, I think the longest I kept it in was about 3 hours after the initial 15-minute-high heat cook, so 3 hours 15 minutes total. But that was for an almost 3-pound roast. It is essential to do the searing portion, you want that lovely crust that forms before you slather the top with the mustard. That crust gives the ends so much flavor, you will be specifically seeking out those pieces!
I have a cracked black pepper gravy in the photo, but I didn’t write the recipe down for it, because I wanted this to be a base roast recipe that could be used for all sorts of delicious roast avenues. Tucked into a warm croissant, or dense potato roll. Blanketed with provolone or swiss cheese. A black pepper gravy, or classic brown gravy. Paired with potatoes, or a sharp vinegary salad (hello arugula). Maybe a VERY over the top sub sandwich. This roast can go so many ways- it is even great cold. Jake would know, as he stole the leftovers every single time I made this.
This roast is the exact type of dish that I call a “dancing-good” recipe. Some sort of air-humping, butt shake, or the rare twerk, tends to commence the minute this baby comes out of the oven.
We get pretty excited about food around here.
Perfect Fall Apart Oven Roast Beef
Author: Allie Brendel
This simple, but perfect roast beef is fall apart tender, and has a special ingredient that makes it irresistable!
Makes: 6-8 servings
- Chuck roast, about 2.5 pounds (rested out of the fridge for about 30 minutes before cooking)
- 2 cups of sliced onion (1 large)
- 1/4 cup sliced celery (2 stalks of celery)
- 3 tablespoons of garlic
- 3 tablespoons of whole grain mustard
- Salt (About 2.5 teaspoons) & Lots of cracked black pepper
- 1/4 cooking sherry or red wine vinegar
- 2 cups of water
- 2 tablespoons of butter
- Splash of olive oil
- Prep your veggies, thinly slice a large onion, mince 3-4 garlic cloves (3 tb of garlic), then slice celery (1/4 cup), set aside (do not mix together).
- Season the roast liberally with the salt and lots of pepper.
- Pre-heat the oven to 450 degrees. On the stove top, heat a dutch oven on medium, melt the butter and a splash of olive oil.
- Cook the onions and celery with a dash of salt and pepper for about 4 minutes until they start to become translucent. Remove them from the pan, set aside in a separate bowl.
- Sear the roast in the dutch oven until sides brown, about 2-3 minutes per side. Once they are evenly browned, add the onions and celery back in.
- Pour the sherry vinegar and water in the pot (should come up to about halfway up the roast), add the minced garlic, and spread the mustard over the top of the roast.
- Cover the pan and slide the dutch oven into the 450 degree oven. Cook for 15 minutes then lower the temperature to 300 degrees.
- Cook the roast for about 2 hours, then check the roast to see how tender it is. Continue to cook up until 3 hours until it can easily be shredded with a fork.
- My first roast at 2.5 pounds took about 2.5 hours, my second one was a bit heavier and it went for almost 3 hours. The trick is the combination of high and low heat.
- Serve with a pan gravy, on a sandwich, with provolone cheese, or a cream sauce. A sharp vinegary salad would be perfect for this heavy dish as well.