beef roast (4 - 5 lb)
salt & black pepper
2 Tbsp canola oil or clarified butter
1/2 onion, chopped
3 carrots, cut into 2 inch pieces
3 stalks celery, cut into 2 inch pieces
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups of beef or vegetable stock*
2 bay leaves, crumpled
2 - 3 sprigs of thyme
2 tsp corn starch
1/2 cup heavy cream
* If using vegetable stock, add two teaspoons of Worcestershire sauce
Note; I’ve researched some recipes that use a higher roasting temperature, anywhere from 300 - 350 degrees. I’ve noticed that my roasts come out tough and dry with temperatures this high. I’m not entirely sure, but this could be a result of the meat, or where it comes from. I get mine from my parents, who have a small, all-natural farm. The process they use to raise their cattle often results in leaner cuts. Tougher meat at higher temperatures might be a result of less fat content than the same cut found in a grocery store or from a production supplier, pushing different types of corn-based feeds and high-fat grains. Regardless, a roast with less fat content works great so long as you account for temperature. I’ve had great luck producing fork-tender roasts with 250 degree roasting temperatures.
Preheat the oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit. Pat the roast dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the roast and sear each side for 5 - 6 minutes, until a nice crust forms. Remove the roast and set aside.
Add the onion, carrots, and celery to the pot and sauté until the vegetables start to brown, about 6 or 7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the stock, bay leaves, and thyme. Use a wooden spoon to scrap up any fond from the bottom of the pot. Distribute the vegetables evenly along the bottom of the dutch oven. Nestle the roast on top of the vegetables, adding any accumulated juices to the pot. The roast should be partially submerged in the braising liquid. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and roast in the oven for about 3 hours, or until the roast is fork tender.
Remove the roast from the dutch oven, set aside, and tent loosely with aluminum foil. Strain the vegetables and herbs from the braising liquid, setting aside the carrots from the strained herbs. Discard the herbs. Do not wash or rinse the pot. Return the braising liquid to the pot over medium-high heat and bring to a simmer. Whisk the corn starch and cream together in a small bowl. Incorporate cream mixture into the pot and continue to whisk. Gently simmer until reduced and the gravy has thickened, enough to coat the back of a spoon. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Just before serving, use two forks to pull the roast apart. Serve with gravy and carrots on the side.