A blade pot roast, also commonly referred to as a blade roast or blade chuck roast, is so named because it is cut from the shoulder blade area of a beef carcass. It commonly includes the rib bone, backbone, blade bone and a significant amount of muscle and connective tissue. A pot roast is typically about 3 to 4 pounds (approximately 1.3 to 1.8 kg) in weight and about 3 to 4 inches (approximately 51 to 76 mm) thick.
This type of roast, as well as many large chunks of meat labeled chuck roast, greatly benefits from braising. This method requires the meat to be placed in a deep pan, normally a Dutch oven, with enough liquid to come about half way up the sides of the piece of meat. The pan must be covered with a secure-fitting lid to prevent the liquid from evaporating during the long cooking process. Slow cooker or crock-pot recipes for pot roast are also quite popular.
Dry roasting, which means placing the meat in an uncovered pan with no liquid before placing it into the oven, is not normally a recommended cooking method for a blade pot roast. While meat cuts that are more expensive may benefit from dry roasting, which yields a crispy exterior and tender interior, a less expensive cut such as a blade pot roast requires long cooking to break down the fiber in the meat and dissolve the collagen connective tissue to create a rich, natural gravy for the finished dish. This melted collagen also significantly increases the rich beef flavor in the dish.
Although hundreds, if not thousands, of pot roast recipes exist, the one generally considered the most popular by many cooks has a minimal amount of ingredients. Along with the blade pot roast or similar cut of meat, root vegetables are placed in the pot to slow cook with the meat. These vegetables typically include onions, carrots and potatoes. Parsnips are favored over potatoes by some cooks.
To make this well-liked recipe, generously salt and pepper all surfaces of the meat. Some recipes recommend adding a bit of garlic powder to the seasonings. Others suggest making tiny cuts all over the roast and stuffing the pockets with slivers of fresh garlic. Dredge the roast in flour and quickly brown it on all sides in oil. This step should be done in the pot in which the roast is to be cooked.
Once the browning is complete, remove the pot from the heat. Add the preferred vegetables, which should be peeled and cut in large chunks so they do not fall apart during the cooking process. Next, add the liquid to the pot. This can include water, beef broth or red wine. Securely place the lid on the pot and cook in the oven at 350F degrees (177C degrees) for two to three hours. The meal is done when the meat of the roast easily yields to the tines of a fork, and the vegetables are fork-tender.