Cutting your large pot roast into mini, single-sized roasts seems to be all the rage these days, and who am I to go against the rage?

That looks delicious! Scroll me straight down!

There are a few added bonuses to cutting up your large roast into smaller, single-sized pieces. There is more real estate to sear sides of the meat (which is almost always a good thing), since the chunks are smaller the meat gets more tender still, and you know you will have enough for everyone; just cut your roast into chunks per person.

Smaller roasts mean more real estate for searing. Make sure you don't over crowd the pan to get a really good sear on these puppies.

Smaller roasts mean more real estate for searing. Make sure you don’t over crowd the pan to get a really good sear on these puppies.

I switched out the carrots for a root vegetable that goes a little better with the low and slow technique: the turnip! (You can also use rutabaga, which is a touch sweeter.) Since they do so well low and slow, I cut out the extra step the original recipe had of sautéing the carrots and throwing them in at the end. Sure, there’s no butter in my recipe, but you are more than welcome to throw some in that sauce while you’re letting the meat rest.

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You can use dried herbs if you must, but fresh is better. Just get one of those rosemary tree things; they are very hard to kill.

Also, here’s a tip from my sister-in-law: When you are braising something in a dutch oven or other pot in the oven, wrapping the lid in aluminum foil helps make your lid nice and tight and keeps any moisture from sneaking out. (Thanks Jane!)

Moisture can be sneaky: don't let it tiptoe out of your pot, leaving the roast high and dry!

Moisture can be sneaky: don’t let it tiptoe out of your pot, leaving your dinner high and dry!

This recipe, including prep time, takes right at or just under 2 hours, so you can even throw this together on a weeknight because it’s only about 10-20 minutes of active cooking time. Then you can go and do something else, like wrangle small children, go for a run, watch some TV, have a drink or do whatever it is you do after work. 90 minutes later: BAM! One pot dinner of awesomeness for no good reason other than why not appreciate a nice meal on a weeknight. You’re welcome.

Mini elk pot roasts

Serves 4
Prep time 30 minutes
Cook time 1 hour, 30 minutes
Total time 2 hours
Website The Kitchn

Ingredients

  • 2lb elk rump roast (cut into four pieces)
  • 2 tablespoons olive or other oil
  • 1 onion (diced)
  • 5 cloves garlic (finely chopped)
  • 1/2 bottle red wine
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 Large turnip or rutabaga (diced)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh orange zest
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon fresh time leaves (for garnicsh)

Directions

Step 1
Preheat the oven to 325. Heat one tablespoon of the oil in a large dutch oven over medium high. Sear all sides of the mini roasts well and set aside, working in two batches if necessary. Turn the heat down to medium, add the second tablespoon of olive oil and the onion, garlic and turnips. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Cook until the onions are soft, about 7-10 minutes.
Step 2
Add the wine to deglaze the pan and scrape up any crusty bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the meat back into the pan along with the rosemary and thyme sprigs and orange zest. Cover with a tight fitting lid (wrapping aluminum foil around a not-so-tight lid seals it right up) and cook in the oven until the meat is nice and tender, about 90 minutes.
Step 3
Let rest for about 10-15 minutes before serving. Serve roast with turnips and sauce over rice, noodles or by itself.
Non-game substitution: Chuck roast is the most common of beefy pot roasts, but if you are feeling extra snazzy look for beef cheeks; they will be more tender.
Vegetarian substitution: If you are a vegetarian, maybe don’t try to make a pot roast. Just sayin’.

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