How Ina Garten Perfects Seared Pot Roast

Ina Garten's famous Company Pot Roast is the talk of any dinner table it graces, and this is, in part, due to how she sears the meat before she cooks it slow and low. What's the Barefoot Contessa's not-so-secret technique? According to her recipe, Garten coats her boneless beef chuck roast with flour before searing this hunk of meat. It may seem odd that flour is the magic of this meal, but dredging the roast beforehand is a key step.

The flour is the catalyst for the Maillard reaction which promotes and produces that lovely browning we know and love, all while enhancing the flavor with a caramelized effect. But that's not all the flour does for Garten's pot roast. It also enhances the texture, creating a thin crust when it sizzles in your Dutch oven. The slightly crunchy and crispy element it generates on the exterior complements the soft and tender meat on the interior.

Dredging your pot roast also helps to thicken the sauce

As Garten explains, her use of flour to brown her roast has other added benefits. It also helps to create all the makings for a thick pan sauce. This is because when you sear the roast, all those bits of flavorful drippings form. The flour soaks up the fat and juices from the meat and thickens, creating a smooth, savory, and tasty sauce.

However, there are even more delicious outcomes as a result of rolling your roast around in flour before you cook it that go beyond a beautiful sear and thicker sauce. Flour helps salt and pepper adhere to the surface of your roast to enhance its overall flavor. It can also help lock in some of those juices, which, in turn, leaves you with a more succulent, moister pot roast. Flour also helps to make clean-up a little easier by forming a barrier between the pot and the meat, staving off any sticky messes.