A pot roast is a classic braise – a large piece of meat, partially covered in liquid, covered in a pot and cooked at a low temperature for a long period of time. Luckily, the best cuts of beef for braising just so happen to be the less expensive cuts as well – chuck roast, round roast, etc… These cuts are super flavorful, but they tend to be very tough and need time and moisture in order to break down the muscle fibers and render the beef tender. So, while you won’t pay in dollars for this meal, you will pay in time. A pot roast on the stovetop takes at least three hours. Enter the pressure cooker… When you pressure cook a pot roast, you can cut this time by one third and get it done beautifully in an hour.
You’ll start by searing the roast to get some color on it and to add flavor to the exterior. If your pressure cooker has a brown setting, you can do this right in the pot. Otherwise, sear it on the stovetop in a large pan. (You might find that searing the roast on the stovetop is faster than using the pressure cooker, depending on the size of cooker you have and how powerful the browning function is.) Once browned, the beef goes into the pressure cooker along with some aromatic vegetables, herbs and liquid. Adding red wine and beef stock as the liquid helps build depth of flavor, but if you’re someone who doesn’t like to cook with alcohol, you can leave it out and substitute more stock in its place.