If you love pot roast and you love curry, you’re going to really love red curry beef pot roast! It’s the perfect mash-up of a classic pot roast and the flavors of Thai red curry. Don’t tell anyone but there’s a secret ingredient too. (It’s cashew butter!)
Red Curry Beef Pot Roast:
If you love pot roast, but need a new twist on the classic recipe, then this red curry beef pot roast is for you! Think about the best parts of a pot roast, like the browned, super tender beef and veggies slowly cooking in a rich broth in the oven. Now add flavorful ingredients like Thai red curry, garlic, ginger and coconut milk, and you have the ultimate modern pot roast. And then there’s that secret ingredient, the cashew butter. It might sound a little strange, but you’ll love the creamy richness and nuttiness it adds.
Chuck roast is the perfect cut of beef for pot roast. It only gets better the longer you roast it. It used to be one of the least expensive cuts of beef, but these days it can get pricey. When I saw a great special running at my grocery store, I grabbed it! Once I got it home, I also spied the jar of red curry paste in my pantry that I had impulsively purchased a few weeks before. The wheels started turning and a Thai inspired beef pot roast was born – the best of both worlds!
The star of the dish though is the red curry paste. You can find jars of red (and green) curry paste online and in most grocery stores. It’s usually in the Asian section, conveniently located next to the coconut milk and fish sauce you’ll also need for this recipe.
Curry pastes are blends of different herbs, spices and aromatics. The exact ingredients vary from brand to brand, but the basics are lemongrass, dried chili peppers, garlic, kaffir lime zest, cilantro, shallots, peppercorns, cumin, coriander and sometimes shrimp paste. That’s a lot of ingredients! While you can make your own if you’re up for a project, I used premade red curry paste in this recipe.
I recently went to one of our local Asian markets and found a huge variety of curry pastes, fish sauces, soy sauces, and everything else you can imagine. If you get a chance, definitely take a field trip to an Asian market. In the mean time, your favorite grocery store or Amazon has everything you need to make your red curry beef pot roast.
I also used fish sauce to flavor the sauce. Fish sauce is a fermented anchovy sauce that’s used in many Asian cuisines, especially Thai and Vietnamese. The name is kind of off-putting, but even if you’ve never cooked with fish sauce before, you’ve probably eaten it. It’s the base of that delicious sauce you dip your fried spring rolls into, and it’s an important flavoring in curries and stir fries of all kinds. Fish sauce adds complexity, saltiness and savoriness to your recipe. It’s similar to the way Worcestershire sauce is used in Western dishes. The flavor doesn’t overwhelm, it enhances. (Fun fact, there are also anchovies in Worcestershire sauce.) But, word to the wise, do not smell the fish sauce when you open it. Just use it in the curry sauce and you will love it!
The Preparation – the Roast:
You’ll start your red curry beef pot roast by browning the beef in a large dutch oven. You want a large, high sided pot with a cover that can go from stovetop to oven. When the beef is browned, you’ll remove it from the pot and then saute your onions, ginger and garlic. Next add the red curry paste to the hot pan. The heat will give the spices in the curry paste a chance to “bloom”, or become more flavorful.
Now you’ll add most of the other ingredients: the coconut milk, beef stock, fish sauce, brown sugar and lime peel. Stir to combine everything and then place your beautifully browned beef roast into the pot. Nestle it in to the broth and bring the liquid back to a boil. Next you’ll cover the pot and put it in the oven for an hour. This will start the magical process of tenderizing and flavoring your roast.
The Preparation – the Veggies:
When I was thinking about what kind of veggies to use, I thought that since most Thai red curries are made with green beans in the broth, I would definitely want to add those. And of course you can’t have a pot roast without potatoes! Since green beans and potatoes cook at different rates, you’ll stagger adding them to the pot.
After your pot roast has cooked for an hour, you’ll add the potatoes and the cashew butter to the pot. There’s that cashew butter I keep saying is the secret ingredient in your red curry beef pot roast! It really is surprising though. It adds depth of flavor, creaminess and nuttiness to the sauce. And if you can’t find cashew butter, or don’t like it, you can substitute peanut butter! Now you’ll put the roast back in the oven for another hour and a half. The last thing to add will be your green beans. They don’t take long to cook, maybe another thirty minutes. So all told your roast will be in the oven for a total of about three hours.
The best part of making a pot roast is that the majority of the cooking time is passive. Once it’s in the oven, there isn’t too much to do besides open up a bottle of wine, kick your feet up and wait! Or do the dishes, catch up on your favorite shows, and play Nerf war with your son. Whatever works.
When you take your red curry beef pot roast out of the oven, it should be fall apart tender. Even though there are potatoes in the recipe, I still like to serve this with rice on the side to soak up all the delicious red curry coconut sauce! This completely goes against the rule about not serving two starches with a meal, but I can’t help it, I’m a rebel.
Upgrade your next pot roast with a few Thai curry inspired additions! You’re going to love it.
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Red Curry Beef Pot Roast
Upgrade your pot roast with a few Thai curry inspired additions!
- Yield: 6-8
- 2 1/2 – 3 pound beef chuck roast
- salt and pepper
- 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 white or yellow onion, large dice
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 inch piece of fresh ginger root, minced
- 4 tablespoons red curry paste
- 1 14 oz can of coconut milk (not light) – can well shaken
- 2 cups beef stock or water
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 – 3 strips of lime peel (or lime leaves)
- 1/2 cup cashew butter
- 5-6 white or yukon gold potatoes, quartered
- 1 1/2 – 2 cups fresh green beans, tops and bottoms cut off, then cut in half
- 1/2 cup cashew nuts, roughly chopped
- Fresh cilantro
- white rice for serving
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
- Sprinkle both sides of the beef chuck roast with kosher salt and black pepper.
- Heat 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a large dutch oven over medium heat. Add the roast to the pot and brown for 5-6 minutes on both sides. If you have an irregularly shaped roast, brown on all sides. Remove the roast to a plate.
- Add another tablespoon of vegetable oil to the pot and then add the chopped onions. Saute for 5 minutes or so until softened. Add the garlic and ginger and saute for an another minute.
- Add the red curry paste to the pot and stir for about a minute, letting the paste bloom in the hot oil, but not burn.
- Now add the coconut milk, stock, fish sauce, brown sugar and lime peel and stir to combine. Add the roast back into the pot. Once the liquid comes to a boil, cover and put into the preheated oven.
- After an hour has passed, take the roast out of the oven and add the cashew butter and the potatoes to the pot, making sure to tuck the potatoes down into the sauce. Cover and return to the oven for another hour and a half.
- Remove the roast and add the green beans to the pot. Return to the oven for a final thirty minutes. The roast should be fall apart tender at this point. If it isn’t, or if you bought a bigger roast, it may need more time in the oven.
- Using two forks, pull the roast apart into large pieces for serving. I like to serve the pot roast on a bed of rice, and then sprinkle some chopped cashews and cilantro on top!
You can substitute peanut butter for the cashew butter in this recipe, then sprinkle with chopped peanuts instead of the cashews!