Thursday, March 4, 2010

Pot Roast

I love a good pot roast. Flavorful roast beef cooked with veggies until the meat falls apart and the potatoes and carrots are full of the beefy juices.

 Leftovers turned into a hash for dinner the next night and roast beef sandwiches for lunches. Yum!

 This past week, I found some boneless chuck on sale. The ad said ‘7 bone.’ But the meat cutters removed it. Damn. Love them bones! I forgot the freeze my last batch of $.99 ribs (I know, wasteful) and they went bad; really, really bad. I cooked up the roast, boneless, and we did pig out!

 My Mom always cooked all roasts the same way. She put the raw meat into a battered, old Dutch oven, added a sliced onion, and baked at 350F for four hours. One hour before serving, she added carrots and potatoes, and started two quarts of green beans laced with bacon. I was at least 17 before I found out some people brown their roast meat before cooking it. And, that they may also add water to the ‘roast’ or should I say, boil. AND they par-boil the potatoes and carrots for that golden color.

 Moms’ friend, Lois, always cooked her roasts on a low burner all day. Can we say ‘slow cooker’ ala 1950’s? I watched my MIL cook a frozen standing rib roast by frying the ends and then, covering and cooking for one hour at 500F. I couldn’t believe it was delicious! If I had tried that; well, can we say, burned and raw?

 Pot Roast
Preheat oven to 400F

 1 TBSP vegetable oil
1 chuck roast
1 onion, roughly chopped
8 potatoes, peeled and halved
4 carrots, cut into 2 inch pieces
  1.  Heat the oil in a Dutch oven on a medium-high burner until it shimmers.
  2. Add the meat and brown on all sides, even the ends.
  3. As you finish the browning, add the onion to the bottom of the pan
  4. Cover and place in oven, cook 3 - 4 hours.
  5. One hour before the roast is finished, add the carrots and potatoes, cover and finish cooking.
  6. When done, put the roast on a plate to rest, spoon the vegetables into a bowl for serving. Make the gravy. Then carve the meat just before serving.
Serves 4

 The best roast gravy I ever had was that made by my Grandma Cora. We loved dinner at Grandpa Jake’s and Grandma Cora’s’ especially when she fixed a roast. One day, I finally asked her how she made such deep, dark, flavorful gravies. She said, “First you burn the meat.”

 Huh? I quietly asked about burning the meat. Grandma chuckled and told me how it happened. She was preparing dinner one day and got busy with one of the boys (either Uncle Ed or Dad) and left the roast too long. While the meat was dried out and overdone, the gravy was her best. Grandpa raved over the gravy. After that, she always overcooked the meat to get that fabulously rich gravy.

 Of course there was that trade-off; either great gravy or overdone meat. Years later, my Aunt Diane told of cooking steaks for family dinners. She always thought everyone liked Grandma’s overcooked meat; so she fried her steak medium to the other’s well done. By the time the serving platter got to her, her steak was on either Uncle Jerry’s or Grandpa’s plate and they were devouring it. She learned to make medium steaks for everyone, except Grandma’s well done. I told her about Grandma’s story and she laughed. That was the explanation she never had!

 Roast Gravy
1 pint homemade beef stock
2 TBSP cornstarch
  1. After removing the meat and vegetables, use a fat strainer to remove any excess fat Pour drippings back into Dutch oven.
  2.  Add 2 cups homemade beef broth and bring to a boil.
  3.  Mix 2 TBSP cornstarch in 2 TBSP water and whisk into the boiling beef stock.
  4. The gravy is finished when it comes back to the boil and becomes clear and shiny, just a minute or two.
Roast Beef Hash
Leftover meat, gravy, and vegetables
1 tsp vegetable oil
  1. Grate the potatoes and carrots, set aside
  2.  Chop the meat into small pieces.
  3.  Stir up the cold gravy.
  4.  Heat the oil on medium-high in a non-stick skillet until it shimmers.
  5.  Add the meat, vegetables and gravy to moisten the food and brown.
  6.  Continue adding gravy to moisten the food and allowing it to brown.
  7.  When the hash gets lots of browned bits, turn the heat down to medium and allow the bottom to brown into a crust.
  8.  When the bottom is crusty, turn out on to a plate. To serve cut the finished hash into wedges and serve with chili sauce.


  1. Susan, I LOVE the new website!! Re. Pot Roasts...I feel like such a meat virgin, LOL. What would you suggest would be the best cut of beef to get for a roast. My mom suggests English Roast? I have found them on sale, but I thought I might ask you too since you have a lot of experience as well.


  2. Karsyn, Thanks, it was a fun project.
    I guess it really depends on how you want to cook the roast.
    For pot roast I prefer a lean 7 bone chuck roast, arm roast, or a rump roast.
    For a real roasted, uncovered, roast I prefer a rib roast.
    Even now, I talk with the meat cutters in the store to see what they suggest. They are able to suggest alternate cuts and sometimes they have a bargain behind the counter.