Julia's Simply Southern: Old Fashioned Pot Roast >

Monday, February 8, 2016

Old Fashioned Pot Roast


Old fashioned pot roast is a family favorite. Its comforting goodness is something a lot of us grew up with. As a bonus, it fills the house with it's intoxicating aromas while cooking. My stomach was rumbling waiting for this one to cook. Okay, it was roaring like a lion. This classic pot roast is easy to make and will turn out delicious every time following a few basic steps.

1 Beef Chuck Roast
2 c Cut Carrots
1 large Onion
1 c Baby Bella Mushrooms, cut in half or quarters depending on size
2 large Russet Potatoes, peeled and cut into small wedges
 - plan for 1/2 potato per person so add more if you're feeding more
1 14oz can Beef Broth
Kosher Salt
Cracked Black Pepper
Onion Powder
Garlic Powder
2 tbs Vegetable Oil, for searing the meat
3 tbs Cornstarch, for gravy made from pan drippings
1 c Water, for gravy made with pan drippings

I didn't give measurements for the seasonings on this recipe because you're just going to sprinkle some on to cover the meat on all sides and season the vegetables when you add them.

First, remove the chuck roast from the refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature. Go ahead and season all sides with salt, cracked pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder. Allow to stand 30-45 minutes to reach room temperature.

Heat a cast iron skillet or large dutch oven over medium high heat, add 2 tbs vegetable oil to cover bottom of the pan. When the pan is hot add roast to sear on each side. It should only take 1-2 minutes per side if the pan is hot enough. 

Contrary to the popular belief, we do not sear meat to seal in the juices. Shocking I know. I once thought the same thing myself. It is what we've always been told after all. Alton Brown explains it here To Sear or Not to Sear . So if it is not to seal in the juices, why do we sear meat? Is it even necessary. The answer is yes because the searing does add flavor. Searing over high heat caramelizes the surface of the meat. This not only adds lots of rich flavor, it gives the meat a more appealing beautiful color. It's worth the five or so minutes of time it takes to sear the meat. Just do it!

Spray a large baking dish and add your roast once you've seared ALL sides. Yes that means holding the meat with tongs to sear the skinny sides too. Does a roast have "skinny" sides? Thin sides? You know what I mean. 

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Cut up the vegetables. You're not going to add all of the vegetables at the beginning of cooking. If you added the carrots and potatoes in the beginning you would have vegetable mush as a result and that is no good. Halve your onion and cut into slices. Depending on the size of your mushrooms half or quarter. Peel and cut carrots into chunks, set aside for later. Peel and cut potatoes into chunky wedges, add to a bowl and cover with water to use later during cooking.

TIP: place a moist paper towel under cutting boards to prevent them from sliding on counter tops.

Go ahead and surround your roast with the onions and mushrooms. Add 1 can of beef broth. Cover baking dish with foil sealing sides. 

Place into your 350 degree preheated oven and cook for 1 1/2 hour. We're not done yet, we are going to add more vegetables at this point. Go ahead and add your carrots and potatoes. Season the vegetables with salt and pepper. Recover with foil and return to the oven. 

Cook for another 1 1/2 hours. So that's a total of 3 hours cooking time. 

When times up remove your delicious, tender old fashioned pot roast from the oven. Transfer the roast to a serving tray. Remove all of the vegetable with a slotted and add to the serving tray.

You've got some yummy cooking juices and bits left in the bottom of the baking dish. Don't discard it. We can make a delicious pan gravy with it. Transfer the juices to a small sauce pan. I probably had about an inch of liquid when I added it to the sauce pan. Bring the juices to a boil over medium heat. 

In a measuring cup add 1 cup of cold water. Add 3 tbs of cornstarch and stir to mix. Once the pan drippings come to a boil, add the water/cornstarch mix (stir before adding to the saucepan as some of the cornstarch will have settled to the bottom of the measuring cup).

After adding water and cornstarch to pan drippings, stir constantly until it thickens. It will happen like magic and you'll know when it does. Remove immediately from heat. Pour into your favorite gravy boat or bowl for serving. 

TIP: While the meat is resting on the serving tray, take a moment to wash your baking dish. The hot dish will clean up much easier.

Now, let's serve up our delicious dinner. Plate your pot roast with a generous helping of the vegetables. Drizzle some of that fantastic pan gravy you've created and serve. 

Are you thinking what I'm thinking? Pot Roast Sandwiches tomorrow for lunch! YUM!

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