In our household growing up in the suburbs of Newark, New Jersey we ate pot roast fairly often. I don’t recall the side dishes, or what else came along with the meat, but probably the pot contained potatoes and carrots, onions naturally, and perhaps other vegetables. To this day, I’m not fond of potatoes in stews or with pot roast. They get too soft and mushy. I’d rather enjoy mashed potatoes alongside. My taste buds certainly remember how tender and tasty the meat was. My mother never cooked when I was a child; we had one main maid, who we–my two brothers and sister– called ‘Nanny”. Initially form Hungry she lived with us for twenty years and cooked all our meals, some with an Eastern European flare. I didn’t learn how to cook from her, but I hung around the kitchen sometimes and watched. Perhaps I caught on to some of her cooking skills..
Once married I attended a cooking class, this was back in the early 1970s. I don’t remember the topic or anything much about the class; however, the instructor was exuberant; I could tell she enjoyed herself, laughing often as she tossed tools around in the studio kitchen that the community college provided. At 23, this began my foray into anything kitchen. Over the last decade my love of cooking and baking has risen to exceptional proportions; which is why I wrote-a cookbook. I cook or bake nearly everyday; it’s my passion and I find it deeply satisfying!
My first small dutch oven, about a 6 quart size, given to me as a wedding present, lasted nearly 40 years! It finally broke apart! I went without one for years and just recently purchased a new red shiny one; it’s seven quart, with a cast iron finish inside. It’s lovely and I’m sure it will last for decades, it probably will out live me! It’s very heavy; it seems that as I get older I’m going to need help hauling it in and out of the oven! At forty years old heavy lifting was simple, no problem, but at seventy years old everything seems so much heavier!
I’m always finding more, better and different recipes for everything. Some dishes come from my cookbook collection, some from the internet, and many I create on my own after all these years of cooking and baking. I experiment a lot and repeat my successes!
Although quite traditional and simple, once a few techniques are learned, this recipe sure tasted delicious! Pot roast is a timeless dish. it’s warm and yummy on a cold winter’s day! it’s always welcome in my household with my husband and I or when I serve it to company or to friends.
Please share with me your cooking methods for pot roast? Are your recipes from your childhood? Are they different from mine? I’ve used a slow cooker sometimes with good results. Lt me know if you might add something unique or outlandish to boost the flavor of the meat, or the sauce? I do enjoy sharing recipes.
3 – 3 1/2 lb beef chuck roast
2 tsp. salt
3-5 Tbsp vegetable or olive oil
5 carrots, cut in 2 inch pieces, peeled or not, your choice
1 large onion, cut in quarters, or in large coarse pieces
3-5 cups beef or chicken broth
2 1/2 Tbsp flour
1 1/4 cup water
2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
salt and pepper to taste
1 Let the roast come to room temperature. Dry it well with a few paper towels or a dry dishcloth . If time allows, rub the roast completely with the first large amount of salt, letting it sit on the kitchen counter for an hour or two as the salt penetrates the meat. (You can even salt the day before you’re cooking the meat and naturally keep it in the refrigerator.) if you don’t have one or two hours, or if you don’t think of cooking until the day of, than try to put the salt on ten or thirty minutes before you start to cook. Adding salt to meat early, before cooking starts boost the flavor of the roast once cooking finishes and helps too to tenderize it. Do not leave your meat, this meat or any meat once salted or not, out on the counter for more than 2 hours.
2 Heat about 3 tablespoons of oil to medium-high in a large 6-8 quart heavy pot or dutch oven. Add the roast and for about 10-15 minutes, let the roast brown on all sides, including any thinner sides. Leave the roast in one spot for a few minutes, this will let each spot sear well. Do not let the roast burn, watch carefully and turn as needed. Add additional oil if needed. Once nicely brown, remove to a plate and cover with aluminum foil or wax paper. Preheat the oven to 275.
3 In the same pan add the carrots, cook and stir occasionally over medium-heat for several minutes as the carrots slowly get a bit brown, and cook just slightly. Sprinkle some salt on them. Then add the whole onion and cook 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally as both vegetables brown slightly. Scrap up any bits of browning left from the meat, adding another small amount of oil, if needed. The vegetables need not cook totally through at this point.
4 Return the meat to the pot. Cook everything on low-medium for 3-5 minutes as the flavors blend, sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon of salt and the same amount of pepper over the meat and vegetables. Add the beef or chicken broth to the pot to roughly cover the meat halfway up. Do not submerge the meat all the way beneath the water. Bring the ingredients to a boil, than reduce it to a simmer for a few minutes.
5 With the cover on the pot, place it in the oven and cook for 3 hours. Check for tenderness after 2 or 2 1/2 hours. You don’t want the meat totally falling apart when it’s cooked, at least I don’t. However, you want it to feel very tender when poked with a sharp knife. After the first 1 1/2 hours put the pot on top of the stove and carefully remove the carrots and onions to a small bowl; they are nearly soft. Cover them to keep warm. Or, leave them in longer in the pot if you wish them softer. Return the covered pot to the oven and finish cooking the meat.
6 Once the meat feels tender after testing; with a strong and large fork, remove it to a plate, cover to keep warm. After several minutes, once the pan juices have cooled discard most of the juices, leaving roughly one half to one cup. Put this in at least a one quart pot and heat it on low for a few minutes. Make a paste out of one quarter cup of the water and the flour; stir until smooth. Stir this into the pot on the stove until it just starts to simmer, than immediately, but slowly add the other cup of water. (You can use beef or chicken stock here if you wish.) Add two tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce to the pot. Let the liquid come to a good simmer. stirring occasionally. This may take several minutes while the sauce thickens. Taste if additional seasoning is needed.
7 With a sharp knife, slice the meat in fairly thick pieces, against the grain, but too some of the meat may naturally be falling apart, that’s fine at t his point. Pour the warm gravy over the meat and vegetables and serve alongside steamy mashed potatoes