27 May 2021

Classic Pot Roast

Classic Pot Roast - One-Pot Comfort Food Dinner / www.delightfulrepast.com

Why am I blogging about pot roast when everyone else is talking summer dishes? Two reasons.

One: Because, though it's nearly June, many parts of the country/world are still experiencing some cold days that call for traditional comfort food like this Classic Pot Roast.

When you make this satisfying one-pot meal for people, they are transported back to their childhoods when mothers and grandmothers cooked things many people now feel they haven't the time to cook themselves.

Although this recipe takes time, most of it is unattended. There are no tricky techniques, but you'll find that careful browning brings out the fullest flavor of these subtly seasoned simple ingredients.

Two: Another reason for posting this now is the recent social media kerfuffle about a popular food website that had stopped adding beef recipes to the site last year and were now formally announcing it, saying "our shift is solely about sustainability, about not giving airtime to one of the world’s worst climate offenders. We think of this decision as not anti-beef but rather pro-planet."

Well, I don't get involved in the politics of food—and I don't get self-righteous about my food choices or look down on anyone who doesn't feel the same—but I do give consideration to all that putting food on the table involves.

Classic Pot Roast - One-Pot Comfort Food Dinner / www.delightfulrepast.com

Knowing full well that this is a topic that won't win me any popularity contests—from those who for whatever reason aren't into organic, sustainable, etc, to those who are vegan—I'll repeat here something I wrote years ago:

Though I feel an organic, mostly plant-based diet is more healthful and earth-friendly, I occasionally indulge in a little carefully sourced grass-fed/grass-finished meat from ranches as close to local as possible that practice environmentally friendly agriculture methods and the ethical treatment of animals.

Yes, it is more expensive than conventional supermarket meat, but here are some ways I've found to better afford it:
  • By cutting our meat consumption in half. Most Americans eat more meat than is good for them, so I figure eating the good stuff in smaller portions or less frequently is better for us anyway!
  • I don't buy many "empty calorie" snacks and convenience foods, so more of the grocery budget can go toward whole ingredients.
  • I try very hard not to waste food and have gradually gotten to where I actually waste very little now. And, out of respect for the animals, I make a point to never waste meat.
Anyway ... I'm not here to tell you how or what to eat. You do you, as the saying goes. I'm just here to tell you about what I eat, and how I make it, in case you want to make it too. And if you have me over for dinner, I'm not going to sneer or lecture if you serve me conventional supermarket beef or non-organic imported fruit. You're probably doing other "healthy" or "pro-planet" things that I'm not!

I'd love to get your thoughts on any of this or just about pot roast and comfort food in general. What is your favorite comfort food meal? Is it the same as the one when you were a child?

Classic Pot Roast - One-Pot Comfort Food Dinner / www.delightfulrepast.com

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Classic Pot Roast

(Serves 6 to 8)

1 3- to 4-pound (1.36 to 1.81 kg) boneless chuck roast
1 1/4 teaspoon salt, divided
1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper, divided
1/2 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons (1 fluid ounce/30 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
1 large (12 ounces/340 grams) yellow onion, quartered and separated
1 cup (8 fluid ounces/237 ml) lower-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup (2 fluid ounces/59 ml) water, wine, or broth
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon tomato paste or ketchup
1 bay leaf
3/4 teaspoon marjoram
1 pound (16 ounces/454 grams) baby carrots (or 6 carrots, quartered)
6 medium unpeeled potatoes, quartered (or 8 small, halved)
(I used 16 tiny Yukon golds that averaged 2 ounces each)
4 stalks celery, cut in 2-inch diagonal pieces
Optional: Turnips, rutabagas, parsnips in place of some of the potatoes
(I used a 12-ounce rutabaga*, cut into 8 equal pieces)

* Rutabagas are called swedes in England and neeps, I'm told, in Scotland.

1 Heat 5.5-quart (or larger) Dutch oven; heat oil. Pat beef dry and coat beef with 3/4 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon sugar. Brown well on all sides in hot oil, taking about 15 to 25 minutes; transfer to plate. Preheat oven to 300F/150C/Gas2. Add the onion to the pan and cook until browned, about 15 minutes. Add broth, other liquid, Worcestershire sauce, tomato paste or ketchup, bay leaf, and marjoram; bring to a boil. Put the meat back in the pan.

2 Cover pan with foil and lid, and simmer in preheated oven for 2 hours.

3 Stir in 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper, and add vegetables. Cover as before and return to oven for 2 hours. Discard bay leaf. Remove meat and vegetables to serving platter; cover. Thicken the sauce with a little slurry of water and flour or by just reducing it (boiling it down) to your preferred thickness.

Note: Sometimes I make this several hours or a day ahead so that I can chill the sauce thoroughly until the fat rises to the top, remove most of the fat, and then thicken the sauce. The fat could be used in the baking of Yorkshire Pudding.

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Angie's Recipes said...

It's still very chilly over here too. And I love pot roast, so why not? It looks super duper yummy, Jean.

Jeanie said...

Jean, this looks terrific. I think of pot roast as cold weather food -- and since our temps have dropped about 25 degrees, it might be on the menu!

Lynn and Precious said...

I love roasted rutabaga by any name. And pot roast any time of the year is good too.
I do try to limit the amount of meat I eat just because I tend to think that more
veggies the better. But I do still crave the taste of good stew, pot roast, chicken, etc.
So I try not to get caught up in the controversy of what is right to do or not.
Just think your recipe is simple and fun and tasty. Thanks for coming up with it for us.
Lynn and Precious

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks so much, Angie.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Jeanie, I'm afraid it's pot roast weather for many of us for a while yet!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thank you, Lynn. Sounds like me. I have a small portion of the beef and lots and lots of vegetables.

Thomas "Sully" Sullivan said...

Notwithstanding my carnivore instincts (evolutions eat evolutions, and much research says that plants “feel” threats to their survival too), I get no comfort from the memory of this Sunday afternoon mainstay in my childhood. I could blame it on overcooking – which always seemed to be part of the recipe – but the truth lies more in my jaded tastebuds, which are addicted to spikes in seasonings and sweetness.

TONY said...

A very interesting post, Jean. As you say, food, is connected to politics, geology, science, history health, water colour illustrations, as you have shown us, photography too, indeed, everything connected with life on this planet.
But pot roasts are good, yours being, very good. As for comfort food,give me fish and chips any day. All the best, Tony

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Sully, that's one of the nice things about pot roast—you can season it as much or as little as you like. You can use Indian spices one time, Chinese spices another, Mexican spices. You can vary the vegetables, leave out the potatoes, add sweet potatoes, any number of things. Another way your childhood pot roast might well have been ruined, besides the overcooking, too much liquid may have been used, rendering it boiled rather than braised, washing out a good deal of flavor.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thank you, Tony. Ooh, fish and chips does sound good right about now. I always say, there are so many good things to eat, it doesn't make sense to eat the same thing every day! My mother made THE best fish and chips. She made the lightest, crispiest, crunchiest batter and had the timing down perfectly.

Kitchen Riffs said...

We've got the A/C on right now, but later tonight it's supposed to get down to the high 40s, and the high tomorrow might -- might! -- hit 60. Pot roast weather! This looks great. Although we use meat more and more as a "seasoning" in dishes, we certainly do enjoy a big hunk of meat now and again. And we think grass-fed is the way to go, whenever possible. Nice post -- thanks.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, John! Yes, that's a good way to put it, a "seasoning." I've often thought of it as: vegetables and legumes are my "mains" and meat the "side."

gfe--gluten free easily said...

It's hard to beat a good pot roast! Yours looks delicious, Jean. We're getting unseasonably cold weather and rain this weekend. It always seems to happen on Memorial Day when we have plans to go camping. Pot roast will surely soften the blow. ;-)


Pauline Wiles said...

Yes - cold weather! I made it across to England to see my family and so far it has definitely been pot roast temperatures. Greetings from here, Jean.

Lea Ann (Cooking on The Ranch) said...

Growing up on a ranch in the middle of Kansas, pot roast was our Sunday Dinner. Every Sunday. That dish defines my childhood - as far as food goes. I really like your statement about plant based / meat choices. And I agree. I've always said, If I had to kill an animal for food, I'd become a vegetarian. The convenience of meat in a package disconnects us from the process. I remember so many times as a child being devastated watching my father kill a chicken for dinner, and when the cattle were loaded up for slaughter. With that said, I, like you, am careful about where I purchase any type of meat. And interesting enough, our Son won't eat beef due to climate impact. He's an avid fly fisherman and is concerned about streams in Colorado and their health due to the large cattle grazing practices in our state.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Shirley, thank you. And I hope you have a wonderful weekend despite the weather!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Pauline, thank you for thinking of me from my favourite place on the planet! I hope all the family is well, and I'm sure they're enjoying your visit.

Cheryl said...

Jean, this dish brings back many childhood memories . . . and adult memories too! My mom cooks an amazing roast! She uses a rib roast and cooks it to perfection. We had roast beef pretty frequently when I was growing up. Mom still cooks a roast (or two or three!) for an extended family meal, at least once per year. A roast is also her go-to gift for a thank you or bereavement. In fact, I am helping her to deliver one this weekend!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thank you, Lea Ann, for sharing your thoughts on that. Your son might be interested in reading about regenerative farming. And I'm sure he is concerned about the plant crops that are part of the environmental/climate issues as well. It's so sad when runoff from farming/ranching operations ruin the water and streams.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Cheryl, I love your roast beef story. My mother rarely made pot roast. Like yours, she did rib roasts. She would cut up a chuck for stew meat, which is what I do most often. You and your mom, with a roast in hand, would be welcome most anywhere this weekend! 😊 That is sooo nice!

Lowcarb team member said...

Many thanks for sharing this recipe.
Our weather has not been too summery of late, hopefully it will improve soon and salads will be on the menu :)

My good wishes.

All the best Jan

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thank you so much, Jan. Wishing you a perfect summer!

Sherry's Pickings said...

this sounds very comforting jean. we don't eat a lot of meat, but i enjoy an occasional steak. hubby and i were just saying the other day that it's all very well getting rid of petrol cars (we were discussing electric cars) but it's actually cattle for beef that produces the most environmentally unsound stuff. oh yes it's so hard to know what to do...

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Sherry. Yes, it IS hard to know what to do. There are so many harmful practices in crop agriculture as well. Simply eliminating beef, or meat, will not solve the problems stemming from agriculture. "Regenerative meat" is the latest term I've heard for meat from "farmers practicing regenerative agriculture, which aims to reverse effects of climate change by rebuilding organic matter in soil and restoring degraded soil biodiversity."

Cocoa and Lavender said...

Honestly, nothing “takes me home“ more than the smell and taste of a perfect pot roast! I don’t think I’ve had it since my mother died, and that has been 33 years now. Time for me to make one!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Oh, David, that touched my heart! Your mother died around the same time as mine. Yes, it's time for you to make a pot roast (before the weather heats up!).

Dee | GrammysGrid.com said...

YUM, this is one of our fav meals. Years ago I made it in the oven then upgraded to a crock pot. Now, after discovering an Instant Pot, it's the only way I make it. We usually have it about once a week now. Thanks so much for linking up with me at the Unlimited Link Party 27. Pinned!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Dee. Yes, I sometimes do it in the Instant Pot or slow cooker, but on a really cold day I love making it in the oven, warming up the kitchen at the same time!

Phil in the Kitchen said...

Well, it's really lovely weather here now, but that's not to say that I wouldn't love a pot roast in the cool of the evening and this would do the job very well indeed. Lovely. You're very brave to say anything at all about what rutabagas might be called in Britain. It's a hugely contentious subject over here. Essentially, we would call them a swede in the south of the country. In the north of the country, most people would call them turnips. In Scotland, you're right in saying that swedes are neeps but, in my limited experience, only after they're cooked. Most of the people from north of the border that I've known would probably call a swede a turnip until it's cooked and would call a turnip a "new turnip" or "fresh turnip". I try to avoid mentioning swedes or turnips for fear of starting a massive argument.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Phil, thanks so much for "clearing up" the great rutabaga question! Perhaps, to be safe, we should go with the Latin: Brassica napobrassica. Or maybe just "the controversial root vegetable!"

kitty@ Kitty's Kozy Kitchen said...

I’m a big fan of pot roast, and yours looks so tasty, Jean. Another favorite of mine bid chicken and dumplings. I guess comfort foods are always welcomed by me.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thank you, Kitty. Oooh, yeah, I'm always ready for comfort food, too, maybe I'll make some chicken and dumplings this week!

SImple and Serene Living said...

I don't eat beef very often, but I do love a good pot roast. xo Laura

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thank you, Laura. With all the vegetables, just a small portion of beef can be very satisfying.

Dee | GrammysGrid.com said...

Visiting again to say thanks so much for linking up at the Unlimited Link Party 72. Pinned.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks so much, Dee!

Dee | GrammysGrid.com said...

CONGRATS, Jean! Your post is FEATURED at the Unlimited Link Party 73!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Dee. Much appreciated!