My dad is a man with simple tastes. Nothing makes him happier than a plate full of pancakes and a pitcher full of maple syrup on a Sunday morning – except for maybe my mom’s pot roast for the following five nights.
While I’m busy whisking together a new marinade for the fish he won’t eat, or using the vegetable peeler to make “noodles” for a salad he won’t touch, he’ll say: “you know Han, every cook needs a pot roast recipe in her arsenal. Nothing too fancy – just the good stuff: beef, potatoes, carrots, and onions.”
Although I think he wishes it were more like every other day, once every few weeks, my mom and I will give up trying to feed him things that he’ll just poke at suspiciously and cover in copious amounts of salad dressing, mustard, and/or ketchup. He’ll get his tender hunk of beef, with only the humblest of accompaniments.
Between you and me, there’s a little bit more to the cast of characters than raw boneless beef chuck, potatoes, carrots, and onions. Before the roast gets nestled on top of the vegetables, it gets rubbed all over in a four-ingredient grainy paste. And when my mom and I are feeling a little rebellious, we’ll add a medley of mushrooms to the program too.
It might not look like much…you might even describe it as downright moche [French for “ugly”]…but this pot roast is a crowd pleaser. This is the recipe my mom cut out a million years ago and the one she circles back to, again and again. It roasts in the oven all afternoon, starting out for an hour at 350 degrees F. It’ll just be beginning to smell amazing when it’s time to turn it down 150 degrees, and by dinnertime, it’ll have developed a depth of flavor that just can’t be matched in the slow cooker.
You won’t need a knife [and honestly you’ll hardly even need to work a fork] to shred the beef and slash the vegetables into bite-sizes by the time the 5 hours are up. The carrots are especially memorable – they become extra sweet and deliciously soft when they’re cooked this way.
I have to agree with my dad here – there is something worth savoring about the unpretentious pot roast. And every once in awhile, just for kicks, every cook should try cooking something larger than her head. It’s a real confidence-builder.
Recipe [Serves 6-8]:
2½ lb. beef roast [round or sirloin]
1 lb. carrots, peeled and cut into thirds
1 large onion, peeled and quartered
6-8 potatoes, peeled and quartered
2 tablespoons Dijon-style mustard
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon marjoram
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
1 cup water
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Rinse the roast and pat dry.
In a large roasting pan or Dutch oven, combine the carrots, onion, and potatoes.
In a small bowl, combine the mustard, Worcestershire, marjoram, and allspice to make a paste.
Rub the paste all over the roast and place the roast on top of the vegetables.
Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.
Pour the water in the bottom of the pan.
Cover and cook at 350 degrees F for 1 hour.
Reduce the heat to 200 degrees F and cook for another 3-4 hours.
Let rest 10 minutes before slicing.
Source: Penzeys Spices Magazine