Filed under: Main Dishes
I grew up on Pot Roast. When I was younger, my family would gather at my Grandmother’s house after church for pot roast, cornbread, and salad. Sometimes other side dishes were thrown in, but the gathering always included these three things, and our family’s week revolved around this day and meal. My grandmother’s pot roast was quite delicious, but I unfortunately never had the opportunity to learn her recipe. Like many family recipes, this one ceased to exist when my grandmother left this world and always will reside with her. I want to kick myself on a daily basis, wishing that I had soaked in more of her culinary talent (especially related to the cornbread which had the crispest crust and finest crumb known to any cook that calls the south their home). So, after those many years, Pot Roast came to reside in my mind at the quintessential Sunday family dinner. My recipe is nothing like my Grandmother’s, but has earned a solid place in our household, as it simmers all night and fills our Sunday mornings with yearnings for lunch. I can tell you that this Pot Roast is best served with crusty wheat garlic bread to sop the sauce and juices. Yes, I could make a meal off just that alone. And, yes, please use wheat garlic bread…the subtle nuttiness of the wheat bread perfectly complements the flavors of the roast itself.
Donohoe Pot Roast
1 large onion, sliced
1 bunch of fresh thyme, around 10-15 sprigs
4 garlic cloves, smashed
1 cup of homemade tomato sauce (if you need a good recipe, go here)
2 cans cream of mushroom soup
2 cans reduced sodium, fat free beef broth
2 tsp dried rosemary
2 tsp celery seed
2 bay leaves
6 or 7 carrots
4 or 5 yukon gold potatoes (depending on size of potatoes)
1 beef roast of choice (size or type does not matter here, just pick one that can fit in the base of your crock pot and can still hold vegetables on top)
Salt, fresh ground pepper, and garlic power all to taste.
1. Bring roast to room temperature while prepping other ingredients. Pull out crock pot, plug in, and turn on. If you have a crock pot that’s electronic, set pot to cook on low for eight hours.
2. Prep ingredients. Peel carrots, and cut into 3 to 4 inch chunks. Peel potatoes (and please use yukon gold, the taste and texture of the potato here is imperative to the dish). Depending on the size of the potato, you can either leave whole for small new potato size, or cut in half or fourths. You want the potatoes to be able to sink into the crock pot and around the roast while cooking so they are able to stew in the liquids. Cut onion in slices.
3. Prep base of crock pot. Place onion slices in the bottom of the crock pot and use as a base for the roast to cook on top of. Place smashed garlic cloves in with onions, and half of the required amount of thyme, scattering evenly across base of crock pot. Sprinkle half of the required amount of celery seed in the base of the crock pot as well. Add bay leaves. Season base with salt and pepper to taste. You will want to season each layer of the dish.
4. Prep roast. Place a large skillet over medium high heat, add 1/4 cup olive oil in the pan and allow to come to temperature while prepping roast (you don’t need extra virgin olive oil here, save your expensive stuff). Pat roast dry. Sprinkle LIBERALLY with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and rosemary. Don’t be afraid here. You want the roast to be good and crusted with seasoning on the outside. After skillet has come to temperature, sear roast on all sides until golden and crusty. It will only take a few minutes on each side. Transfer roast to the crock pot and place on top of the onion bed. Leaving the skillet over the medium high heat, add 1 can of beef broth and scrape all browned bits off the bottom of the pan (be careful, it will splutter and sizzle and may splash back on you because you are adding cold liquids to the bottom of a hot pan with oil). After all browned bits have been scraped off, pour liquid over roast in the crock pot.
5. Assemble remaining ingredients in the crock pot . After adding the stock from the skillet, add remaining thyme to the top of the roast. Take your cup of homemade tomato sauce and pour on top of the roast. The acidity of the tomatoes will help break down the roast. After adding tomato sauce, add the two cans of cream of mushroom soup. Smear both the tomato sauce and cream of mushroom soup over the top of the roast until all visible parts are covered. Sprinkle remaining amount of celery seed into crock pot. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add veggies, nesting them around the roast. Season with salt and pepper. Pour remaining amount of beef stock over the veggies to keep them moist.
6. Place lid on crock pot, cook on low for 8 hours.
I usually make this dinner Saturday night, let it cook overnight, and then place my crock pot on the warm setting to keep warm until lunch on Sunday (or whatever day of the week you choose to make it). You also may size up or down the amount of veggies in the recipe depending on your needs and size of your crock pot.
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