Our first married Christmas my In-Laws gave Michael a cookbook for Christmas. Mother-in-law really enjoys her version of the same cookbook and it is very handy to have as it explains how to make just about anything you could ever want. Shortly after he received it one of the local stores had roasts on sale so I set off and bought one so that I could make a roast for my new husband, knowing that his new cookbook would surely have a recipe.
It did and I tried it, although I never really followed their list of ingredients, instead choosing to use a seasoning packet made to use for pot roast in a slow cooker. I followed the cooking directions though and always came out with a great roast.
Saturday we were having some really nasty weather. As southerners we aren't used to being cold and don't care for cold weather very much. So when it is cold we require warm, comforting food and if the stove can be on for a good long while to help warm up the house, all the better! I didn't have any of my slow cooker seasoning mix and I was SO not about to go out in nasty weather to retrieve some or risk my darling husband's well being for some stupid spices so I decided that I would follow the recipe exactly, or as exactly as humanly possible for me. :)
When I read the recipe and then looked at the roast package I had an "uh oh" moment. I must say that I consider myself very lucky because my "uh oh" moments are few and far between, but this time I was left scratching my head. My recipe called for a chuck roast between 2 1/2-3 pounds. The roast I had was a Sirloin Tip roast that was a little over 5 pounds. I decided that I would double the other ingredients and slightly increase the cooking time. The recipe calls to cook the roast for an hour, then add the vegetables and then cook for 45 more minutes. I cooked the roast for 1 hour, 15 minutes, then added the vegetables and then cooked for 45 more minutes.
Other changes that I made to the recipe are: I seasoned the roast liberally with kosher salt and fresh ground pepper (I use the multi-colored peppercorns because, really, they are cuter and I think that makes me think that they taste better). Then I seared it on all sides (including the sides by using my tongs to hold the roast on its side). I really felt that the recipe needed some garlic and because if some garlic is good, more must be better, I felt like it could use 3 cloves of garlic. I grated the garlic into the broth that I cooked the roast in. I also believe that things that are cooked slowly (like spaghetti and pot roast) need bay leaves. So I threw two in for good measure. Then to finish it off I grated fresh pepper over everything until I thought my arm would fall off because in my rarely humble opinion, there is no such thing as too much pepper. Other than those things I followed the recipe exactly.
Here it is:
Source: Better Homes & Gardens, the big recipe binder cookbook
Beef Pot Roast
Prep: 20 minutes Cook: 1 3/4 hours
1 2-1/2- to 3-pound boneless beef chuck pot roast
2 tablespoons cooking oil
3/4 cup water
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon instant beef bouillon granules
1 teaspoon dried basil, crushed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 pound tiny new potatoes or 4 medium potatoes or sweet potatoes
1 pound carrots or 6 medium parsnips, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
2 small onions, cut into wedges
2 stalks celery, bias-sliced into 1-inch pieces
1/2 cup cold water
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
Black pepper (optional)
1. Trim fat from meat. In a 4- to 6-quart Dutch oven brown roast on all sides in hot oil. Drain off fat. Combine the 3/4 cup water, Worcestershire sauce, bouillon granules, basil, and salt. Pour over roast. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 1 hour.
2. Meanwhile, if using new potatoes, peel a strip of skin from the center of each. If using medium potatoes or sweet potatoes, peel and quarter. Add potatoes, carrots, onions, and celery to meat. Return to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 45 to 60 minutes more or until tender, adding water if necessary. Transfer meat and vegetables to a platter, reserving juices in Dutch oven. Keep warm.
3. For gravy, measure juices; skim fat. If necessary, add enough water to juices to equal 1-1/2 cups. Return to Dutch oven. In a small bowl stir the 1/2 cup cold water into the flour. Stir into juices in pan. Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened and bubbly. Cook and stir for 1 minute more. If desired, season with pepper. Serve gravy with meat and vegetables.
4. Makes 8 to 10 servings
5. Oven directions: Trim fat from meat. Brown roast as directed above. Combine the 3/4 cup water, Worcestershire sauce, bouillon granules, basil, and salt. Pour over meat. Bake, covered, in a 325 degree F oven for 1 hour. Prepare potatoes as directed. Add vegetables to meat. Cover and bake for 45 to 60 minutes more or until tender. Prepare gravy in a saucepan as directed above.
6. Slow cooker directions: Trim fat from meat. Place vegetables in a 4-1/2- or 5-quart slow cooker. Cut roast to fit, if necessary; place on top of vegetables. Combine the 3/4 cup water, Worcestershire sauce, bouillon granules, basil, and salt. Add to cooker. Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 9 to 11 hours or on high-heat setting for 4-1/2 to 5-1/2 hours. Prepare gravy in a medium saucepan on the range top as in step 3 above. Serve gravy with meat and vegetables.