Sunday, March 20, 2011

Pot Roast. Easy and All-American.

Pot roast. It's what's for dinner tonight! I love to serve it
with rye bread to soak up the wonderful gravy.

This is one of many ways to fix a chuck roast. My grocer had them on sale so I grabbed one remembering the good ole days when the sale price was the regular price.

Chuck roasts lend themselves to a long, slow braising time to break down the meat into tender, fall-apart, melt-in-your-mouth tenderness. Chances are, you have most of the ingredients on hand, a can of mushroom soup, a package of dry onion soup, a bit of sour cream and some canned mushrooms. Add sides of steamed carrots and mashed potatoes or noodles and you have an all-American meal!

My roast was small, around 2.75 lbs., (easily serves 2-3 people) so I used only about 3/4 can of mushroom soup and 1/2 package of the dry onion soup (empty the entire contents of one envelope into a bowl or plate. Mix the powder and the dry onions together and then use half.)

  • 1, 2-5 lb. chuck roast
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 envelope dry onion soup mix (I used half for a roast this size)
  • Optional: 1 small can mushroom pieces, drained, saving the liquid or several fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 cup liquid. This may be 1/4 cup beef stock mixed with 1/4 cup water, or all water or chicken stock, or the mushroom liquid mixed with beef stock or chicken stock. It will be richer if part beef stock is used.
  • 3-4 fresh thyme stems or about 1/4-1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
  • (Optional) 1/2 cup sour cream mixed with 1-2 tablespoons flour
  • (Optional) 3-4 drops Worcestershire

Wipe the chuck roast with a damp paper towel. Coat on all sides with dry onion soup mix.
If desired, pepper it (the soup mix has plenty of salt already). Place in a deep Dutch oven.
If using dried thyme, sprinkle on top along with mushroom pieces. Pour in liquid around the roast and place garlic slices around it in the liquid. Spoon dollops of cream of mushroom soup on top. If using fresh thyme, place sprigs on top. Cover. 

Place on top of stove and bring to a slow boil. Reduce to simmer and slow simmer for 3 hours, turning once or twice, or until meat is tender and beginning to fall apart OR place in a slow oven, around 250-300 for the same amount of time. (If it's warm outside, I settle for the range option. If it's cold out, I put on the oven.) I usually flip it half-way through.

When it's done, it will have made a lovely gravy in addition to filling your living space with a rich aroma.

Notice the fat that has risen to the top.

Remove the roast to a plate and tent with tin foil. Remove fat from gravy. I use the paper-towel method. Simply take a piece of paper towel and place on top of gravy. It will soak the grease. Using a side-sweeping motion, remove and throw away. Repeat until most of the fat is gone.

In the lower left, you can see the meat just beginning to fall apart.

Bring gravy to a simmer and add the sour cream that has been mixed with the flour. Whisk until smooth. Add just a few drops of Worcestershire. Taste. Gravy won't be thick but a creamy consistency.

Make the gravy as rich or as thick as you'd like.

You may also thicken the gravy with Wondra Flour, which I've also done. Or mix flour into butter (two parts flour to one part butter) and then add.

Notes: Don't throw out any leftover gravy. It's great served over noodles/pasta. I used to make this in the crock pot and if you work and are pressed for time, that's the way to go. But sometimes it's overcooked and simply shreds apart (but it's still good!!!!).

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