Friday, March 15, 2013

NO-FAIL-NO-FEAR POT ROAST


You have my personal guarantee that, if you follow these directions exactly, your pot roast will be one of those recipes that will be passed down in your family for generations.

This was the meal my mother always had ready when we arrived after a long road trip from Arizona to her home in Illinois. Never knowing exactly when we might get there, the pot roast was waiting. These are warm and comforting memories.

The smells of the dinner, the candlelight, the soft neutral colors of her d├ęcor and the table set perfectly with beautiful china and silver, showed that she was expecting us…that she loved us.

I now realize how anxious she must have been that we arrive safely as I worry about my family when they are traveling…well, and not traveling…pretty much, I worry about them all the time.

“Let go and let God” is my motto but I’m not very good at practicing it.

For me, there’s no greater feeling than to come home from work having dinner ready and the house smelling welcoming for my family when they arrive hungry.

Slow cooker cooking is the working woman’s dream appliance.  However, you still need to do a little planning a couple of days in advance.

If the meat is frozen, put it in the refrigerator at least one day ahead to thaw. Have other ingredients on hand so you can throw it all together before you go to work.

It is also a rewarding surprise on the weekends when you can do some work putting your concoction into the slow cooker in the morning, leave for the day to have some fun and return to a fully cooked meal for the evening.

I serve this recipe with a small, fresh, green salad, some fresh baked garlic bread and plenty of soft, unsalted butter for your potatoes.

If you don’t want to put the potatoes in the slow cooker then make some mashed potatoes to go with it.

The gravy is always perfect and there’s plenty of it!

I will give you two different methods of cooking your pot roast. One is the easy way and leaves out some work. The other is the ultimate way and just takes a little while longer to put together. The ingredients are the same. The cooking time is also the same…all day.



 You will need:

1 10-inch skillet
1 5-quart slow cooker (for each roast)
Wire whisk
Large slotted spoon
Serving platter
Large vegetable bowl
Gravy boat and ladle

Ingredients:

6 slices bacon
3-4 pound beef chuck cross rib boneless roast
1 can Campbell's Cream of Mushroom Soup with Roasted Garlic
(I use Campbell's. Why? Saving the Labels for Education can make a difference. Please, read about it online and register.)
Knorr French Onion Soup Mix (found in packaged soup section)
Garlic salt
Fresh ground pepper                
Unsalted butter
1 medium onion
8 fresh carrots cut into large chunks. I don’t peel the carrots.
6 medium potatoes, peeled and cut in half.

The Ultimate Method 

Fry the bacon for breakfast. Save most of the grease from cooking the bacon in a glass or ceramic cup. Fry eggs in the rest and eat the bacon.



Heat 3 tablespoons butter or oil in a Dutch oven or skillet set on medium. Add the bacon grease.

Put the roast in the hot oil to brown on all sides. You’ll have to hold it upright in the pan with a meat fork to get the sides browned and to keep the meat from falling over.





Sprinkle lots of garlic salt and pepper on all sides before you turn it.

When the roast is nicely browned, lift it out of the skillet and set it on a plate.

Brown the onions in the skillet in the same oil.




With a slotted spoon, lift the browned onions from the skillet, letting the grease drain back into the skillet. Place the browned onions into the bottom of the slow cooker, keeping the grease in the skillet.



Set the roast on top of the onions in the slow cooker.










Place the carrots around the roast and the potatoes on top of the carrots. Carrots go under the potatoes because it takes them longer to cook.

Into the skillet where you have browned the meat and the onions, pour the mushroom soup, the contents of the dry French Onion  soup mix package, and ½ cup of water. Mix it well with the grease and juices in the skillet.



With the heat on medium, stir with a wire whisk until the contents of the skillet look like gravy. When it is simmering and heated through, pour it over the meat and vegetables in the slow cooker.

Put the lid on the slow cooker; make sure it is plugged in (not intended to be funny) and on the low setting.

Forget about it and let it cook, on low, for 10-12 hours.

About a half hour before serving, turn the slow cooker off.

Turn oven on and set at 250 degrees.

Lift the meat out of the slow cooker with two large utensils like a large fork and large spoon and place it in an ovenproof baking dish.
Remove carrots, potatoes and onions from the slow cooker and put them in an ovenproof vegetable dish.

Put both the meat and vegetables in the oven to keep warm until you’re ready to eat.

With a large strainer placed over a bowl, dump the remaining contents of the slow cooker into the strainer.

Let the gravy seep through the strainer, smashing the contents of the strainer with a masher or large spoon so that all the gravy goes through to the bowl.

Put the contents of the bowl (gravy) into a small saucepan and stir while heating on medium. You may have to add some water to bring it to the right consistency.

Before serving the meat, take a fork and separate it into large chunks in the serving bowl. It doesn’t need to be carved into slices. I also remove the fat layer and throw it away...wrapped in newspaper, of course.

I spoon a little gravy over the meat and vegetables before putting them on the table. It makes them glisten.

The Easy Method:

No bacon needed but all other ingredients are the same.

Slice the onions and place in the bottom of the slow cooker.
Place the roast (straight from the package) with fat side up on top of the onions.
Sprinkle salt and pepper on top of the roast.
Put the sliced carrots in the slow cooker around the roast.
Put the cubed potatoes on top of the carrots.
Add ½ cup water to the pot at this point.
Dump the mushroom/roasted garlic soup, straight from the can, on top of the meat.
Sprinkle the contents of the dry French Onion soup mix envelope over the top of everything.
Cover the slow cooker.
Plug in the slow cooker and turn the dial to low.

Leftovers??? You now have Carne Asada!!

Cozy Pot Roast Memories to you and yours.

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