I lived in New England for a few years and I learned a lot of good recipes there. I was young and poor at the time, so fancy recipes weren’t exactly my cup of tea…solid, nutritious food that didn’t put much of a dent in my pocketbook was the order of the day.
Among the recipes I learned that were filling, nourishing and inexpensive was the good old pot roast. Cheap meat is often tough, but cooked slowly for a sufficient length of time, the meat turns tender and succulent. Add inexpensive winter vegetables and the right combination of seasonings and you have a deliciously thrifty meal! If saving money isn’t one of your objectives, you can use more costly veg, better cuts of meat and a finer wine, but the frugal recipe below tastes so good, it really isn’t necessary.
This is a particularly easy recipe to prepare. Unlike most pot roast recipes, this one is prepared in the oven and requires no monitoring to make sure the liquid hasn’t boiled away, burning the contents of the pot. Inexpensive, delicious and easy, too…what could be better?
Yankee Pot Roast
2 lbs (1 kg) chuck roast
6 large carrots
6 large potatoes
2 medium onions
2-4 garlic cloves, minced or put through garlic press
3 ribs of celery (optional)
1 cup sliced mushrooms (optional)
1 cup Knorr Brown Roux granules (optional)
¼ cup mixed dried herbs
2 cups cheap red wine (or vegetable stock)
Salt to taste
Set oven to 325F. Prepare a 13” x 9” x 3” baking pan by lining with a piece of foil large enough to line the bottom of the pan and extend enough to fold over and seal the dish.
Sprinkle Roux granules on bottom of pan and spread out. Centre meat on top.
Cut carrots into sticks approximately 3 inches long. Split the thickest pieces. Cut potatoes into chunks no bigger than 3 inches square. Peel onions and cut into eighths. Slice mushrooms thinly. Cut celery into sticks approximately 3 inches long. Split the widest pieces.
Arrange onion and vegetables around the meat and dot surface with garlic. Shake 5 to 10 shakes of Worcestershire sauce over the surface, pour in red wine/stock, then sprinkle with dried herbs. Salt to taste.
Fold foil down to cover and seal the dish. Put in 325F oven and cook for 2.5 hours.
Test for doneness: remove from oven and carefully open foil. Pierce the meat with the tines of a fork and twist. If the meat flakes easily and comes away, it is ready. If the meat does not flake when the fork is twisted, fold down the foil and return to the oven for another 30 minutes. Repeat this test until the meat is tender.
Serving: Remove the meat to a warmed platter and surround with vegetables. If you used the Roux, you will have a gravy in the bottom of the cooking pan: pour it into a gravy boat and serve with the meat and veg. If you did not use the Roux, pour the liquid into a shallow pan, bring to a boil, and make gravy the way you usually do.
This is excellent with biscuits, which can bake in the already heated oven while you are plating the roast and vegetables and making the gravy.
Photo by uberculture, flickr