Sunday Lunch Pot Roast

Serves 3 adults per pound of meat used.
The proportions given here are for about 6 people,
with enough leftovers for a good pot of soup.

Yeah yeah.  I know.  Yankee Pot Roast.  Well, yankee schmankee.  This has some southern twists via the Texas panhandle, and a few of my grandma’s old Dundee Scotland flashes of inspiration….

You may also notice that there are a lot of veggies in this roasting pan compared to meat.  Back in the day (mostly the days from the 1950s – 2000s) my family would have made this with 3 (or more) times as much meat for this amount of veg — but that was at a time when the meal was feeding lots of growing children, lots of folks who worked in the fields, and before cholesterol was an issue.  These days — 4 ounces of meat is again considered plenty+ and the need for lots of good veggies that taste of the accompanying roast is much more in the spotlight.

2-2.5 lbs beef roast, trimmed (the cut is dependent entirely on what you can afford)
3 lbs carrots, cut lengthwise, then into 4″ pieces
3 lbs russet potatoes cut into 1″ slices
2 lbs sweet white/yellow onions such as Vidalia, sliced into 1/2″ thick rings
1-3 bell peppers (depending on your taste,)  seeded and sliced into 1/2″ strips
5 celery stalks, cut into 4″ pieces

1 c shitake mushroom pieces, cut into 1/2″ dice (reserve for gravy)
2 whole bay leaves

1/4 c Worcestershire sauce
1/3 c butter
2 c strong beef stock, hot
salt, thyme, and pepper

biscuit (or popover) dough sufficient to make 12-18 pieces or servings.

*Biscuit dough will be dense like a bread dough or pie crust, but popover batter is a liquid.  If using popover batter, spoon it into the drippings slowly and prevent mixing as much as possible.  Either way, some “mixing” will occur, which is fine — the flour provides a thickening agent for the broth to make it a gravy.  And actually, my grandfather would have preferred cornbread batter or a layer of previously cooked grits….

deep 8-12 qt roaster with a rack and tight fitting lid

  • wash and trim your roast, the cover liberally with a blend of black pepper, thyme, and 1 T Worcestershire and a little salt.  Seal in a ziplock overnight.
  • to assemble and cook, preheat oven to 375f.  fill the bottom of the roaster with 3/4 of all veggies, all the stock, butter, Worcestershire, bay leaves, and 1 1/2 t kosher salt.  Set the roasting rack on top of the veggies and place the beef and remaining veggies on the rack. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and cover.
  • place roaster in center of oven and turn oven down to 325f.  Cook, covered for 3.5 hrs. (If cooking a roast larger than 4lbs, increase cooking time by 40-mins per pound)
  • When done, remove roast from the pan, and wrap in foil.  Set aside foil wrapped meat on a dish with sides, in a warming oven or other warm place.  Remove veggies to warmed serving bowls (okay to leave small pieces in the drippings) and add additional water or beef broth if necessary so there is at least 1 inch of broth/drippings in the bottom of the roaster. (Put veggies, covered, in warming oven)
  • Turn oven to 425f.  Set roaster on stove and bring drippings to a slight boil, then immediately turn off.  Add large spoonfuls of biscuit or popover batter to the liquid until the surface is covered, then set roaster (no lid, but  large piece of foil laid lightly across the top of the pan.) into oven.
  • After 6 minutes, remove the piece of foil and lower the oven temp to 400. Bake until bread is golden brown (about 5-14 minutes, depending on the depth of bread layer and the size of the roaster — you just have to watch closely and guage time by the color of browning.)
  • Serve meat, veggies, bread with a spoon of the gravy drizzled over it.
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