Thursday, January 31, 2008
Recipe #2 for Susie
I promised Susie, at Pink Carnation in Bloom, three recipes that are standard fare at our home. #2 is Paula Deene Pot Roast. "Back in the day" Mom would put a pot roast in the oven before we left for church, leaving it to cook for hours to tenderize the inexpensive meat. By the time we got home and all six kids had changed out of church clothes, Sunday dinner was on the table, looking and smelling wonderful. Mom didn't have what Flylady calls "The Secret Weapon" - a crockpot. It's a lifesaver for me at least once a week, and I can't remember the last time I actually put a pot roast in the oven. The tougher and less expensive the meat, the more ideal it is for a nice long visit to the crockpot. This recipe can be put together in 15 minutes or less, and it'll be ready when everyone walks in the door that evening. That's why it's such a favorite for us.

So here it is - pot roast by the Queen of Cooking in the South - Paula Deene. This recipe is from her "Lady and Sons Savannah Country Cookbook". Paula doesn't mention adding the potatoes and carrots, but I throw them in because it provides the entire meal - the roast, the potatoes and carrots, and the gravy for the top.

You need:

1 - 3 lb boneless chuck roast
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 - 1 tsp salt
1/3 tsp garlic powder
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 onion, thickly sliced
3 bay leaves
3-4 beef bouillon cubes, crushed
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 - 10 3/4 oz can condensed cream of mushroom soup
1/4 - 1 /2 cup chardonnay wine, optional

Sprinkle roast on all sides, with pepper, salt and garlic powder. In moderately hot skillet brown roast on all sides in oil. Place roast in crockpot. On top of roast layer onion, bay leaves, crushed beef bouillon cubes, crushed garlic and cream of mushroom soup. Add chardonnay. Add just enough water to cover all ingredients sufficiently. Cook on low setting approximately 8 hours.

I add a small bag of baby carrots and 1 potato per person served, scrubbed and chopped into chunky pieces. The gravy from this roast is fantastic! If you want to make this a bit more healthy you can use low sodium beef bouillon cubes, the lower fat / lower sodium mushroom soup, and spray your skillet with pam instead of using oil to brown. Cooking wine can be substituted for the chardonnay if you don't keep wine on hand in your home. I generally just throw in half a glass of whatever we're sipping on that night. f

Note: I've gotten several emails, so to clarify: if you do my version, put the pot roast in, then add the carrots and potatoes on top, then the soup mixture right on top of that. Hope that makes it clearer when to add what!

Add bag salad and some crusty rolls and this is a great meal for having friends or family over. Even the boss maybe if his wife isn't much of a cook. There aren't that many homes these days where Mom is up early putting a pot roast in the oven before heading the kiddies off to church, so it just might be a warm fuzzy memory for him or her! I didn't add a photo because it's a pot roast, and anyone, with some effort, can conjure up what Mom's Pot Roast looked like. I promise - this one will be more tender, and much less work.

PS. Be sure to remove bay leaves before serving. They should not be eaten.

PSS. If you don't own a crockpot, buy one! I actually own three, a small one that cost $9.99 at Walmart - perfect for the two of us, or for making side dishes. The second one is the huge Cuisinart for $99.99 at Bed, Bath and Beyond - I used the coupon! It holds enough chili to feed an army, and you'd be surprised how often I drag it out. Both of those have removable liners for easy cleaning. My older crockpot, the one I've had forever, is in the camper. I often make this potroast when we camp, and after a day on the trail or the lake, we come home to Cub Sweetheart and you can smell this pot roast cooking long before we get to our campsite. Crockpots abound at garage sales and thrift stores. It's even nice to keep them on hand for taking a meal in. Make the meal early, drop it off at the home, plug it in, and their dinner will be ready when they are. A nice big piece of masking tape with your name on it will ensure that it makes it back to your home eventually, and since it's a spare there's no hurry returning it.

I still remember after having our third child a girlfriend, Deone from Washburn, North Dakota, showed up at my door. Her husband owned the local grocery and she had in her hand a hunk of raw meat. She told me, stick this in your crockpot! She wasn't much of a cook but she didn't let that stop her from 'taking in a meal'. Funny that I don't really recall what anyone else brought us, but I'll never forget the raw roast that was delivered to our door. Much appreciated and it taught me a valuable lesson - help when you can, where you can, how you can, but help!

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  posted at 7:34 AM

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