Recipe: Yankee Pot Roast

My very first post for this blog over two years ago was “I Will Never Make Pot Roast the Same Again”… I had found a quick and easy Pot Roast recipe from the folks at Campbell’s Kitchens. What I have learned over the last two years is that it’s okay to have a number of really good recipes for the same meal and use them interchangeably.

So you can guess… I did make my Yankee Pot Roast my old way again. The other recipe is excellent and quick, but I have been craving the traditional Yankee Pot Roast of my childhood.

My Mother experimented with her gravy recipe and came up with a delicious healthier version of Pot Roast gravy… my version is a variation of hers and in my opinion, is the typical Yankee Pot Roast gravy. That recipe will follow in my next post.  Click here for the recipe.

Cuts of Beef

I’m in the south now and one thing I have noticed is that different areas of the country use different cuts of meat for the same recipes… and in some cases, they call it by different names. So I was totally confused when I went to my local grocery store and found a package of beef labeled “For Pot Roast”.. it by no means resembled anything I have ever used for Pot Roast. So I pressed the bell and asked the butcher about it who insisted what I had in my hand was for Pot Roast.

This lead to a long discussion about cuts of meat. The piece of meat I had in my hand was about an inch or so thick and the size of a giant steak… I finally asked him… how in the world would I slice this after cooking… that was the break through question… his answer was… you don’t.. you cook it until it falls apart. Ahhhh.. now we were making progress… the Yankee Pot Roast I know and love… is a roast you braise then slice…. a younger butcher knew exactly what I was talking about and produced my beloved bottom round roast… YES! That was the cut I always used… it seems it’s not that popular in these parts… so it seems I have to ask for it by name to get it here…
As I always say.. all is well that ends well.. and it ended well… for sure.

Cooking Methods

Yankee Pot Roast can be made a number of ways and I have tried them all…. ideally .. for me… is making it in a heavy pot over a low flame on the stove…. cooking it with barely a simmer. You can also cook it in a crockpot or oven roast it.

I decided to do a bit of a combination for the Pot Roast I made last weekend for family that was visiting. I didn’t want to have to watch the roast as carefully as I normally do…. so I decided the crockpot method was the best way to go. I like to sear the meat first before braising, so I browned the meat in a heavy pot then placed it in the crockpot with the rest of the ingredients and cooked it at a slow simmer until fork tender.

You can follow these instructions and instead of putting it in a crockpot, continue to cook it in the original pot, just skip the deglazing of the pot step.

For a 3-3 ½ pound roast, you can cook it on low for about 9 hours or high for about 5 hours… My roast was a little over 4 pounds, a bit larger since we had more people than usual at supper, I cooked mine on high for about 6 hours.

I used small Belgium carrots.. it saves time and makes for a pretty presentation ( I do serve some with the roast). I remove the celery after the roast finishes cooking, we just don’t care for it, but you certainly can serve it as well.

This traditional meal is perfect for cold winter nights. Serve with mashed potatoes and carrots… your family will love it.

Before anyone says anything about just serving the braised vegetables with the meal… yes you can do that too… but when you read my gravy recipe you will see how I use those vegetables, of course you can still serve them with the roast too… but they tend to get mushy.

Okay… without further delay… here is my Yankee Pot Roast recipe.

Recipe: Yankee Pot Roast

All you need:

3-4 pound bottom round roast
2 tablespoons olive oil
Garlic powder
Ground black pepper
About a cup of small carrots or chopped regular carrots
1 medium onion, cut in wedges
1 celery stalk cut in half
2 medium Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and quartered
1 container (32 ounce) beef stock or broth
2 bay leaves

All you need to do:

In a heavy pot, heat the olive oil over medium high heat.

Sprinkle garlic powder and pepper over the meat.

Brown the meat quickly on all sides.

Remove the meat to the crockpot.

Deglaze the pot you seared the meat in by adding some beef broth to it and scrap the bits off the bottom. Pour it into the crockpot.

Add the remaining ingredients and cook on a low simmer until fork tender.

When fork tender, remove the meat to a cutting board and allow to stand for about 10 minutes before slicing.

While meat is resting, cover loosely with foil and make the gravy… see gravy recipe.

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