I’ve always cooked. I grew up in a household where my mom cooked nearly every meal we ate from scratch. And I was right by her side as soon as I was old enough to reach the countertop. So, it’s sometimes hard for me to imagine coming from a home where nothing was made in the kitchen.
I was talking with a friend recently, and she mentioned that she had only recently learned how to make a pot roast. That got me thinking about the joy of knowing how to put a meal on the table without spending all day or a fortune doing it. Let’s learn a little about the meal we call pot roast and see how easy it is to put one on the table!
History of the pot roast
According to the “Encyclopedia of American Food and Drink,” the term “pot roast” refers to a meat that is browned and cooked with vegetables and gravy in a deep pot or saucepan, usually covered.
This method of cooking lends itself well to slow cooking in the oven or in the crock pot, making the pot roast ideal for the busy person. You literally set it up and it cooks itself.,
You may have heard the pot roast referred to as a Yankee Pot Roast which is an evolution of the New England boiled dinner, a meal with the same general ingredients. The main difference is the method of cooking used (boiling or stewing versus roasting in a pot) and the type of meat (corned beef vs fresh beef roast).
Classic New England (or Yankee) cuisine features frugality, sensibility and simplicity. Yankee pot roast makes a perfect example. Frugality because it utilizes less costly cuts of beef; sensibility because it can be left to cook while the cook does other things; and simplicity because it utilizes only a handful of easy to find ingredients.
Karen Tempel, an aspiring chef since she could reach the countertops, has been delighting friends and family with tempting treats for most of her life. She is the owner of Everyday Gourmet, a custom caterer in the Aiken area. Visit her website at www.LetKarenCook.com or email her at Karen@LetKarenCook.com.
Pot roast in the crock pot
Pot roast in the crock pot4 pounds chuck roast1/2 teaspoon salt1/4 teaspoon pepper1 tablespoon canola oil1 packet dry onion soup mix1 cup water3 carrots, peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces1 onion, chopped3 potatoes, peeled and cut into 2 inch pieces1 stalk celery, cut into 1 inch piecesSeason the roast with salt and pepper. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat for 2 minutes. Add oil and roast. Brown on all sides, about 4 minutes per side.Place the roast in the crock pot and add the soup mix, water, carrots, onion, potatoes and celery.Cover and cook on low setting for 8-10 hours. Serves 6-8.Notes: Make assembly very easy by placing everything except potatoes in the crock pot the night before and refrigerate. Simply add potatoes in the morning, and you’re ready to go.Please note there is nothing magical about the ingredients listed. If you need to watch sodium intake, omit salt and/or reduce the amount of soup mix used. Don’t like carrots? Leave them out and add more celery or potatoes. Kids hate onions? Either chop them very fine or omit.