Pot Roast

Sometimes after a soul-searing day, a body needs comfort food.  It’s the kind of food that makes you want to eat on the couch all curled up with your favorite blankie tucked safely around you.

I had a miserable night at work last night.  There was a patient who’s life challenges are staggering.  I had to focus intensely for a full 8 hours, struggling to keep my brain in nurse mode and not let the reality of the things I had to do for and to this patient overcome me.  At the end of my shift, just before I went in to report off to the oncoming nurses, I think that I may have had a mini nervous break-down.  I was scrubbing my hands and arms intensely when one of the CNAs asked me if I was okay.  I turned to answer her and felt the tears start to well up.

“I can’t get clean,” I said.  “I can’t get the day off of me.  I keep scrubbing and scrubbing, but I am covered with urine and MRSA and that patient in 211 has no hope.”

The CNA was kind and soft spoken and told me about how the nurses from the previous night had had the same problem.  The charge nurse got me a change of clothes and after report I went into the bathroom, stripped off my uniform, socks, and shoes and put them in a red, hazardous waste bag.  In a moment of revulsion I tossed my stethoscope into the bag as well.  I need that stethoscope.  It was expensive.  The bag is sitting here at home in the laundry room.  At some point I am going to have to go in there and get out the stethoscope, clean it, and return it to my work bag…I think that maybe I need a new work bag.

You weren’t expecting that kind of a beginning to a cheerfully upbeat food blog, were you?  I wasn’t expecting it either.

Food is such an integral part of our lives.  We use it to convey what we are thinking, or feeling, or needing.  Today, I want comfort food because I am thinking about the patient in room 211 and I am feeling distressed and I need to cook and eat something that is familiar and will give my insides a hug.

Pot Roast is one of those quintessential foods that speaks to the soul.  It is a tie that binds and it embodies warmth and safety and family.  So, I made pot roast today.  It was amazingly homey and good.

Pot RoastPot Roast

Recipe by Terri @ that’s some good cookin’
Printable Recipe

  • 3.5 lb chuck roast
  • 2 onions, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 2-3 carrots per person, peeled and sliced (see instructions below)
  • 1-2 potatoes per person, peeled and cut in half or in quarters depending on the size of the potato
  • salt, pepper, granulated onion, granulated garlic
  • flour
  • olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon beef stock base and 1 1/2 cups water or 1 can beef stock or broth or dissolve two bouillon cubes in 1 1/2 cups water
I browned and cooked this pot roast in a dutch oven.  If you will be baking your pot roast in a baking pan, then use a deep frying pan for browning the roast and cooking the onions and garlic.

Preheat the oven to 275-degrees F.  Prep the onions, garlic, carrots, and potatoes.

Put a dutch oven over a burner on your stove top.  Pour a little olive oil in the bottom of the dutch oven and heat over medium high heat until hot.  You’ll know its ready when the oil gets wavy patterns on it.  If you will not be using a dutch oven for your pot roast, use a frying pan for this step.

While the dutch oven or frying pan and the oil are getting nice and hot, prepare the beef.  Sprinkle one side of the beef with salt, pepper, granulated onion, and granulated garlic.  Dredge the seasoned side of the beef in flour.  Let the beef rest sitting in the flour while you prep the unseasoned side with the salt, pepper, granulated onion, and granulated garlic.  Turn the beef over and dredge the newly seasoned side in the flour.

Put the beef in the now well heated dutch oven or frying pan to brown.  There ought to be a fair amount of lovely sizzling going on right now.  When the first side of the beef has browned, turn it over and brown the other side.  Add a little more oil if you have to.

When the beef is browned, remove it from the pot and set aside on a platter.  Turn the heat down to medium and put the onions and garlic in the dutch oven or frying pan and cook, stirring occasionally until the onions have softened and some of them are slightly caramelized.  Leave the onions and garlic in the dutch oven and place the roast on top of them.  If you are using a roasting pan for this pot roast, place the onions and garlic in the bottom of the pan and put the roast on top of them.

Prepare the beef stock base by adding 1 tablespoon base to 1-1 1/2 cups of warm water.  Mix to dissolve, then pour in pan around the roast.  Put the carrots and potatoes on top of the roast and sprinkle them lightly with salt.  Heat over medium heat to bring the liquid to a boil.  Place the lid on the dutch oven and transfer it to the oven.  Cook at 275-degrees for 3-3 1/2 hours.  If you are using a baking/roasting pan, make sure that the lid fits securely.  If your pan does not have a lid, cover with heavy aluminum foil and seal the edges tightly.  For my old roasting pan, I had to seal it with foil and then put the lid on top of it, pressing the lid firmly against the foil.

Remove from oven and place on top of stove.  Allow to sit undisturbed for about 10 minutes.  Remove carrots and potatoes and put in serving bowls.  Carefully remove roast and place on a platter.  The beef should be so tender that it can be easily broken into chunks with a fork.

Make a gravy out of the liquid and well-cooked, diced onions remaining in the pan.  The onions and bits of garlic will become a part of the gravy.  For the gravy, I wanted more gravy than would have been available with just the left over cooking juices.  So, I mixed 1 tablespoon of beef base with 2 cups of water, then added about 2 tablespoons of white flour while mixing quickly with a fork until smooth.  I then continued with the following instructions.

Place the dutch oven on a stove burner set to medium heat.  Bring the juices to a simmer.  Pour in the beef base/water/flour mixture and stir until smooth.  Bring ingredients back to a simmer, cooking and stirring until thickened.  If too thick, add a little more water.  If too thin, mix a little more flour in some water and add to the gravy in the pan to thicken. Pour into serving dish.

Break up the beef into serving sizes.  Ring the dinner bell.  Say grace and be sure to thank Heavenly Father for all of your many blessings.

Prep the vegetables. I cut the carrots into 1/3s.  The thick end of the carrot is cut in half lengthwise.  I leave the other portions whole.  For the potatoes, I cut the medium sized ones in half and the small ones I leave whole.  If I am using the super duper large size like from Costco, I quarter them.  Small, bite-sized or thin cut vegetables will get mushy because they bake for quite a while.  Dice the onions and mince the garlic. (No picture, sorry.  I’m pretty sure you’ve seen them before, though.)
Collage 1
While you prepare the beef, heat some oil in a dutch oven.
Season one side of the beef with salt, pepper, granulated garlic, and granulated onion.  Dredge seasoned side down in flour.
Collage 2
Season the unseasoned side.  Turn roast over to flour the newly seasoned side.
Put the roast into the dutch oven and brown it in the oil, first one side then turn it over and brown the other side.  Look at the sizzle! Collage 4
Remove the browned roast and set aside.  Add the onion and garlic to the dutch oven and cook until the onions are soft and just begin to caramelize.  You may need to add a little more oil, but not much.
Collage 3
When the onions have finished cooking, return the roast to the pan, placing it on top of the onions.  If you are not using a dutch oven, put the onions in the bottom of your roasting/baking pan, then place the roast on top of them.
Pour the prepared beef broth or stock around the roast.
Put the potatoes and carrots on top of the roast and sprinkle them with a little salt.
Put the lid on the dutch oven or baking pan.  If you are using a baking or roasting pan, seal tightly with aluminum foil.  Bake in a 275-degree oven for 3-3 1/2 hours.  Remove from oven and let everything rest for 10 minutes.
Collage 5
Remove the potatoes, carrots, and roast.  Leave the onions, garlic bits, and juices in the dutch oven.  (Refer to above directions for gravy thickening for this next part.)  Add the broth/flour mixture and stir until smooth.  Over medium heat, bring the gravy to a simmer and stir until thickened.  If the gravy is too thick, add a little water.  If it is too thin, you can cook it until it is thicker or you can add a little more flour to some water and then add that to the gravy and cook until desired consistency.
   Collage 6
This gravy is amazing.  I have to add this one to my “Things Worth Eating with a Spoon” list.
Dish up your plate with all the beautiful goodness.  This roast is fork tender!  But, you’re not done yet…
It’s not complete until you put that wonderful, spoon licking good gravy over everything!


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