When the first chill of autumn arrives, I start thinking about cooking some comfort foods. And the recipe I turn to frequently is my mom's beef pot roast recipe. It is a traditional pot roast made with a few simple ingredients that are cooked in the oven. There's nothing fancy or complicated about it. It's just a matter of technique and timing that makes the roast melt in your mouth and elicits compliments from even the pickiest eaters.
But first, let me tell you how to make the best pot roast EVER! And if you love roasts, try this bottom round roast recipe by Kim at 730 Sage Street if you prefer
This is a photo of my mom and me taken many, many years ago. For as long as I remember, my mom made a pot roast for most Sunday dinners, and it was always her go-to recipe whenever guests were coming to eat at our house. The roasts that we had growing up came from cattle that my father raised. Because they was grass-fed, the beef was always tender and delicious.
And when my mother got ready to make a roast, she always pulled out this oval roaster. A number of years ago, I was bestowed with this "magic pot" as I call it. When my mother was teaching me how she made her pot roast, I asked her how she acquired the pot. She told me that a traveling salesman came to my parent's home back in the 1940s, shortly after they were married. And Daddy purchased the entire set of Miracle Maid pots from the man. I don't know what happened to the other pots, but this one survived the years. So if you ever come across one of these pots, grab it because it is an incredible cooking machine!
But don't worry. You will be able to cook a darn good roast as long as you have a heavy bottomed pot with a lid or a dutch oven and follow my (and my mom's) instructions. Years ago, I tried making a pot roast in the slow cooker, but I was never satisfied with the results (texture is different). I just prefer the taste that you get when you slow cook a roast in the oven the way my mom always did it.
How to make Beef Pot Roast
Buy a roast, ideally something like this boneless beef chuck roast. My preferred cut of meat is a chuck roast with plenty of fat included. I usually buy a 3 to 4 pound of roast, but I went with a smaller one since I was cooking for just the two of us.
Next, bring the piece of meat to room temperature (about 15 minutes) and then salt both sides. I don't add pepper at this point as pepper will burn in the next step.
Add 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil to the pot and turn the heat up to medium high on the stove top. Although I usually cook with olive oil, I use vegetable oil for this step because it has a higher smoking point. Get the oil nice and hot and add the roast.
What you want to do is to sear the top and bottom and sides of the roast, sealing in the juices. Use tongs to turn the roast rather than a fork so that you don't lose any of those juices. I tried to get a photo of this step but it's real hard to hold a camera and tongs at the same time! Once all sides have been browned, turn off the heat.
Here's my mom's secret ingredient to a tasty beef roast. Lipton Recipe Secret's onion soup and dip mix.
Sprinkle one package of Lipton onion soup onto the roast and then add 1 ½ cup of water, pouring the water on top of the roast to distribute some of the onion soup mix down into the pot.
Then put the lid on the pot and put it in a 300 degrees Fahrenheit (149 degrees Celsius) oven and cook it for 2 hours.
In the meantime, wash and cut some red potatoes into small chunks, quarter a few onions, and peel and cut some carrots into 2 inch lengths. The amount of the veggies depends on how large your roast is and how many people you're feeding. Add salt and pepper liberally to the vegetables and turn to mix.
Remove the pot from the oven and transfer the roast to a second dish. At this point, it will not be fall apart tender, but don't worry about that!
Put the vegetables down into the pot with the juices and mix it all together to coat those veggies with that delicious drippings. Nestle the roast back into the pot with the vegetables, put on the lid, and put the roast back into the oven.
Turn up the heat to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (177 degrees Celsius) and cook for an additional hour or until the veggies are done.
When ready to serve, put the roast on a platter and surround it with the vegetables.
To make a gravy with the drippings in the pot, add 1 tablespoon of cornstarch with 3 tablespoons water and add that to the drippings. Turn on the stove top to medium high and whisk the drippings and cornstarch mixture together until the drippings thicken.
This delicious beef pot roast is the ultimate comfort food dish for us, and I'm glad she taught me how to make it. And you'll never go wrong serving it to your family or your guests, either!
My Mother's Beef Pot Roast
For the gravy
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 3 tablespoons water
- Bring the roast to room temperature for 15 minutes and sprinkle 2 tablespoons salt over the roast.
- Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
- Heat 3 tablespoons vegetable oil in a heavy bottom dutch oven over medium high heat on the stove top.
- Sear the bottom, top, and sides of the roast and then turn off the heat.
- Sprinkle 1 package of Lipton dry onion soup mix over the top of the roast.
- Pour the water over the onion soup mix and the roast.
- Add the lid to the dutch oven and cook in a 300 degree oven for 2 hours.
- Remove the roast from the pot.
- Add the vegetables to the drippings and stir to coat.
- Nestle the roast back in the pot with the vegetables.
- Place back in the oven and turn up the heat to 350 degrees.
- Cook for 1 hour or until the vegetables are done.
- Remove the roast and vegetables from the dutch oven but leave the drippings in the pot.
To make the gravy
- Mix 3 tablespoons water with 1 tablespoon cornstarch and whisk into the drippings in the pot. Heat over medium-high until the drippings thicken.