Food & Drink

Comfort food in a pot: Simple pot roast recipe really satisfies

Mad About Food: Pot Roast with Root Vegetables. Photographed in Cedar Rapids on Saturday, December 12, 2018. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette)
Mad About Food: Pot Roast with Root Vegetables. Photographed in Cedar Rapids on Saturday, December 12, 2018. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette)
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I  love pot roast and root vegetables.

If you enjoy red meat, you will love this recipe. I’m not huge on red meat, but who can’t appreciate tender cuts of beef bathed in a yummy, light, brown gravy and good-for-you veggies to rock with it?

As far back as I can remember I’ve loved pot roast with carrots, onions and potatoes. In my recipe I also like to use bell pepper and celery. My mother is responsible for my love of this dish because she makes the best pot roast ever. I’m still trying to get mine to be as good as hers. Like all of my recipes, this one is super versatile. You can use broth as your liquid, seasoned water or red wine. Let’s be honest — there are a lot of things that are made better with wine.

There is a process that in my opinion has to be done to ensure your pot roast comes out amazing. You have to season it and refrigerate it for at least three hours or overnight. I also sear the roast in a hot pan with olive oil and butter until both sides are brown. This process seals in the yummy juices and flavor of the meat.

Then, once you deglaze the pan using your choice of liquids listed above or your own liquid concoction to remove all the culinary goodness left on the bottom of the pan, you can add it to the pot roast and root veggies before finishing the cooking process in the oven to help it make its own delicious gravy.

By now everyone who follows my articles should know I love easy, versatile, delicious recipes, and this one is no exception. I’ve tried skipping the prep process and the browning process, but my pot roast did not come out as good or as tender. Plus, the grayish color the meat has if not browned is not attractive.

If you choose to grill your pot roast (yes, it has been done), I like to marinate the meat in dry seasonings as the first layer and then rub a combination of Dijon mustard, honey, vinegar and my choice of steak sauce all over the pot roast and stick it in a Ziploc bag in the fridge overnight. The next day it’s ready to bless your grill and your palate. This also works with beef tenderloin.

You can prep this meal a couple of days ahead for up to three days. The longer it marinates, the more tender and flavorful your pot roast will be.

As with many of my recipes, you can switch it up in so many different ways.

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You can have gravy, an au jus sauce, wine sauce, Dijon mustard gravy or even a horseradish spread. The possibilities are endless.

There also are a variety of root vegetables that come in a rainbow of colors to complement and accompany your pot roast. My family loves to have warm, buttery cornbread and a creamy macaroni and cheese to complete the meal.

Let’s face it, comfort foods are necessary. It’s the food that will bring back wonderful family memories. They are recipes that bring culinary love and appreciation for generations to come. Most of all, comfort foods are full of love, which is why I chose to share my recipes with the public.

I have a lot of love to share, and if you try this recipe or any of my recipes, you’ll be helping to spread love in your own way.

Now, it’s time to roll up those sleeves and get ready to create your own love in the form of this yummy, comforting recipe that will be around for generations to come.

• Michelle Madden of Cedar Rapids has a catering business called Tastefully Made Creations (www.facebook.com/TastefullyMadeCreations).

Pot Roast & Root Vegetables

Servings: 6

Salt and pepper to taste

3 to 5 pounds pot roast (chuck roast)

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 whole onions, peeled and halved or quartered

8 whole carrots

1 cup red wine (optional)

1 tablespoon dried rosemary (or 2 to 3 fresh sprigs)

1 tablespoon dried thyme (or 2 to 3 fresh sprigs)

3 cups beef broth

1 small bag of red potatoes

2 stalks celery

1 green bell pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Generously season with salt, pepper and dry seasonings.

Heat olive oil in deep pan on medium heat and brown on both sides (about 2 to 3 minutes on first side and 1 to 2 minutes on the second side).

Place browned meat and vegetables in a roasting pan.

With burner still on medium, use either the red wine and/or beef broth (1 cup total) to deglaze the pan using a whisk to scrape the bottom (for thicker gravy add a tablespoon or so of cornstarch to the cold broth).

Pour the liquid over the meat and add more beef broth to cover the vegetables and most of the meat.

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Cook in the oven at 350 degrees 3 to 4 hours for a 3- to 5-pound roast. The pot roast is done when it is fall-apart tender.

Source: Michelle Madden

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