Recipe Pot Roast

This is an old Midwestern recipe for pot roast.  It’s great for a leisurely, traditional Sunday afternoon.

You’ll need about a three-pound roast (a rump roast is fine), two onions, half a small bag of baby carrots, and four or five potatoes, depending on their size.  You’ll need some flour for the gravy.  You’ll also need the Secret Ingredient, which is called Kitchen Bouquet and can usually be found near the spices in the grocery store.  It comes in a small dark-brown bottle with a yellow label.  Kitchen Bouquet gives food a nice brown color and a rich meaty taste.

First, preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Brown the roast in a frying pan on both sides, just enough to change its color.  This seals in the juices while it’s cooking.  Get out a large roasting pan with a lid, and spray it with nonstick spray so you can zip right through cleanup.  Place the roast in the middle of the roasting pan.

Peel and cut up the potatoes into fourths and arrange them around the sides of the roast.  Wash the baby carrots and put them in with the potatoes.  Cut the onions into onion rings and lay them on top of the roast, potatoes, and carrots.

Pour the Kitchen Bouquet over the whole thing.  You won’t need a lot, maybe two capfuls.  Then pour some water into the bottom of the pan, so that the water is about one-half inch deep.  Cover the roasting pan and pop it into the oven.  You might have to take out one of the oven racks to get it in.

A roast cooks at the rate of half an hour per pound, so if you have a three-pound roast you’ll cook it for an hour and a half.  I usually give it an extra ten minutes or so, because potatoes and carrots take a long time to cook.

When it’s all done, put the potatoes, carrots, and onions into a serving bowl, and put the roast on a plate.  Now you have some liquid left in the roasting pan, so you can make some gravy.  Here’s how:

Pour the liquid into a saucepan.  Take a good-sized coffee cup and put two heaping tablespoons of flour into it (you can also use Bisquick).  Fill the cup with cold water, and stir until the flour is dissolved in the water.  It should be pretty thick, but if not you can add some flour.  Pour this mixture into the liquid in the saucepan.

Put the saucepan on the stove and turn the burner on to medium heat.  Stir constantly until the contents thicken; then the gravy is done.  It shouldn’t take very long.  If the gravy gets too thick, you can thin it with some water or milk, and then you have more gravy.

The Kitchen Bouquet will give the gravy a really nice brown color, as well as adding to the flavor.  It’s also added flavor to the roast and the vegetables.

Making and eating a traditional pot roast is a great way to spend a snowy winter afternoon, especially when you look out and say, “I’m not going out there!”

© 2019 Paul Timman