On cold Sundays, I think there are only two reasonable options for dinner: chili or pot roast. Now, the pot roast I grew up with isn't fancy, but it is super easy and just as hearty as those nicely-plated versions with rosemary sprigs as a garnish.
This version cooks in a giant pot on your stove for a few hours, and beyond cutting up a few potatoes is about as easy as dinner gets. We usually have plenty left over, too. And don't worry, it heats up well. I wouldn't recommend freezing it, though; stick it in the fridge for up to a week and microwave a bowl when you want it. Easy peasy!
Step 1: Ingredients
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: At least 3 hours
Yields: 6-8 heaping bowls
- 1lb+ Chuck roast (you want a cut with some fat in it so it falls apart nicely and adds flavor to the dish)
- Bag of mini carrots
- 3-4 large potatoes
- 1 large onion
- Garlic (about 4 cloves worth)
- Garlic powder
- 4 Bay leaves
- Wondra quick-mix flour
- Oil or Pam Spray
- Optional: Rosemary sprigs
- Optional: Celery
- 8qt pot
- Slotted spoon
Step 2: Prep the Meat
- Rub all sides of the roast with cumin, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.
- Sear all sides in a skillet so it's nice and browned.
Step 3: Prep the Rest
- Chop your onion and potatoes into bite-sized chunks. You can leave the skin on the potatoes or remove it depending on your preference. If you're adding celery or rosemary, prep them at this time as well. Add everything to the large pot.
- Drop a few bay leaves, at least 1tbs of cumin, salt, pepper, and your garlic into the large pot as well. The amount of spices is really up to you, but you want a decent amount of each to help flavor the dish as it cooks.
- Fill the pot with water until the bits are covered. You want just enough water in there to cover things, but not so much that what you've got will never boil off.
Step 4: Let It Cook!
- At this point all you have to do is set the pot on the stove for at least 3 hours on low-medium. On a scale of 1-10, you'll want the heat at about a 4. This will help the water steam off a little, and the vegetables to become soft and cooked-through.
- Check on the pot and stir things every once in a while to make sure nothing gets too dry. At the end of the cooking time, you want the water to be almost like a stock. Add more water as needed if too much boils off, but be sure not to add more than needed.
- Toward the end of the cooking period I sometimes turn the heat up to about a 6 to facilitate boiling off more water.
- You can consider your cooking complete when the vegetables are all soft and your meat is essentially falling apart when poked.
Step 5: Thicken Up Your Stock
This step is actually optional, but I personally like it. The point is to thicken up the juices from the pot so they're a bit more substantial and less watery. If you are short on time or don't care to mess with the juices, go ahead and serve it up!
- Either siphon off the stock into a large skillet or remove the vegetables and meat from the large pot. You want your juices separated from the bits, either way. You'll likely have some small bits of onion hanging around, but that's ok.
- Heat the stock to a low, rolling boil.
- Gradually add in your quick-mix flour, stirring briskly the entire time with your whisk. The amount of flour you need is entirely dependent on how much stock you have and how thick you want to make it. So as you pour and whisk, pay attention to how thick the mix gets and stop when you think it's ready (wait at least 30 seconds as you whisk to see the effect the flour has on the mix before adding more). You don't necessarily need it to be gravy-thick, just enough to give it a little oomph. Just don't stop whisking until everything is finished.
- If you end up with some little flour clumps, don't worry. A lot of them will disappear as you continue to whisk. Any that remain can just be picked around as you dole out the goods later.
Step 6: Combine and Serve
Once your stock is thickened up to your liking, recombine the ingredients and simmer for just a few minutes (no more than five). When that's finished, serve it up! It will of course be hot, so watch out.
If you're planning to keep your leftovers, just cover them and throw them in the fridge. You won't want to freeze this, but it will keep well in the fridge for about a week. Just microwave a bowl when you're ready for it.
So, there you have it! A really easy, hearty meal that will fill you up for at least a week. Enjoy!