Thursday, April 21, 2016

Proceed With Caution: Mississippi-ish Pot Roast

I've been hearing a lot lately about a pot roast recipe that has "taken the internet by storm". You've probably heard about it too, and maybe like me you haven't tried it because, well, because it just doesn't sound like something that would take the internet by storm in these enlightened times.

The ingredients are something that you find in one of those community cookbooks. Lots of sodium and a bunch of dried stuff, with the stars of the show being a pretty cheap cut of beef and a handful of super vinegary salad bar peppers. Doesn't sound like something that you would find outside of your grandparents' 1970s dinner table does it?

OK, so I got a wild hair yesterday, and with nothing better on the suppertime calendar, I bought the stuff that I remembered seeing in the recipes for this dish. Why I didn't just check the recipe on my phone, I do not know, but I didn't. I guess at my age, this is what is called living on the edge.

So I got home with my bag of groceries, checked the recipes on the internet and realized that I didn't have any dried au jus gravy mix. Refusing to go back to the store for a mix, I improvised. I crushed a few bouillon cubes, added a couple of dashes of garlic and onion powders, and very thinly sliced some yellow onion (because I think everything is better with onions).

I added the rest of the ingredients, threw it all in my slow cooker and let 'er rip for about 3 hours on high. The result? A pretty darned good pot roast. A surprisingly good pot roast in fact.  It was just a little bit spicy with a savory sauce that was really perfectly seasoned. Color me surprised!

Now, before some troll pops up and leaves a comment about me killing my family with high sodium and preservatives (like has happened before), I must warn you all. Don't eat this stuff every night. Serve with healthy sides. Use these ingredients with caution. Thoroughly enjoy every delicious bite!

Mississippi-ish Pot Roast

My recipe here is a bit different from the original, but the credit still belongs to Mississippi mom, Robin Chapman. As the story goes, she adapted a recipe that she got from her aunt for roast beef sandwiches. She passed it on to a lifelong friend of hers, who then published it in her church's cookbook. From there a popular blogger published it on the internet and the rest is history. For Robin's original recipe and a cute video of her on GMA, please click here.

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
3 pound chuck roast
Coarsely ground black pepper to taste
1 envelope dried ranch dressing mix
1 envelope au jus or French onion soup mix (or like I did, 2 beef bouillon cubes crushed, a pinch of granulated garlic and onion powder and 1/2 of a small onion, finely diced)
8 - 10 pepperoncini peppers, whole or very coarsely chopped

Pour vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium high heat or slow cooker if yours has a browning feature. Once oil is shimmering and hot, add chuck roast, that has been peppered to taste, and sear on both sides.

If using your slow cooker, preheat it to low or high (depending on how long your have to cook it) and transfer the meat to it. You can also use a deep sided skillet and cook, covered on top of the stove on low, or cook low and slow in your oven (about 300 degrees for 2 - 3 hours) until tender.

Once it is in the pan you plan to cook it in, sprinkle both packets over the top of the roast followed by the pepperoncini. There is no need to add any liquid if your roast is tightly covered. It will produce its own sauce from the moisture in the meat. OK, If you love some extra sauce, then you can add some water a half cup at a time, but you really don't want to overdo it.  Cover and cook for up to several hours (this will depend on your cooking method) or until tender.

Once done, you can serve in portions with rice or mashed potatoes or shred with two forks and serve on crusty bread rolls.

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