Food memories are the best memories. One quick sniff and you’re back at grandma’s, another whiff and you’re standing in your mom’s kitchen; the connection between your senses and memory is like a taste of time travel. The aroma of pot roast always reminds me of home. It doesn’t matter where I am when I smell it, it always seems to give me that warm welcoming feeling of comfort.
I wouldn’t say pot roast was a tradition, more like a staple. Roasting all day long in the slow cooker or oven, filling the house with a scent of tastiness to come. One can never really go wrong with pot roast — quite filling, to say the least, tender and juicy, and of course, there’s always the perfect accompaniment, gravy.
Ah yes, gravy. So delicious and perfect for slathering on top of meat, vegetables and potatoes alike. Who doesn’t like gravy? Okay, maybe you don’t but I love gravy. Personally, I wish gravy would be served with every meal but you are what you eat and I’d prefer to not look like gravy.
I guess what I’m trying to say is pot roast tastes like home, always, even if it’s not eaten at said home. This is the kind of meal I’d like to cook for my family, supplying them with food memories of our home by triggering their brains with a scent of a slow cooking hunk of meat that will shortly be smothered in gravy and devoured.
Here is a recipe for deliciously slow cooked pot roast and a gravy perfect for not only topping your roast but for pooling on top of your mashed potatoes.
Home Cooked Pot Roast and Gravy
5 lb chuck roast
2 cups onion, rough chopped
12 cloves garlic, peeled
32 ounces beef stock, plus some for deglazing
2 tablespoons Worcestershire
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup mushrooms, (shiitake, baby portobello, white)
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup vegetable oil, plus 2 tablespoons
Fresh ground pepper
• Preheat the oven to 275 degrees. Trim any large pieces of fat off of the outside of the meat. Using a paring knife, cut slits in the meat and stuff each with garlic, reserving 4-5 cloves for later. Salt and pepper the outside of the meat.
• Heat a cast iron skillet or large nonstick fry pan to high heat. Add 2 tablespoons to the pan and heat oil. Sear the meat on all sides, getting a good dark sear. Place the roast into a Dutch oven or deep roasting pan. Deglaze the skillet with a little bit of beef stock. Add the onions and remaining garlic. Sauté until the onions and garlic start to become caramelized or even black on the edges, getting soft and tender. Add the onion and garlic mixture to the roast. Add in the mushrooms, tomato paste and Worcestershire sauce. Cover and cook for 8 hours.
• Remove the roast from the oven. Take the roast out of the pan, set aside. Then take all that is remaining and strain, reserving the liquids.
• Heat the cast iron skillet to medium heat. In a small bowl mix together the 1/2 cup flour and 1/2 cup oil. Add to the skillet. Cook for 20 minutes, do not stop stirring until the roux becomes a dark nutty brown color. Whisk in the liquids from the roast. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve atop the roast and enjoy!