Sunday, November 03, 2013

What does Mississippi have to do with pot roast?

I tried a recipe for Sunday supper tonight that I have seen on Pinterest and Facebook enigmatically called Mississippi Pot Roast. I have no idea what Mississippi has to do with it, but it is a very simple way to make a pot your crock pot! I don't even know who to credit for the recipe, but I will explain the very simple methodology.

Start with a three-pound beef chuck roast, or whatever will fit in your slow cooker. None of the versions of the recipe that I found called for searing the roast first, but I think it's an important step. It ultimately makes the meat look and taste better! So brown the roast on both sides in a little olive oil in a large skillet over high heat, then transfer it to the crock pot. Sprinkle one dry ranch dressing packet and one dry au jus mix packet over the seared roast. Place a stick of butter on top of all that, and lastly, add five to seven whole pepperoncini peppers. Cook on low for five to seven hours, or until the roast is fork-tender.

After the meat was done cooking, I used a bulb baster to transfer all of the liquid from the crock pot into a gravy strainer (there will be a lot of fat that you will want to separate). I served the pot roast over a big pile of mashed potatoes drizzled with the savory gravy from the pot.

Now, for the big question: Would I make pot roast this way again? I must confess that the "recipe" is super-simple, and that part is appealing. And it is tasty. BUT as I suspected, with the two sodium-bomb seasoning packets, the resulting dish is very salty. So unless I could find lower-sodium versions of those packets, I would probably just use my own combination of seasonings to be able to control the salt. Also, why do we need a whole stick of butter? A chuck roast is very fatty anyway, and is basically self-basting, producing a rich, tender result when cooked low and slow. So I would prefer to use a different cooking liquid, like beef stock or red wine or even Coca-Cola, and eliminate the additional fat. But you make your own decision--you're grown! ;-)

P.S. Whether or not I return to this particular pot roast recipe, I will DEFINITELY make the salad we had tonight again and again. I used fresh, local baby spinach, Castello blue cheese (hand-crumbled), Honey Crisp apple chunks, toasted pepitas, slivered shallots, all dressed with a blue cheese vinaigrette and a good grinding of black pepper. SO YUMMY!

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