Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Guest Post: Paying Homage to Mom's Cooking

We all remember the cooking of the women in our lives, right? I have fond memories of oat bran muffins, Thanksgiving feasts, and blueberry coffee cake. Stephen is here to talk to us about good ol' pot roast. A while back, I discussed why I never use canned cream of mushroom soup. Were I to make what I call a Heritage Recipe -- that is, one from my culinary heritage, I wouldn't be inclined to change it. If it called for cream of ___ soup, that's what I'd use. Stephen gives us a good example of a recipe from his culinary heritage that uses such a soup.

Stephen, by the way, writes at The Obsessive Chef. He lives in Denver, Colorado. Thank you, Stephen, for sharing this mouth-watering dish with us.

Pot roast Mom's way

Talk about brown food! When I was a kid my mother regularly made pot roast for Sunday dinner. It went into the oven before we went to church and was ready to eat by about 1 pm.

You can see this hunk o' meat was pretty big (took this snap after dinner). About 4 pounds in fact. It's original price was just over $16. I got it on sale for $5 from the manager's specials bin at Safeway. The reason the price was reduced was that it's "last date of sale" was yesterday. But with beef or lamb I don't consider the date specific deadline to be of any importance whatsoever. With pork or poultry I feel differently of course.

The meat has been chilled and you can see more residual congealed fat in the bottom of the container. I'll skim off more of that when I reheat it for dinner tonight.

After researching various pot roast methods I happened on one that I just had to do. It mimics the way my mom cooked our pot roasts lo these many years ago. The only real difference is the wine. She didn't use it. Whether or not she used some chicken stock or not I really don't remember.

When the casserole came out of the oven, I was surprised by how much liquid there was.

Solution? Gravy.

Pot roast mom’s way

1 7-bone chuck pot roast, about 4 lbs.

1 package dry onion soup mix

1 can undiluted mushroom soup

1 ½ cups red wine

water and flour as needed

Preheat oven to 300°.

Place pot roast in a casserole just large enough to hold it. On top of meat put onion soup mix and mushroom soup concentrate. Pour wine around meat.

Cover with foil and seal tightly. Bake for 1 hour then reduce oven to 250°. Continue baking for 3 more hours.

Remove from oven and allow to cool to room temperature (or put it outside if the weather’s cold). Refrigerate until the fat congeals. Scrape up fat and discard. Pour liquid into an adequately sized sauce pan for gravy.

Taste and dilute with water as necessary (mine was extremely salty and strong – I added about ¾ cup of water). Bring to a boil. Whisk in about 1 tbsp flour per (estimated) cup of liquid. It takes more time and more flour here in mile-high Denver). Keep at a strong simmer and keep whisking until the gravy thickens.


Jenn said...

This so reminds me of growing up...Sunday lunches at my grandma's house with all my cousins. My cousin Cortney running through the house screaming: I HATE ROAST!!! lol

Andrea the Kitchen Witch said...

I love roast! My mom used to make a crock pot roast that we called Swiss Steak (Pretty sure that its not swiss at all) but it had golden mushroom soup and slab of beef. man it was good over egg noodles. This recipe reminds me of that :)

StephenC said...

I regret that the photo is of such inferior quality, even if the roast itself is not.

Kim said...

Campbell's Special Request soups are MSG-free if that's a concern. Whole Foods sells dried soup mixes so a natural foods store could be a source for onion soup mix that's free of MSG and other objectionable ingredients.

I've never seen a cut of beef called "7-bone chuck pot roast" here in CT nor have I seen them in St. Louis where I grew up. I think they're just called "bone-in chuck roast" in St. Louis but there's no such thing as a chuck roast in CT. Stores simply don't offer them. People here make pot roast with brisket and I'm sure it doesn't compare with your mom's pot roast made from chuck!

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