I knew I made it into some kind of wonderland when I made the best pot roast recipe.
But first – When I was a child, walking from the bus stop to home, suffering the weight of my back pack, bearing all its knowledge in hardbound books, I would find reprieve. Relax. The school day was over.
School was hard for me in those early years. I am small now, but I was really small then. Being small is like wearing a bullseye on your back and on most days, my classmates had nothing but darts.
But, the day would always end. And I would go home. I would go to a very loving, safe home.
Stepping in the front door, I was almost always met with the smells of my mother’s home cooking. Before she could say it with her words, the smells from the kitchen would say it to me first, “Welcome home. I have missed you so much. I know it’s been a long day. I made you some food. Come rest and replenish.”
My mom, she has always been there for me.
I especially heard her loving words ring when I smelled pot roast.
A home cooked meal is definitely one of my love languages. It communicates love to me and it is how I communicate love to others.
So when I married Beau I got to work on finding my very own perfect pot roast recipe. Sure I could have asked for my mom’s, it is delicious, but it felt like a discovery I needed to make on my own. Almost a right into womanhood.
I started with the highest rated recipe for a pot roast I could find online, one I had never tried, one I knew I would have to experiment with. It came from none other than Paula Dean.
My first attempt birthed a dry, tough piece of meat. I made notes on the recipe – less salt, more mushrooms, no bouillon cubes.
Then I tried again. More notes. And again more notes. Then Beau and I jumped on the path of a paleo lifestyle and I really had to make some notes. It is the reason why I use homemade cream of mushroom soup instead of the store bought kind that the original recipe calls for.
It’s been over two years and I finally have it.
I think it would be perfect for this upcoming Mother’s Day. It is always perfect on a lazy Sunday evening. And for friends, it never disappoints.
The Best Pot Roast Recipe
Pre-heat the oven to 275 degrees.
Start with a 3 to 4 pound boneless chuck roast. Take it from the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature while you prepare the rub.
In a small dish combine 2 teaspoons salt, 1 teaspoon black pepper and 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder. Mix it all together.
At this time it is also a good idea to prepare the gravy for the pot roast. Combine one 10 3/4 ounce can of cream of mushroom soup (or, for a healthier alternative use homemade cream of mushroom soup – which by the way is much tastier than the store bought stuff OR checkout the mushroom soup from Trade Joe’s – much better than other store bought options!), 1/4 cup red wine and 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce.
Mix to combine. Set aside. (Note: if you use the homemade mushroom soup, I used all of it, the amount the recipe makes, not just the amount of a can of mushroom soup, but that is also because I like lots of gravy on my pot roast).
Heat two tablespoons coconut oil (or vegetable oil) in a large dutch oven*. While that is heating rub the salt mix all over the chuck roast.
(*I cook my pot roast in a dutch oven but you can sear it in a skillet and then transfer it to a crock pot on low for 8 hours or you can prepare it in a dutch oven and then cover it with the lid and cook it in the oven at 350 degrees for 3/12 to 4 hours.)
Once the oil in the dutch oven is heated, add the chuck roast and sear it on all sides. About two minutes on each side. You want a nice brown color to form. Searing it is important because it will give the meat some nice caramelization which adds to the rich flavor of the meat.
Remove the meat and add to the pan 1 small yellow onion thinly sliced, 4-5 carrots that have been peeled and quartered, an 8 ounce package of sliced baby bella mushrooms (optional) and 3 cloves garlic crushed.
Stir them around and let them soak up all the good juices in the pan. About 1-2 minutes.
Make room in the middle of the dutch oven for the meat and add it back to the pan. On top of the meat add two dried bay leaves.
Pour the gravy directly over the roast.
Then, pour 3/4 cups beef broth or water all around the roast.
Cover the dutch oven with a lid and place it into the oven for 3 1/2 hours (if your chuck roast is 4 lbs add an extra hour).
If you want, halfway through the cooking time you should walk out on your front porch, smell the roses, and then fling the door open and smell the house. Oh goodness, it is the best! And yes, I do this multiple times during the cooking time :)
When you pull it out of the oven it will look like this:
It truly is the perfect pot roast every time.
If the gravy is not as thick as you like, just remove the roast to a platter and put the dutch oven on the stove. Heat on medium high. In a bowl mix 1/4 cup cold water with 2 teaspoons arrowroot (or 2 tablespoons corn starch), add it to the gravy, mix and allow it to come to a boil.
I like to serve it with steamed broccoli if I have some on hand. And always with creamy, savory sweet mashed potatoes. There is nothing like those sweet potatoes soaking up some of that gravy. Oh yum!
What about you? Was there a dish that your mom would make when you were a child that made you feel especially loved?