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Life's Lesson N°6: White Trash Pot Roast


Well, moving right along… Today we have to talk about pot roast. Now, I have to say, in my 44 years on this earth I have never, ever had a better pot roast than my mother’s. It’s not fancy, it’s not gourmet, in fact it’s kind of white trash but that’s what makes it delicious. Nothing makes a house feel warmer than a pot roast cooking in the oven and nothing would get my sister, brother and me to the table faster than a pot roast. Even though our table was perfectly set with a tablecloth, proper dinnerware, linen napkins… There was no escaping our Midwestern roots when my mother served the pot roast with a plate stacked tall with slices of Wonder white bread, a separate plate with a brick of salted butter and each of our glasses filled with good old Coca-Cola. Yes, this is how we do pot roast.

I realize that other people have evolved and improved on the pot roast by adding balsamic vinegar, horseradish, Dijon mustard and God forbid a baguette and a glass of wine...But not us. However, considering this is 2015… I just might.

Let’s start with some secrets from the experts…

A Dutch oven is imperative. It also must have a tight fitting lid. You do not want the steam to escape.
Do not raise your oven too high, never over 350°F. It’s all about a long slow cook on moderate heat.
Chuck roast is the best cut of meat for a pot roast. Look for consistent marbling.
Make sure to brown /sear the meat slowly and on all sides first.
After you brown the meat, sometimes it’s a good idea to cut the onions in half and sear them a little bit on their sides for a smoky flavor.
Not too much liquid… It is a braise, not a stew.

 
Okay, now let’s take a look at some recipes… Starting with my mother’s…


 

My Mom's Pot Roast Recipe
Preheat oven to 350
1 chuck roast about 2 to 3 inches thick
1 cup flour seasoned with salt and pepper
2 cans Swanson beef broth
1 bag of carrots peeled and cut in half
2 large onions cut into chunks
4 to 5 medium Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into quarters.
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

4 bay leaves
Gravy
4 tablespoons flour
4 tablespoons melted butter
 
Put the flour in a flat bowl like a pie pan.  Season the flour.  I like a lot of pepper.  Put the chuck roast in the flour and cover with flour on all sides...shake off excess flour.
In a dutch oven or large deep pan heat the vegetable oil on medium heat.  Brown the roast on all sides.  Don't go fast with this.  Browning is important.  Brown not burn. Add the 2 cans of beef broth ( just enough to cover the roast), carrots, onions, potatoes, bay leaves and let it come to a boil. Put a lid on the pan and put in the oven for 3 or 4  hours or until it is very tender. It is done when it falls apart with a fork. Check on the roast during the 3 hours to see if it needs more broth.  Add more if needed. When the roast is done take it out of the pan along with the vegetables and put on a serving platter.  Put the pan on the burner now with the liquids to make the gravy. Heat the liquid to almost boiling.  Mix the flour and butter together to make a paste.  Add this to the liquid with a whisk and stir until thick. Turn down heat to medium heat.   If you need to add more of the flour/butter make more and add a little at a time until you have the right  thickness for gravy.  Season with Salt and pepper.  The carrots and onions are what makes the gravy good.
If you don't want to add the potatoes you can have mashed potatoes instead.
Cooking the roast for a long time with a lid on the roast makes a huge difference.  It makes it very tender and moist...Enjoy
 
The Barefoot Contessa's Company Pot Roast. Recipe HERE
 
 
Pot Roast from A Feast for the Eyes Blog. Recipe HERE
 
 
Pot Roast from The Wicked Noodle Blog. Recipe HERE.



Voilà! Pot roast mastered!

*Something you don’t know about me? I am never depressed. I do not have a depressed gene in my body. I may have panic attacks but I am never depressed. Isn’t that weird? You will not find any self-help books at my house...Except one. Don’t think I’m a total freak but there is one book that actually helped me and if I can get through ALS without having depression there is hope for everyone for whatever problems they may have. I wish I knew then what I know now. I wish I knew that any sort of toxicity can bring about disease. Toxic food, toxic medicine, toxic lifestyle, toxic relationships and even toxic friendships. Your brain is a very powerful beast and it can be used for good or evil. Your choice. Before I got sick, there were years and years and pounds and pounds of stress… Like all of us have. Looking back, I did not have the tools to process this. I internalized everything… And look where that got me! 40 years old with ALS. Even though I had never been depressed, I was scared that I was going to be. June 16, 2011 I was diagnosed with ALS and within two weeks I was in Paris with David meeting with an ALS specialist… Blah blah blah. The doctor is really nice but he is also literally “of no help.” I started doing my own research. After a few weeks, I came across a book called The Healing Codes by Alex Loyd and Ben Johnson. Like the rap song says, “You better check yourself before you wreck yourself.” So that’s what I did… With the help of The Healing Codes. Not to be creepy, but this book can help everyone. The basic premise is to rid yourself of toxins and this book shows you how with the power of your mind. Mind over matter. Even if I cannot stop ALS from ravaging my body, I can definitely stop it from ravaging my mind. I ordered the book immediately and because I was in France it would have taken too long for it to be shipped because I needed it yesterday! So, I downloaded it onto my iPhone. I sat for hours and hours, scrolling and scrolling, on that little iPhone. I read it wherever I went… In the car, while I was having my blood taken, at lunch, on benches of a Parisian gardens, at dinner… I would not stop until I read the entire book. Finally I finished it and was ready to implement the codes. But, for some reason, I couldn’t do it in France. It just wasn’t working for me. Six weeks later we were in our new house in Santa Barbara. I would take my little yoga mat outside to the back terrace surrounded by roses and sunshine and I would sit alone and meditate for an hour every day for a few months. Guess what, I swear to God it totally worked. I didn’t feel the heaviness anymore. Honestly, I couldn’t even remember what my problems were. All I knew was that I cleared my fucking mind, gave it a fresh slate, retained all of the good memories and was ready to go forward and tackle ALS. The toxic memories were distant memories. I still remember them but they were not affecting me. So, if you want to keep yourself healthy and avoid any impending doom like illnesses and depression., my advice is to read The Healing Codes. :-)

39 comments:

  1. You are magnificent. Know that your words and thoughts on a computer screen helped someone thousands of miles away in Florida. Your emotions and attitude saved me, and in turn, saved my mother from a lifetime of heartbreak and despair (and she doesn't even know it). Thank you for being my light.

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  2. Thank you for the book's recommendation. Did the author write in his book he healed his ALS with the codes?

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    1. Whoops, the authors names are Alex Lloyd and Ben Johnson. I will add it to the blog. Yes he said he healed his ALS with the codes but who knows. Maybe. Miracles do happen.

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  3. Your mum is a good looking broad

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  4. 1. Your mother is gorgeous. 2. Will definitly try your miriade of pot roasts. 3. Exactly which Miracle Code are you recommending. Who is the authour? 4. Thank you for the beauty, bravery, strength and style you bring to my life.

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  5. Merci Ellie, I'll dash for "The Healing Codes", gorgeous mom and gorgeous YOU....awww, and I love Pot Roast....I am diffidently going for your mom's recipe....I have managed to screw up a pot roast before but didn't have your mom's recipe, just did it on my own...quite embarrassing. *meat was too tuff *.....though I am typically a good cook having learned from my mom...I am a bit like you, not depressed type person, but do get some anxiety or fears during these tuff times financially, but being raised by optimist I think this has helped my fire in my belly....meditation is a miracle worker!!! Xo

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  6. I love everything about cooking a pot roast...the way the house smells when it is in the oven and the taste...such a comfort on a cold day. Your mom is gorgeous!
    It's timely that you speak of depression as there is a program on the CBC right now discussing that very topic...
    An "attitude of gratitude" is instrumental in keeping me optimistic.
    I'm impressed by your healthy attitude and outlook...
    thank you for your recipe.

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    1. An attitude of gratitude! I love that. XOXO

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  7. I have ALL the ingredients but the CHUCK ROAST!Will make tonight!
    YOUR MOM and YOU are so similar..............I bet you have heard that your whole 44 years!She must be SO PROUD of YOU and YOUR BLOG.................
    Working on a new POST with photos of HER food I made over the HOLIDAYS from YOUR COOKBOOKS will "AIR" tomorrow!Please come by and take a peek!
    Out the door to BUY the CHUCK ROAST!
    XOXOXOXO

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    1. Going to go read your blog right now. You know how much I love it. Come back to Paris. XOXO

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  8. As always, I love your posts, recipes and outlook.
    Thanks for all your share. You are a dear.
    pve

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  9. I just watched an episode of "Cook's Country" this weekend. They cooked pretty much this exact same dish and called it French.
    White trash doesn't cook that much, does it? Unless it's fried. With the grease that's left sitting on the back of the stove, fermenting, ready to go at a moments notice. Which is what my grandmother did. She would pour all the leftover bacon grease in an old Crisco can and then use that to fry eggs in and other stuff where you needed "grease." (Which is delicious, by the way. French guys use duck fat. What's the prob?) Which is a bit different from white trash who leave their fryer on the counter ready to go at a moment's notice.
    Anyway, grandma wasn't white trash. She was German.
    Sheila

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    1. Sheila, my grandmother did the exact same thing with leftover bacon grease. She would put it in a blue glass jar up in the window! So delicious! XOXO

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    2. I received an email from my mother last night and she corrected me… It was not grease in the blue glass jar. I don't know what it was but she said that my grandmother put the grease in a Crisco can as well next to the stove. So gross but so good

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    3. What a great post, Ellie! Such memories you provoked - thank you for reminding me!! And how I know the Crisco can with leftover grease. Growing up in the 70's, my mom had us keep our can in the freezer and then "scoop out" what we needed for frying -- usually it was for a fried Bologna on Wonder Bread sandwich (with a little mustard!), my dad's favorite. White trash? Who knows. "Survival" is what we called it. It's no wonder I don't eat meat anymore.

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  10. I just downloaded the book, Ellie. Thank you for sharing it. I have had a medical miracle, so I am a believer . . . I wish the same for you. Louise

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  11. Mother called that back fat. She was from West Virginia but I was born and raised in what I call the Sub South (Florida). She even left me a cook book called White Trash Cooking. It has a lot of pictures of rubenesque (ahem) women cooking up game and road kill with greens and grits. She collected cook books and I guess she thought it was funny. Anyway, her pot roast included Liptons dry onion soup mix which I feel epitomizes white trash 70's cooking.
    I will be Amazoning the shit out of your book recommendation. I hope you have a miracle because I love you. Even though I've just been a voyeur till now.
    Happy New Year Ellie!

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  12. Haha I would so love to see the table all beautifully set with Wonder Bread stacked on china! Pot roast was the first thing I cooked. It was a disaster, but thankfully I've learned quite a bit since then :) chuck is definitely the cut to use! I don't like regular coke, but perhaps my White Trash Sangria would pair well. It's 1 bottle (or if you want to really get authentic-1/4 box) merlot, a few cups of sprite zero, and the juice of one orange. You'll be disappointed in yourself for liking it so much. It was invented by me when my best friend and I were skipping beauty school to lay out. To paint the picture for just how WT this was: it was like March 30th and there was still snow on the ground. But it was the first day over 50 so we were going to authenticate our tanning bed tans with some real UV.
    You amaze me with your attitude. You are such a bright light and I am so embarrassed to think about the dumb things that can bring me to pieces. I once went into a depression based on buying a Christmas tree that was a foot too short! I'm still disgusted with myself over that one, but I suppose in the scheme of things...not such a big deal.

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    1. I am totally trying your sangria. I wouldn't be depressed about a Christmas tree that was a foot too short… I would more likely have a little something called "rage." :-)

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  13. Thanks for letting us know about this book. I looked it up on Amazon and it got great reviews. I immediately went to my library website and put it on hold and hope to be reading it tomorrow!

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  14. Do you know how many people you have potentially helped by recommending The Healing Code? LOTS!

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  15. Thanks for the suggestion, Ellie. We can all use help keeping the stress at bay. My husband and I had a beef stew he made the other night, and we were talking about how we hadn't had a pot roast in ages. Any idea of the equivalent to chuck in France?

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    1. I did a little research for what would be the equivalent for Chuck roast in France. Most of the people said to use joue de boeuf, beef cheeks.

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    2. Thanks, Ellie, that was very kind of you! I was going to look it up today. Instead I let you, a woman who can't move, do it for me. What kind of a person am I? On second thought, don't answer that. Huge hugs for doing my research for me.

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  16. I have downloaded the book. I am actually in a really good place at the moment, but room for improvement - always! Thanks Ellie

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  17. I'm trying your pot roast this week! Thanks for all the recipes and for recommending The Healing Codes!

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  18. My mom's pot roast is a dish to behold....much like you and your fabulous blog. I'm smitten.

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  19. My mom and I were the best of the best white trash while I was growing up ;) We were dirt poor and lived in the equivalent of a ghetto back then, but I still think I had the absolute best childhood any kid could ask for.
    Our grease also went into the Crisco can and I did the same when first married (to that first guy...hah!).
    I absolutely love your blog and adore your attitude.

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  20. I love pot roast! Yesterday, I made stew and used the wrong cut of meat. It was dry and tough so chuck for pot roast will be my go to meat.
    I am really enjoying all your other recipes.
    Judy

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  21. I haven't had a pot roast (or even thought of one) in ages....putting it on my list. You've made me so hungry. I've heard of "The Healing Codes". I've been practicing meditation for quite a while, but tend to slide when not directed.....will be going to Amazon asap. Sending love and blessings for the day. xoxoxo Mary

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  22. Ellie, I know all about that Crisco can by the stove! One morning many decades ago the bacon grease caught fire while my mother was cooking breakfast at our house in rural Mississippi. It wasn’t a large blaze, but the hall was filled with acrid black smoke when we came downstairs to go to school. My parents were pretty calm, but a potentially bigger problem was that the room directly above the kitchen on the second floor was where my father kept his prized collection of shotguns and related ammunition. Something to think about when designing the layout of a house n’est-ce pas? Another factor was there were no working fire trucks in our town. Fortunately the house did not burn down or blow up. XO Mimi

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  23. Thank you Ellie....I am craving pot roast now. And I need this book! xo

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  24. Great post, Ellie. The pot roast recipe looks delish. I am going to order the book. I learn something from every one of your posts.

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  25. Well, if this is WHITE TRASH I must be a member of the club. I was just thinking of making a pot roast as our weather is dreary, overcast, misting rain & cold. As you said, what could be better? Absolutely nothing, it's comfort food for certain. Sending love....

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  26. Thanks for the book recommendation,will investigate. K xxx

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  27. Hello! I made your pot roast last night and became instantly popular at my house! Yummy!

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  28. So Ellie…hands down you are most entertaining blogger I know (virtually). Your humor in the face of such a crappy disease is inspiring. Just wanted to say you inspired me to make a pot roast -- never made one before -- not sure it was "white trash" (i got the meat at Whole Foods) pot roast but it was damn good! thank you and warm hugs from sunny SoCal...

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