Aunt June’s Easy Oven Pot Roast, Gravy and Vegetables
This is one of those family recipes that we’ve used for years, eminently practical, with lots of elbow room for personal touches. Thank you, Aunt June! The quantities of some ingredients were originally a bit vague, in keeping with a “what-do-we-have-in-the-cupboard-today” philosophy. Remember, this was meant to be an EASY recipe, so it includes some packaged ingredients to help a tired cook at the end of a long day!
1 pot roast (Chuck, about 4 pounds.)
2 tablespoons olive oil (You may need slightly more.)
8-10 small red potatoes (Wash well, peeled if you prefer. I do not. Yukon Gold potatoes work well, too!)
4 carrots (More or less. Peeled and chopped in 2 inch pieces.)
4 celery stalks (More or less. Chopped.)
1 large onion (More or less. Peeled and chopped.)
2 boxes (8oz each) pre-sliced mushrooms (You can buy whole mushrooms and slice them yourself if you have the energy!)
4 large garlic cloves (More or less. Peeled and crushed with garlic press.)
1 can (8oz) of plain tomato sauce
1 can undiluted cream of mushroom soup
1 package dried onion soup mix
1 1/2 cups quality red wine (Burgundy or you could try merlot.)*
1 cup chicken stock*
1 tsp thyme (3 stems fresh if you have it!)*
1/2 tsp rosemary (2 stems fresh if you have it!)*
1/2 cup of parsley, chopped for garnish.*
* These ingredients are optional. We almost always add the red wine. I noticed that our old family recipe shares similarities with the famous Ina Garten’s (Barefoot Contessa). Hers has more steps, and adds the chicken broth and herbs. After looking at other pot roast recipes, I note that many have essentially the same core ingredients, albeit in varying proportions.
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. You will need a dutch oven, or some other heavy lidded pan that can go into the oven. We have an old cast-iron pot with a lid. More modern versions of this would be lidded pots from Le Creuset, for example. Take pot roast out of refrigerator and bring to room temperature.
Pre-heat your pot on the stove top at medium heat. When hot, add the olive oil, stirring if necessary to spread the oil over the entire bottom of the pot. Carefully place the roast in the pot to sear on all sides. Be careful as the oil may sizzle and “pop!” Sear the roast about 3-4 minutes per side. If you want to skip this step, it’s OK! I believe the flavor is better with searing, but there won’t be a disaster if you don’t.
Add chicken stock, red wine, undiluted cream of mushroom soup, dried onion soup mix, tomato sauce, all the chopped vegetables, mushrooms, garlic, and potatoes. Add thyme and rosemary. Calmly stir around the roast so that the ingredients are somewhat mixed together.
Cover pot tightly with foil, then with lid. Place dutch oven pot in oven and bake for about 3 hours or until roast is tender.
When the pot roast is done, carefully place the roast on a platter or cutting board to slice. Spoon out of the pot all of the potatoes and vegetables, and put in a separate bowl for serving. Adjust seasonings for the gravy. If it is too thick, you can add a little more chicken broth or wine. Garnish plates with parsley if you’d like!
Delicious! It’s dinner-time!