Basic Beef or Pork Pot Roast with Easy Brown Gravy
- 3-4 lb. chuck roast, 7-bone, round bone, or boneless
- 1 can(s)
- cream of mushroom or cream of celery soup, undiluted
- 1 pkg
- dry onion or onion/mushroom soup mix
- 2 can(s)
- medium potatoes
- 2 stalk(s)
1) Stir undiluted soups together with water and chopped celery
2) Put onions and roast in pan, spoon on sauce
3) Bake, covered, two hours
4) Add veggies
5) Bake uncovered about one hour until done
In large, over-sized oven-proof dutch oven or baking dish, mix together one small can of condensed mushroom soup with one packet of onion or onion/mushroom soup mix. Note: If using a roasting pan or making a larger roast, use 2 cans of soup and 2 packets of dry soup mix. Leave room for some water to come out of the roast without overflowing the pan, and to add veggies later.
This recipe may look difficult because I've added so much detail, but it's really very easy. The only thing that I ever had go wrong in 40 years of using this recipe was one time I used a roasting pan, which was way too big. It didn't have a tight enough lid and I didn't double the sauce, so the gravy got too dry and it scorched.
For Step One: For the warm water, I half fill the empty soup can with cold water, then add boiling water to top - never use water hot from the tap. I use Campbells condensed soup and Lipton dry soup mix, I think it makes a difference over any store brands I've tried. (Instead of making the soup mixture in the pan, you can make it in separate bowl and pour over, but I hate doing extra dishes :) ) Some people brown the roast with flour first; I find it isn't necessary with this recipe because it browns at the end, and the condensed soup already has flour in it, which thickens the gravy - again no extra dishes, please.
For steps 10 & 14: Add more water to sauce during cooking time if gravy starts to get too thick or starts sticking to pan. Some roasts release more water than others, so it might not be necessary to add more water. When done, the very top of the roast should have a thin layer that's a little crunchy and deep brown. If the roast itself starts getting too dry during cooking, turn roast over and/or add a little more water.
For Step 12: It's preferable, but not imperative, to leave some of the veggies (except the celery) poking out from the top of the liquid so they can brown slightly, but you want them at least touching the liquid so they pick up that good flavor. You can also double-layer the veggies if necessary to get them all in the pan and have them not be all the way under the liquid.
a) If your pan is a very large or a LOT larger than your roast, you might want to make a double batch of the sauce. b) If the gravy is too thin after the cooking is done, pour or spoon sauce into a saucepan. Mix a little flour with cold water and stir into sauce. Simmer, stirring, about five minutes until gravy is thickened to your liking, adding more water or flour/water if necessary. I find that the gravy is usually fine the way it is, without having to thicken it. If it's too watery, you might want to check and see if it needs salt. c) I have also made this a with sirloin of pork roast, and it tastes pretty much the same. You may have to butterfly it so that it is better covered by the sauce. d) If your family prefers it, you can add a little thyme and/or rosemary and/or garlic to the sauce before cooking, I prefer it without. e) The roast will cook down considerably, and I like leftovers anyway, so I use 3/4-1 lb per person. f) Remember - If your roast or pan is very large or you plan on leftovers, you can double the gravy and add more veggies. I've even used the large can of condensed soup before.