This pot roast recipe is one of my comfort foods. My mom used to make it nearly every Sunday. It comes out with a creamy gravy, rather than a watery sauce like some recipes. Make some extra and use it for shredded meat burritos later!
1SUMMARY STEPS. SEE DETAILED INSTRUCTIONS BELOW.
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.
3Stir in 2 soup cans warm water for each can of soup. Optional: Stir about 2-3 heaping tablespoons of chopped celery (or finely chopped celery leaves) into soup mixture.
4Slice whole onion into about 6-8 thick slices. Place most of the onions in bottom of pan, reserving a few rings for top of roast.
5Place chuck roast on top of sliced onions in pan. If you use a larger roast, you may want to butterfly it or cut it in half to cook faster and not dry out.
6Spoon some of the soup mixture from pan over meat, place rest of onions on top of the meat.
7Cover pan TIGHTLY with lid or tin foil, and bake in 350 degree oven for two hours, or one hour if using a smaller roast. (it is not necessary to preheat oven first)
8After roast cooks covered for two hours, turn over. Don't worry about where the onions are, they'll cook into the sauce. Add a little water if the gravy is starting to get too thick. It should be about the consistency of heavy cream right now, it will thicken more later. If you are using a tight-fitting lid, you may not need to add any water.
9While roast is baking, wash and then prepare vegetables as follows, peel or not as you prefer. Slice carrots crosswise into large chunks, up to 3 inches long (or use baby carrots). Cut potatoes lengthwise into quarters (cut in half again crosswise if potatoes are large), and slice celery into large bite-sized chunks.
10After two hours, place celery in liquid around roast, then stack potatoes and carrots on top, at least partially in the liquid if possible (this is why you needed an over-sized pan).
11Place pan, covered, back in oven for about 15 minutes to steam the veggies a little.
12Uncover pan. Cook another 30 minutes to an hour, until roast is fork-tender with a thin layer of crunchiness on top, and veggies are roasted on the tops (or at least tender). Check a few times while cooking. If things start getting too dry before they are done, add a little water and/or put the lid back on.
13Serve pot roast in large, serving-sized chunks with veggies and gravy, or cut or pull into large bite-size pieces. I like to serve a salad and maybe some bread with it. Leftovers make great shredded beef burritos! Meat is easier to shred when warm, so shred some before cooling if your plan is to use the leftovers shredded later.
14BONUS NOTES & HINTS 1
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.
15BONUS NOTES and HINTS 2
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.
16BONUS NOTES & HINTS 3
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.
17BONUS NOTES & HINTS 4
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.