• Comfort Food Supper: Pot Roast 101

by Ginny McCormack November 12, 2016

Attitude is everything when it comes to success in the kitchen.  Well, that and a really good chuck roast.  A little wine doesn’t hurt either.  Most importantly, allow yourself a bit of freedom to experiment.  Recipes are guides; at least that’s how I’ve always viewed them.  If you don’t care for something, change it.  If you’ve got a different idea, try it.  You may – or may not – be pleased with the outcome, but you will be a better cook for having tried.  Also, do not fear failure.  Some of my best recipes have come about after a string of less than stellar results.  Just never give up.  This menu is practically no fail.  I love pot roasts because they are the most forgiving of all the braised meats.  You can experiment with them all day long and they will likely still be delicious.  Their savory aroma will draw your guests to the table in a trance-like state.  Pot roast has that kind of power.

Balsamic Glazed Pot Roast with Sun Dried Tomatoes

3 ½ - 4 lb. chuck roast, trimmed

4 Tbsp. plus 2 Tbsp. oil

1-2 large onions, coarsely chopped

1 (8 oz.) package sliced baby mushrooms

1 (3 oz.) package sun-dried tomatoes

 2 Tbsp. flour

1 ½ cups beef broth or stock

1/3 cup balsamic vinegar

2/3 cup red wine

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 tsp. smoked paprika

2 tsp. salt

 ½ tsp. pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cut the roast into 6-8 pieces.  In a 5-7 qt. Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat.  Add the meat in a single layer and brown for 3-4 minutes on each sideMeat may need to be browned in 2 batches. Remove the meat to a plate. 

 Add the remaining 2 Tbsp. oil, onions, mushrooms and sun-dried tomatoes to the Dutch oven. Sauté until the onions are tender.  Add the flour and stir.  Add the beef stock and deglaze the pan by scraping up any brown bits.  Add the balsamic vinegar, red wine, garlic, smoked paprika, salt and pepper. Stir until ingredients are combined, then return the chuck roast pieces and juices to the Dutch oven.

 Lay a piece of aluminum foil on top of the Dutch oven and carefully press down until it touches the entire surface of the pot roast. Tightly seal the edges of the foil, crimping them over the top of the Dutch oven.  Put the lid on top and cook for 2 hours.       Makes 8 servings

Easy Almond Rice

By toasting the almonds, you’ll bring out a deeper flavor that enhances this or any recipe.  The easiest way to toast nuts is in a dry skillet over medium heat, stirring often, until golden brown.

3 cups water

3 cups uncooked instant rice

2 Tbsp. butter

1 cup slivered almonds, toasted

1 tsp. salt

½ tsp. pepper

2 Tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped

 In a large saucepan, bring the water, rice and butter to a boil over medium high heat.  Remove from the heat.   Cover and let stand for 5-7 minutes or until the water is completely absorbed.  Stir in the almonds, salt and pepper.  Transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle with the parsley.   Makes 8 servings

Roasted Asparagus with Lemon Zest

This is hands down my favorite way to prepare asparagus.  With a generous sprinkling of salt, they are as addictive as french fries.  For a variation, you could omit the lemon zest and splash the spears with balsamic vinegar.

1 bunch asparagus spears, ends trimmed

3 Tbsp. olive oil

1 tsp. kosher salt

½ tsp. black pepper

1 Tbsp. lemon zest

 Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Place the asparagus on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil.  Toss to distribute the oil evenly.  Arrange the spears in a single layer.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Roast in the oven for 13-15 minutes, until tender and slightly charred around the edges.  Sprinkle asparagus with lemon zest.  Serve immediately.  Makes 4 servings

 Cherry Gelatin Salad

How I love a good gelatin salad.  They were once the rage in the south and adorned nearly every holiday table.  As with so many things, they fell from favor for a time, but I sense a revival.  When it comes to the art of balancing flavors, textures and temperatures, nothing rounds out a heavy meal like the cool, fruity sweetness of a good gelatin salad.  This old fashioned cherry salad is superb with our pot roast menu.  Prepare it with confidence and serve it with pride! 

2 cups boiling water

1 (21 oz.) can cherry pie filling

1 (8 oz.) can crushed pineapple, undrained

2 (3 oz.) pkgs. cherry-flavored gelatin mix

 In a large mixing bowl, combine the bowling water with the next three ingredients until the gelatin is completely dissolved.   Transfer the mixture to a serving dish.  Refrigerate until set, at least 2 hours.   Makes 8 servings


Ginny McCormack
Ginny McCormack


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