Friday, July 16, 2010

Pot Roast 101

I had the unique opportunity to stretch my communication and cooking skills this week. I am teaching a friend of mine how to cook a pot roast. Stephanie is young, single and hasn’t cooked much on her own yet. She loves pot roast and wants to learn a dish that everyone will enjoy and will yield leftovers. Because Stephanie is a novice cook, we are starting from the beginning by choosing ingredients and learning techniques that she can use for many recipes. We are using the most basic equipment to show that you don’t have to have fancy slow cookers and gadgets to prepare a delicious meal.

The list:
Shoulder roast (this cut is my favorite for long and slow cooking; ½ lb each person, more for leftovers)
Gold potatoes (5lbs, good for leftovers)
Carrots (one per person)
2 pkgs Au jus gravy mix
Corn (we are using frozen corn but fresh or canned is perfect too)
Vegetable oil
Warm rolls/bread (your favorite, cooking a cozy family meal like this deserves the indulgence of bread)

Heat ¼ cup butter and ¼ cup vegetable oil at medium heat in a large pot. Season roast on all sides with salt and pepper then dust with flour. Put roast in hot pot and brown on all sides. Mixed au jus packet with water in cup and added to roast. Cover roast in pan with water and bring to boil. Lower heat to medium low and keep at a simmer for 5 to 7 hours adding enough water to keep roast covered.

After roast has cooked for at least five hours, add quartered potatoes and carrots to pot and cook until fork tender. Heat corn as directed and warm bread. Roast should be fork tender and fall apart for easy serving. Serve au jus left in pan on the side.

Stephanie learned good tips today. She learned how to sear meat to get a good crust on all types of meat and seal in juices. She learned how to pick a good piece of beef looking for marbling for flavor. The technique of braising this roast in liquid for a long period of time allows her to buy a tougher less expensive cut of meat but make it tender and tasty. Stephanie also learned that after seasoning and browning the roast in a pan then transfer to a crock-pot with the au jus gravy will give her the same delicious result and allow her to leave the house.

Stephanie was a great student and I hope we can continue to make recipes together as she grows her culinary skills.


  1. Ummmmmmm, YUM! That looks sooooo delish!

  2. One-on-one is the best way to learn to cook! This sounds like so much fun!

  3. I love your blog! You have started not only Stephanie on her culinary journey but think of all the people you will be helping to learn to cook a pot roast with this post.

  4. A+ for teaching an important basic! It looks like it turned out really well. How fun...

  5. This is probably how most of us learned to cook. Good for you for sharing your gift!

  6. It looks like Stephanie learned some great tips from you today! That pot roast doesn't look half shabby either. Kudos to you for being such a great teacher!

  7. You know, Mr. Fairway has been asking for pot roast. I think I'll try this. Thanks!


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