I had a weekend filled with nostalgia this past weekend at my mother's house. It's interesting in this day of expensive cookware and fancy gadgets that our parents and grandparents somehow survived without clad bakeware, bamboo mixing bowls or fine cutlery. Don't get me wrong, I love my kitchenware and it would be very difficult to not have it. I have a deep appreciation for quality cookware, bakeware, knives, etc. - but I was reminded of how some things really do stand the test of time. Note, my mother's covered roaster - this was actually her mother's roaster, she figured it was at least 60 years old. No, it's not fancy, clad or copper - but it is the perfect tool for the job in this kitchen. It made a succulent roast and potatoes that fed a crowd, with some to spare. It's funny, because the roaster doesn't seem to weigh more than a couple of sheets of paper - yet I forgot how this is what we grew up on.
With that said, we used this vintage, covered roaster and remixed my mother's traditional pot roast and potatoes by updating it. You will review the recipe below and think 'what, are you serious?', but you will be amazed at how these flavors meld together and form a wonderful base for the meat and subsequent vegetables to braise in. The first oddity is Dr.Pepper, we use that for the acid - it helps to break down the meat fibers and make it more tender. Second is a can of cream soup, can't have a traditional Midwestern meal without at least adding one can of cream soup. Last is a package of onion soup mix - this provides all the seasoning and spices you will need.
3-4 lb beef roast
Pepper, for seasoning roast
2 tbsp oil
2 lbs potatoes, peeled and cut
1 lb carrots, peeled and cut
1 can or bottle Dr.Pepper, Coke or Pepsi
1 can Cream soup - mushroom, chicken or celery
1 package dry onion soup mix
1/2 cup water
2 tbsp. corn starch
Preheat oven to 350. Place roaster on stovetop over medium high heat. Season outside of roast lightly with pepper. Add 2 tbsp oil and when oil is shimmering place roast in pan and sear for 5 minutes, until brown. Turn roast on other side and brown for 4-5 minutes.
Pour pop, cream soup and dry onion soup mix into roaster and stir to combine. Put cover on top and place in oven for two hours. Remove from oven, uncover and place vegetable in with the roast, place cover back on and put into oven for one additional hour.
Remove from oven, using a slotted spoon or fork remove roast and vegetable - place on platter and cover with foil to keep warm. Place roaster on stovetop and bring to boil Mix 1/2 cup water with 2 tbsp. corn starch, stir with fork to combine. Pour mixture into gravy and stir to thicken gravy, make sure it is boiling as gravy will not thicken if it is not boiling. Remove from heat and let sit for five minutes. Remove tent from platter, pour gravy into pitcher if desired or place a ladle in the roaster. Serve.