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Catering Classics: Pot Roast

American cuisine is One of the many food specialties offered by Enck’s Plus Catering. One American favorite dish and a commonly requested item from our menus is Pot Roast. Almost every American home has made this easily prepared dish at some point and if you havent by the end of this blog post you will have several recipes and reasons to pull out the old crock pot hidden atop the cabinets in the kitchen or buried in the kitchen closet somewhere. First I’ll tell you a little about the history of this catering favorite and then I’ll share recipes for the two most common preparations of this meal: Yankee Potroast and Southern Style.

From Wikipedia:

Pot roast is an American beef dish[1] made by slow cooking a usually tough cut of beef in moist heat. Tougher cuts such as chuck steak, bottom round, short ribs and 7-bone roast are preferred for this technique. These cuts are American terms; different terms and butchering styles are used throughout the Anglophone world and beyond. While the toughness of the fibers makes them unsuitable for oven roasting, slow cooking tenderizes the meat as the beef imparts some of its flavor to the water.

Browning the roast before adding liquid is an optional step to improve the flavor. Browning can occur at lower temperatures with a longer cooking time, but the result is less intense than a high temperature sear. Either technique can be used when making pot roast.[2] The result is tender, succulent meat and a rich liquid that lends itself to gravy.

In the US, where it is also known as "Yankee pot roast",[3] the dish is often served with vegetables such as carrots, potatoes and onions simmered in the cooking liquid. Pot roast is a dish with influences from the French dish boeuf à la mode, the German dish sauerbraten, and Ashkenazi meat stews. The more recent "Mississippi Pot Roast" is typically made with chuck, ranch flavored seasoning powder, and pepperoncini.[4]

According to the food writer James Beard, French Immigrants to New England brought their cooking method called retouffiee for tenderizing meats. Later immigrants from Germany to Pennsylvania and the Mid West cooked sauerbraten and marinated roasts, larded and slow cooked for taste and tenderness. In New Orleans, daube was a popular dish. Jewish immigrants brought in adaptations from Hungary, Austria and Russia.

What is Yankee Pot Roast?

Yankee pot roast is a dish that originated in the United States but is based off a European cooking technique called braising. The dish is centered on a piece of beef, usually a tougher cut, that is first seared in a deep pan, then simmered in a stock or its own juices, or both. In addition, various vegetables are added to the pan to be simmered along with the meat.

Yankee Pot Roast Recipe:


1/4 cup pure olive oil

3 onions, sliced

One 3- to 4-pound top or bottom round beef roast

Flour for dredging

8 slender carrots, or fatter ones cut in half or quartered

3 ribs celery, cut in half

2 1/2 cups beef broth

1 1/2 cups hearty red wine

5 or 6 sprigs fresh thyme

1 rounded teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Salt to taste

2 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature

2 rounded tablespoons flour

  • In a large, heavy flameproof casserole, preferably cast iron, over medium heat, heat the olive oil and sauté the onions until golden. Thoroughly dredge the beef in the flour, covering all the surfaces. Add to the pan and brown on all sides. The flour may cause the onions to burn slightly. This is good and will add lots of flavor. Add the carrots, celery, beef broth, wine, thyme, black pepper, and salt to taste. Reduce heat, partially cover, and barely simmer for 3 to 3 1/2 hours, turning the beef occasionally. Remove the carrots and celery when they are cooked and reserve.

  • When the beef is falling-apart tender, remove it from the broth. Remove the thyme sprigs. Knead the butter and 2 tablespoons flour together until thoroughly combined. Add the mixture to the broth and stir with a wooden spoon until you have a sauce the consistency of buttermilk. Remove from the heat.

  • To serve, slice the beef and arrange on a platter. Cover with some of the sauce. Put the remaining sauce in a bowl or gravy boat. Arrange the carrots and celery attractively on the beef platter. Garnish with fresh thyme sprigs, if you like. Serve immediately.

What is Southern Pot Roast?

Southern pot roast is a classic dish that is slow-cooked to perfection minus the braising. Similarly to Yankee Pot Roast It is usually made with beef roast, potatoes, carrots, onions, and other vegetables. The dish is seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and thyme. The roast is cooked on low for 8 hours or high for 6 hours in a slow cooker.

Southern Pot Roast Recipe:


For the Pot Roast:

  • 1 (3-pound) boneless chuck pot roast

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided

  • 2 large onions, peeled and quartered

  • 4 medium carrots, peeled, halved lengthwise, and cut into 3-inch pieces

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 cup dry red wine

  • 3 cups beef broth

  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary

  • 1 1/2 to 2 pounds medium potatoes, peeled and quartered

For the Gravy:

  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch

  • 1/4 cup cold water

  • Gather the ingredients. Heat the oven to 300 F.

  • Sprinkle the chuck roast with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

  • In a large crock pot, heat up 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the quartered onions and cook, stirring, until the onions are lightly browned–about 5 to 8 minutes.

  • Add the carrots to the pot and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Remove the carrots and onions to a plate and set aside.

  • Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil to the pan and sear the roast, turning to brown all sides–about 6 to 8 minutes total. Remove the roast to a plate and set aside.

  • Add the garlic to the crock pot and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.

  • Add the red wine and bring to a boil. Stir and scrape up all the browned bits until the wine is reduced by a third.

  • Add the beef broth to the pan along with the thyme and rosemary.

  • Add the seared beef, onions, and carrots back to the pot. Bring to a simmer.

  • Cover the crock pot tightly and braise the roast in the 300 F oven for 2 hours.

  • After 2 hours, remove from the oven and add the potatoes. Place back in the oven and continue cooking for 1 additional hour, or until the potatoes and roast are fork-tender.

Make the Gravy

  • Uncover the crock pot.

  • Strain and pour the meat juices into a saucepan and use a gravy separator to eliminate excess fats.

  • Combine the cornstarch and cold water in a small bowl. Stir until smooth and blended.

  • Mix the meat juices and cornstarch mixture. Bring to a simmer in a small pot and cook, stirring, until thickened.

  • Pour the gravy over the pot roast and potatoes and serve.

We hope you enjoy these at home recipes for this classic American dish. If you ever want to sample how the pros do it, stop by Enck’s Plus Catering dine in cafe, the Lunch Ladel. It is a common menu item there and a customer favorite. Or for your next catered event ask to have Pot Roast as one of your entrees prepared by our Catering chefs. Thank you so much for reading. Please like or comment and stay tuned for more Catering Classic dishes and other catering industry related content.

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