Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Pot Roast-my mother's way

When we had been married about a year I told the hubs that I would be making pot roast for dinner one night.  I had tried several different types of pot roasts over that year and I know I wasn't very excited about how they turned out but it came to light that the hubs was even less excited about them.  He said, "Can you make it the way your mom makes it?"  Now, usually men say something like, "Can you make it the way my mom makes it?"  But I don't know if his mother ever made a pot roast.  I looked at him for a minute then asked, "Don't you like my pot roasts?"  Choosing his words carefully he said, "Well, they are all right but I really like the way your mom does it the best.  Can you call her?"

So I called my mother and told her the conversation we'd just had and she said, "Ooohhh!  Is the bride crying?!"  I kind of laughed then said, "No.  Just tell me how to make it."

This is my mother's pot roast recipe:

1 pot roast
whole red potatoes
10-12 carrots washed, peeled, cut

We make our pot roasts in an electric skillet with a lid. First you liberally salt and pepper both sides and the ends of the roast.  If you think it's enough salt and pepper, I can guarantee it's not.  Put more on. And them more. Turn the skillet on pretty much as high as it will go.  Around 400-425˚.  Put the roast in and let it sit there for a bout 10-15 minutes or until it is browned really well.

Then turn it over and do it on the other side.

See the nice dark crust?  That's how it should look.

While you are waiting for the roast to brown on the other side, prepare your carrots.  We like ours sliced long ways.  My mother makes the most beautifully sliced carrots.  Every slice is exactly the same as the other and they are thin.  Mine?  Not so much.  You can slice them in circles or on the bias if you want. Whatever makes you happy. 

Then you will make the foil packet.  Take two 18 inch or so sheets of
foil and lay them in a cross pattern over each other like this:

Lay the carrots in the middle of the foil packet, dot with 2 tablespoons of butter, salt and pepper.

Fold up one foil and seal, then fold the other foil and seal so it looks about like this:

Now for the assembly:

You can either leave the roast in the middle of the skillet or move it to the side.  My carrot packet is fairly large so I moved the roast to the side.  Squish the carrot packet in next to the roast and place the potatoes wherever you find a space  We have six people in our family so I make 6 potatoes.  If I have more people over then the potatoes go into the oven and I make more carrots.


Turn the skillet down to 150˚ to 180˚, put the cover on making sure it is all the way on--you may have to squish some potatoes in, and open the vent.  DO NOT ADD ANY WATER!!  The potatoes lend water to the cooking process.  Let it cook for 3 to 3.5 hours.  When you open the lid it will look like this:

Notice the potatoes are browned and the roast has shrunk.  Num!

Take out the roast and put it on a plate or platter.  Place the potatoes around it and the carrots if you want.  I usually put the carrots in a separate bowl.


The carrots come out caramelized, sweet with a somewhat nutty flavor that I attribute to the butter.

Make gravy in the same skillet.  There should be a lot of pan drippings.  If there are, however, not then add some butter to the skillet then flour.  I can't tell you how much because I don't know how much you have in pan drippings.  Start out with 1/3 to 1/2 cup then you can always add more.  Stir the flour around in the pan until all the drippings have been absorbed by the flour.
Stir it around a bit.

You will then let the flour cook at 300-325˚ with the drippings for a few minutes to make sure you heat the gluten in the flour making it capable of blending easily with the cold water you will add, ie. no lumps. 

 Add 1 cup of cold water at first.  Using a whisk start whisking the water and flour together.  If you have cooked the flour long enough it will smooth out quickly.  It will thicken quickly also.  Add 1/2 cups of water until gravy is the consistency you want.  This particular gravy turned out light.  Sometimes it turns out a rich brown.  Either way it tastes great.  Allow it to bubble for a few minutes.  Taste it for saltiness.  Depending on how well you salted the meat it may or may not need more salt.

Serve it up with some sour cream, biscuits or rolls and enjoy!


  1. I have a roast prepped in the crock pot because of you, but I wish I had waited an extra 30 minutes and read this first!

  2. The way it cooks in a crock pot none of us like because it comes out moist but with a dry-ish texture. And it's pale. This is moist and stringy and brown. Caramelized. Try it next time.

  3. I over cooked my roast (because it was so small) but the flavor was still delicious! The smell reminded me of my grandmother's house and honestly I had no idea she used an electric skillet! Thanks for the recipe I have it printed up on two sheets of papers called "Kara's Mother's Pot Roast Recipe"