Watch Your Back, Martha...

'cause I can officially make a pot roast without a Crock Pot.

That's right!

You heard it here first.
(Not that you would ever hear it anywhere else.)

During my first years out of college, I was the Crock Pot Queen. My granddad bought me a super fancy one as a graduation present (we're all about practicality in my family), and believe me when I say I left no Crock Pot recipe stone unturned.

Chicken and dumplings? BAM!

Stew? You got it!

Chili? In the bag, baby!

Queso? Spinach dip? Awwwwwwwwww yeah!

But pot roast... oh, man. Pot roast was my specialty. It was the pride of my Crock Pot recipe collection.

1 rump roast (or shoulder roast. Whatever was on sale, really.)
1 bag of baby carrots
3 or 4 potatoes
2 cans cream of mushroom soup (sometimes with garlic if I was feelin' sassy... and didn't have any plans to breathe on anyone.)
1 packet of dried onion soup mix

Best. Dinner. Ever. for a 23 year-old with a crappy job, an even crappier apartment, and little to no kitchen experience. And, for what it's worth, I impressed many a fellow 23 year-old with my pot roast makin' skillz.


It's been years since I last made a pot roast, and last week I got a hankerin' to do just that.

So I whipped out the old recipe just to make sure I remembered all of the ingredients before heading out to the store. But then I got to thinking about my new health and food goals, and whether or not my fail safe pot roast recipe was a win anymore.

The truth is, I can't control any of the flavorful ingredients in this recipe. The canned soup is exploding with sodium (870 milligrams per can!). And the onion soup mix contained a mind boggling 610 mg of sodium in one packet! 870 x 2 + 610 = way more salt than I thought. Not to mention the addition of salt to season the roast. Even dividing it all into 5 servings still made the sodium intake daunting.

The reality of it made my heart hurt.

I was crushed.

But then I vaguely remembered hearing something, some time, somewhere about how before Crock Pots came along, that people actually made pot roast in the oven.

Hmmm. Seemed a bit fishy. Sometimes my brain can't be trusted with facts.

So I did some research on the Internets.

And, lo and behold, my hazy recollection spoke the truth!

And so it was that I actually made a real live pot roast in the oven, using all fresh, unprocessed, naturally occurring ingredients.

It wasn't nearly as difficult as I had imagined, and took about the same amount of time to cook as my nifty crock pot recipe of yore.

And it was delicious, y'all!

I have my girl, Ree, over at The Pioneer Woman to thank. She's a kitchen goddess and my #1 girl crush.

(And I hope she doesn't mind my sharing her recipe.)

PW's real, honest-to-goodness pot roast (adapted from The Pioneer Woman Cooks):


* 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
* 1 whole (3 To 5 Pounds) Chuck Roast
(I used a 3 pounder for just D and me.)
* 2 whole Onions (I used sweet yellow onions. They were delish!)
* 6 to 8 whole Carrots (Organic! It made me feel healthier.)
* Salt To Taste
* Pepper To Taste
* 3 to four cups Beef Stock
* 3 sprigs Fresh Thyme, or more to taste
* 3 to 4 sprigs Fresh Rosemary, or more to taste

Preparation Instructions

First and foremost, choose a nicely marbled piece of meat. This will enhance the flavor of your pot roast like nothing else. Generously salt and pepper your chuck roast.

Heat a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Then add 2 to 3 tablespoons of olive oil (or you can do a butter/olive oil split).

Cut two onions in half and cut 6 to 8 carrots into 2-inch slices (you can peel them, but you don’t have to). When the oil in the pot is very hot (but not smoking), add in the halved onions, browning them on one side and then the other. Remove the onions to a plate. Throw the carrots into the same very hot pan and toss them around a bit until slightly browned, about a minute or so.

If needed, add a bit more olive oil to the very hot pan. Place the meat in the pan and sear it for about a minute on all sides until it is nice and brown all over. Remove the roast to a plate. With the burner still on high, use either red wine or beef broth (about 1 cup) to deglaze the pan, scraping the bottom with a whisk to get all of that wonderful flavor up. When the bottom of the pan is sufficiently deglazed, place the roast back into the pan and add enough beef stock to cover the meat halfway (about 2 to 3 cups). Add in the onion and the carrots, as well as 3 or 4 sprigs of fresh rosemary and about 3 sprigs of fresh thyme.

Put the lid on, then roast in a 275F oven for 3 hours (for a 3-pound roast). For a 4 to 5-pound roast, plan on 4 hours.

Thank you, Ree. I love you (even if you have no idea who I am).


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