I was looking through some recipes this weekend and came across this wonder. It reminded me of a recipe I saw made back in the 1970s by the housekeeper of my dance teacher, who used to have us over to her house for meals.
Keep in mind I never knew growing up that things like stew and pot roast were supposed to taste good. I thought stringy beef in watery gravy with mealy potatoes was how it was supposed to be. Thus my dislike for things like Swiss Steak. Indeed, once when offered a serving of homemade lamb stew by my boss, who brought in a crock pot full, made by his wife, for lunch I at once declined. Thankfully he insisted and I tasted the most delicious stew ever. Unfortunately I have never been able to duplicate the recipe, though not for lack of trying.
I also thought pot roast was supposed to contain lots of vegetables and lots of water. How else was it supposed to feed a family of eight and how else were you going to get those mushy carrots and soggy potatoes?
Watching this woman prepare the pot roast was interesting. She laid a large chuck steak in a shallow corning ware pan, seasoned it and covered it all over with thinly sliced onions. She added a splash of vinegar. When I asked why she replied that "it cuts the grease".
When I saw this recipe for the very best pot roast I remembered the sight of that woman preparing this humble dish, the smell of it cooking slowly all afternoon and the taste of succulent meat and rich gravy. This recipe may not provide rich gravy (unless you thicken it with a roux and add some cream or butter) but it will produce delicious pan drippings to spoon over potatoes or noodles. Don't blink or you'll miss it.
Lightly grease a 9 x 13 inch shallow pan. Lay in the pan a 3 lb. chuck steak with ALL fat removed. Season with salt & pepper and 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme (or 1 teaspoon fresh thyme) and a crumbled bay leaf. Thinly slice one or two onions and lay the slices over the meat. Do not add any water as the dish will make its own. A teaspoon or tablespoon of vinegar may be added. Cover the pan with heavy duty foil and seal tightly. Place in a 275 f oven for six hours. Don't lift the foil until done. Allow to rest briefly before slicing or shredding the meat for serving with its juices.
Quotable Quotes; in the category Does Anybody Really Know What Thyme It Is?
"A minister has to be able to read a clock. At noon, it's time to go home and turn up the pot roast and get the peas out of the freezer." Garrison Keillor