Potroast with Root Veggies & Gravy

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Just back from taking my son Ethan to college in New York’s Hudson Valley, there is a nip in the night air, an intensity to the blue of the sky and that ready-set-go! feeling that comes with September. It’s a season full of the desire to pack days full, make new beginnings and finish old projects. But there’s also that longing for familiar comforts. Which brings me to this potroast. I found it in Judith Fertig’s Prairie Home Cooking, (a 1990s book full of very good homey recipes) and it takes my mom’s every-Sunday potroast to the next level.

Rubbed with fresh-ground allspice, and braised in a cider-vinegar & molasses-spiked stock, the finished roast is fragrant with a rich, sweet-savory gravy full of carrot, parsnip, & onion with a sprinkling of prunes. Last trip to the Hudson Valley, I was reading up on stamppot or stamppotten–the Dutch mash-up of two or more root vegetables, and I’ve included a recipe for a potato/carrot/rutabaga version here–it goes very well with the potroast (in addition to the roast vegetable coins) or, on its own with a little butter. For more versions of stamppot–which is traditionally cooked with a good amount of red meat and soup bones–check out Peter Rose’s 1993 “Foods of the Hudson.”

Makes 6 servings

Potroast Ingredients

  • 2 tsp allspice berries, ground fine in a coffee grinder
  • 1 beef chuck roast, well-marbled, 3 pounds
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 Tbsp all-purpose flour, divided
  • 2 Tbsp canola oil (I used grapeseed)
  • 1 1/2 cups beef stock
  • 2 Tbsp cider vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp molasses
  • 2 tsp anchovy paste (or more to taste)
  • 2 yellow onions, sliced thin
  • 3 parsnips, peeled and sliced diagonally into coins
  • 3 carrots, peeled and sliced diagonally into coins
  • 1 cup pitted prunes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp salt (or more to taste)
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp freshly-ground black pepper

Root Vegetable Mash Ingredients

  • 5 white potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 3 large carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 2 rutabagas, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 5 cups vegetable stock
  • butter, salt & pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Rub the ground allspice into both sides of the pot roast
  3. Dredge the meat in 1/2 cup of flour. (Save the flour)
  4. Heat oil in heavy skillet over medium high heat and brown the meat on both sides
  5. Transfer the meat to a dutch oven.
  6. Sprinkle the flour left from dredging in to the skillet and whisk, browning in the oil. (Add a little more oil if necessary.) Add beef stock, vinegar, molasses and anchovy paste and whisk. Pour this mixture over the roast. Cover with onion rings, parsnip & carrot coins, prunes, bay leaf salt and pepper. Toss with the gravy. (Note: Don’t worry is this is pretty thick. The cooking vegetables and meat will release additional juices as the dish braises.) Cover. Braise in the oven for 2 1/2 to 3 hours until the meat is very tender.
  7. While meat braises, make root vegetable mash. Place vegetables in vegetable stock and heat to boiling. Reduce to a simmer and simmer 30 minutes or more until tender. Strain off stock. (Reserve for future use.) Roughly mash vegetables. Add butter, salt and pepper to taste.
  8. Remove meat and vegetables to a platter. Slice pot roast. If braising juices have not thickened sufficiently, heat braising liquids in the dutch oven on stove top and whisk in the additional Tbsp of flour as needed until gravy has thickened. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Serve with the meat and vegetables.

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