Big Joe’s Extra Tender Pot Roast
This is my go-to recipe for pot roast. It comes from my very good friend Janine and was part of the cookbook I put out a while back. You know when I started to develop that cookbook I really wanted to be able to tell and hear stories of how recipes were part of a family or friend’s lore. Why were they so special?
I wanted to hear about a special anecdote that made the recipe that unique and personal. My friend Janine Hillyer from Lincroft did her homework. Janine and I have been pretty close for several years. She’s a terrific woman who is bright, funny, and very attractive plus possesses a great personality. She can also hit a golf ball further than most of my friends!
Janine writes of her experience with this classic American dish:
As with most of our favorite recipes, each one comes with its own history and of course, a story. It’s that story or experience which makes it become your own behind the scenes “secret” ingredient to your favorite dish. Often, I find that it’s our childhood memories dictating what we love to cook in hopes of being transported back to what made that recipe so special. My first memory of pot roast was my last attempt at stand up comedy, at the age of 4. The story itself may not be all that hysterical although it did begin my full time career of being a wise-ass. That being said, my mother puts this wonderful platter on the table and says she used a “chuck” roast this time and was unsure of its texture compared to the sirloin tip she normally used. I quickly responded and said “That’s ok Mom, if we don’t like it we can just “chuck” it out…The thought of making pot roast with a sirloin tip roast would make any butcher think you’re crazy which is why my Mom would send me to our local butcher with very strict orders to never, ever utter the words pot roast. To them I suppose it would almost be like telling your Ferrari salesman you want to buy one for off roading. Anyway, my mother suggests that’s why her pot roast is so wonderfully tender. So for the few extra dollars, it may be worth it to lie to your butcher.
3 lb. sirloin tip roast (serves 4-6)
salt & pepper to taste
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp fresh chopped garlic (or a little extra if you like)
1 1/2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 cup baby carrots (if you have the real tiny kind leave whole, if regular baby ones you may cut in half lengthwise, about 2 inches in length)
1/2 cup celery (cut lengthwise in 2 in. sticks)
3⁄4 cup red onion (cut into wedge shapes about 1-2 inches)
1-2 pkg. brown gravy mix (your preference)
1 pkg. egg noodles
1 jar of red cabbage
How to put it together:
Begin with seasoning the meat w/salt & pepper and rub it in so it sticks well. If you have the time, searing the meat on all sides in a pan first adds a nice crispness to the outside and helps lock in more of the flavor; however, it’s not necessary.
Place the meat in the crock pot with the water and put on high, then add Worcestershire Sauce, garlic, vinegar and I like to add extra black pepper in at this point but it depends on your taste so that’s purely optional. Keep crock pot on high for first 2 -3 hours then put to med-low. The meat can literally braise in the pot for 8-9 hours.
Make sure you don’t keep opening lid as that will allow some condensation to get out which we need to make the meat tender. Try to only open it when you add your veggies which are about half way into the cooking process.
Give yourself about 20 minutes or so before taking the meat out to make your egg noodles and gravy. For egg noodles, just follow directions and for the gravy make according to package, however use flavorful liquid from crock pot. For this dish, I love the gravy with more of a thinner consistency so I add about 1/3 cup more water. Once gravy & noodles are done remove the meat from the crock pot, turn off and place on cutting board or just right on a large oval platter.
The meat is so tender at this point that it almost becomes stringy like a pulled-pork consistency. Use slotted spoon to retrieve veggies and place around the roast. Pour the gravy over roast but leave some extra for the gravy boat in case you like some on your noodles.
Place egg noodles in bowl, add a pat of butter or two and sprinkle on about a teaspoon of poppy seeds. It really does make for great flavor! Warm up a jar of red cabbage. Oh, and most importantly don’t forget biscuits or bread for some really good dunking! Enjoy.