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  • Sarah Celentano

My Favorite Pot Roast


Once upon a time I could not cook a hunk of chuck roast to save my life.


Every method I tried, even my mother's and grandmother's "tried-and-true", produced a tough, stringy mass that could not, would not pass for dinner.


One evening in my freshly married days, I decided to have my sweet grandparents over for dinner in our measly upstairs 700sq ft city apartment. They kindly obliged and I wanted to make it special for them so the night before, I plunked the roast into my slow cooker, set it on low, and went out on the town for some occasion or other. I had sipped a few something or others that definitely involved bourbon and after stumbling up the stairs, I dumped a bag of fingerlings, unwashed and unpeeled into the pot as well.


Oh, my family was so sweet. TOO sweet. They chewed and they chewed and they said “mm it’s really good.” And I was like STOP LYING IT TASTES LIKE ACTUAL DIRT. Because unpeeled, unwashed potatoes made it taste like Actual Dirt.


So when this recipe landed in my hands, it was attempt #5 in a span of a few months. It's all I talked about from September to February. I asked every foodie or chef friend I knew to dispel their secrets. I lamented of tough meats to my dear Java's co-workers. Try as I might, my efforts had always fallen short. But I was determined and I trusted Ree with all my heart. I followed her directions to a T and HALLELUJAHHOLYSHIT. A juicy, tender pot roast, jammy onions, and the most flavorful broth pooling around fluffy mashed potatoes was had that night. And I have never looked back.




Until this year. The Kitchn compared this recipe to three others and declared Ina Garten’s the victor. Now, I adore Ina. And I trust Ina. She has never steered me wrong. So I tried Ina’s pot roast, and baby it was GREAT. But it wasn’t the classic pot roast that is Akin to Grandma's But Better that I had found in Ree's. It was rich and flavorful and definitely a meal worth making, but I wouldn't call it a pot roast in the classic meat and potatoes sense. It was elevated, with an umami punch, but when I want pot roast I want the cozy blanket pulled up to my chin version, not elegant rusticity.



So go make this pot roast. And THEN you can try Ina's. But I promise, this is the one that will have you all nostalgic and comforted and warmed through to your very soul. And in these cold, weird times, that is what we need the most.


Lots of love and cozy braises,


From this homebody to you,


Sarah




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