Easy as Mississippi Pot Roast

Mom approves!

Earlier this year I spent some time with my parents after my mom had shoulder surgery to help her as needed, and especially to leave her with some home cooked meals she could freeze/reheat and eat over the next couple weeks after I left.  One of the several requests I received was to make Mississippi Pot Roast.  I’m not a pot roast fan; I think it’s bland and don’t like the texture, but when I saw this recipe I thought, hmmm this doesn’t look half bad (plus what mom wants, mom gets when she’s recuperating).

The basic recipe really couldn’t be simpler: five ingredients, dump and cook.  Of course, there are certainly variations on a theme and after making it a couple times I have suggestions that I think make it a bit better, or at least more to my tastes.  The most difficult aspect of this recipe was finding the right cut of meat.  The recipe calls for “chuck roast” and let me tell you I had the darndest time finding anything labeled “chuck roast” at the grocery store.  I almost never cook beef (maybe a filet or burgers once a year) so I have zero expertise with cuts of beef.  Luckily the meat counter staff have been very helpful in pointing me in the right direction.  If you’re like me I also recommend reviewing this article from The Kitchn before heading to the store so you’ll be prepared for what labels to look for (this last time I used shoulder steak and they kindly had also labeled it (pot roast), yes in parentheses, for beef newbies like me).

I’ll include these notes in the recipe below, but here are the suggestions I have that I think make my version top notch:

Carrots added halfway through.
  • Sear the meat on all sides first.  You can absolutely skip this step if you want to dump and go, but I personally like the seared edges.
  • Pour in some of the pepperoncini juice from the jar for extra flavor.
  • Add carrots to the pot about half way through cooking for serving along with the pot roast (you don’t want them in the entire time though unless you want them to be mush).
  • If you’re going to be cooking in the oven, add whole baking potatoes, sweet potatoes, or butternut squash on the rack next to the pot about an hour or so before the pot roast is done cooking.  They’ll be done and ready to serve at the same time.
  • Use homemade ranch seasoning.
  • When done cooking, add a cornstarch slurry to the liquid and whisk and reduce to make a nice gravy.

Please share your experience with making Mississippi pot roast; I would love to hear how it turned out and what sides you like with it!

Mississippi Pot Roast

A flavorful twist on pot roast

Inspired By: Gonna Want Seconds

Ingredients

  • 3-5 lbs Chuck Roast
  • 1 package (1 oz) Au Jus Gravy Mix
  • 1 package Dry Ranch Dressing Mix OR 1-2 Tbsp homemade ranch seasoning
  • 5-6 whole Pepperoncini Peppers (I used half a jar of peppers plus half a jar of the juice)
  • 1 stick of Butter (1/2 cup)
  • (Optional) Cornstarch slurry (2 parts water to 1 part cornstarch) – I used ~1 tsp cornstarch more or less

Directions

Conventional Oven

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. (Optional) In a dutch oven large enough for the roast, sear chuck roast on all sides.
  3. Otherwise, place chuck roast in a dutch oven and top with au jus mix, dry ranch seasoning, pepperoncini peppers (and juice if desired), and 1 stick of butter cut up.
  4. Cover and cook for 3-4 hours. Add carrots half way through if desired.
  5. Remove meat and peppers (and carrots if added) to a platter; whisk and top with cooking liquid as-is or make into gravy (optional step 6).
  6. (Optional) Put dutch oven on the stovetop and add cornstarch slurry, heat, whisk and reduce until gravy is to your desired thickness.

Slow Cooker

  1. (Optional) In a heavy pan (cast iron skillet works nicely), sear chuck roast on all sides.
  2. Otherwise, place chuck roast in the slow cooker and top with au jus mix, dry ranch seasoning, pepperoncini peppers (and juice if desired), and 1 stick of butter cut up.
  3. Cover and cook on low 8 hours (or if pressed for time on high for 4 hours). Add carrots half way through if desired.
  4. Remove meat and peppers (and carrots if added) to a platter; whisk and top with cooking liquid as-is or make into gravy (optional step 5).
  5. (Optional) Pour remaining liquid into a saucepan on the stovetop and add cornstarch slurry, heat, whisk and reduce until gravy is to your desired thickness.

Serving Suggestions

Carrots, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, spaghetti squash, butternut squash, fingerling potatoes, egg noodles (or other wide noodle). On french fries with cheese curds a la poutine!

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