Wednesday, October 17, 2012

home grown

Before last night, I'd only ever prepared dinners consisting of "beef roast" twice.. in my life.
That is not to say that I haven't eaten my fair share of these hunks of meat over the years. 

When Chris & I first started dating, his 90 year old grandma invited us in for lunch. Chris had been raving about how good his grandmother's cooking was, so I was primed and ready for this meal. Well, that was until he said we were having a roast. The little kid voice inside my head wailed with disgust, "roooOassst.. NO!"
Chris could sense my disdain for the idea and promised I'd be pleasantly surprised. And I was. 
It was delicious. But I'd still need some major convincing before I ever decided to take the time to 
make one myself. 

This disgust for the meal stems from my childhood. I grew up with one grandma who could knock the socks off of anybody with her cooking and another who, by principal, believed that whenever meat was prepared (roasted, grilled, cooked up in a frying pan,..), any juice running out of that chunk of meat was the devil and we were all going to die from it. She was afraid of juicy meat like many children are afraid of the boogie man. No lie.. And by now you can probably guess which grandmother had us over for roast most often. I'd be chewing that first bit of meat for so long that it would resemble a hunk of wet sawdust before I was finally able to wash it down with some milk. Great for strengthening your jaw muscles, not so great in palatability.
However seldom my mother would make roast, it was the same old song and dance. After all, she'd learned from her mother (ya know, the juiciness hater, herself). 

 On another occasion, more recently in my life, I was involved in a heated exchange of words that involved an 11pm basketball game of H-O-R-S-E, a roast with homemade gravy, my husband and our friends. To this day, the word "roast" cannot be brought up in a sentence in that circle of friends without a reenactment of my "roast meltdown" being voiced.

So, as you can see, roast & me have had a long and tumultuous history.
Yesterday may have changed all of that for good. 

With our deep-freeze stocked to the gills with freshly processed, home-grown beef, I am determined not to let one ounce go to waste. And let me tell you, we've got some roasts in that freezer.
I was inspired to attempt "pot roast", after daydreaming about our honeymoon and the french restaurant that served up the best pot roast of MY LIFE.
photo from Pioneer Woman.. as I was too ravenous to snap a shot before we inhaled it

I knew if anybody's recipe could come close enough to touch that memory, it would have to be
  The Pioneer Woman's version of the dish.

I went out to the garden and dug up a couple hills of potatoes and set them aside for making up some mashed spuds. And let me tell ya, there's no comparison between store bought and home grown potatoes.. none what-so-ever. A lot of people ask us why we go to all of the work to plant our own potatoes when store bought potatoes are cheap to buy. I say that the taste and texture cannot be beat. They go from being dug out of the dirt, to sitting in a pretty serving bowl in an hour and you can taste the freshness. And I can't get enough of the earthy smell they still have after you wash all the dirt and mud away... gah! I'll get off of my potato high-horse now.

After the potato digging, I got out my battered, mint green roasting pan (an estate sale find) and got to work. The house started smelling delicious straight away. 
4 hours later, we had dinner and it was glorious. 
One of the things that made it all taste better was that most of the ingredients that made up that meal were home grown. Now that's what I call real "farm to table" cooking :)

Chris surprised me by walking through the door that evening with the biggest watermelon I've ever personally seen. Our neighbor had planted watermelons this year in an old, broken up concrete pad and he said it was the best year he could remember for his watermelons.. Chris claimed he had at least 40 of them, all huge and delicious looking. So we will dig into that "home/neighbor-grown" treat tonight.

So the verdict on this particular pot roast recipe is in.
It's fabulous and easy-peasy and it makes your house smell like heaven for 4 hours.
Go ahead and make it already. It will make you feel super domestic. Go ahead and throw on a cute apron for a little extra pizzazz, too. You'll feel all fancy and '50's-housewife-esque. I promise,


  1. roast in the crockpot equals yummy goodness all fall and winter long. we live in ND and have access to the best beef.

  2. i hear ya, girl! fresh beef is so much better than the "fresh" store bought variety. Chris takes such pride in raising our cows with such care and this was the firsts steer we'd ever had processed that we'd actually raised, start to finish. Its a great feeling :)

  3. Yay! PW never lets you down. I hated meatloaf until I had hers! I will definitely be trying this recipe! Glad you and pot roast are friends now. Haha.


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