Nothing is as comforting as a flavorful, fork-tender oven pot roast. Best of all, this is ready for the oven in only 15 minutes, and uses simple ingredients you probably have in your pantry!
When it’s August in the South, consistently nearly 90 degrees, and humid enough that you want to take a shower the moment you step out the door, I feel like I should be eating things like cucumber tomato salad and light, refreshing raw veggies for dinner. Crunchy, cold things.
But what was I supposed to do when jumbo-packs of stew-meat pot roast chunks were half off at Harris Teeter? It was out of my control. I don’t know how that value pack ended up in my cart, officer.
Well, I considered making something exciting and unexpected like French dip sandwiches or Chipotle-knockoff barbacoa with it, but then the more I thought about it, and the more we had dark, night-like afternoons filled with thunderstorms that make you want to curl up under a blanket, the more regular ol’ classic pot roast started to sound like just the thing to do with three pounds of beef.
My mom, you should know, has been known to make a mean pot roast. At one point I asked her about it and she said she had forgotten how to make it. What?! FORGOTTEN how to make the pot roast? The legendary fork-tender fall-apart meat and potatoes? The loss of a national treasure! Tragedy.
Flashback: I’m not sure how long ago it was, but when cheesy computer clip art was in its heyday, my mom made me a cookbook of her favorite go-to recipes, the half-letter pages in plastic sleeves decorated with exciting little cartoony illustrations of the ingredients. It was great. There are a few recipes I consistently reference the book for, but honestly, (sorry, mother) I’ve never made half the things in there and I don’t even know what’s on many of the pages. So when I was flipping through the book one day (and my foreshadowing skills are sooooo subtle here, I’m sure), I was surprised and thrilled to find the long-lost oven pot roast recipe!
It may not be a slow-cooker recipe, but this classic oven pot roast is just as simple.
It probably only took 15 minutes to prep, contained mostly pantry-staple ingredients, and then during the long cooking time, Mike and I got all the yard work done. All of it. I’m talking mowing the lawn and weed-whacking by the fence and raised garden (thanks, dearest), trimming the monster bushes that shoot branches all the way to the freaking ROOF (no exaggeration, really!), watering all the potted plants, cutting all the dead sago palm branches off… by the time we were done, it was dusk, we were dog-tired, and the most delicious aroma greeted us at the door. It was so powerful it even overpowered the sweat-and-bug-spray smell we brought in with us.
Much nicer than working in the yard for three hours, coming inside to no food and going “Wanna have mac and cheese?” Seriously, it was awesome. Just as flavorful and tender and comforting as I remembered, and much easier than I expected for a family-famous meal.
So, as my mother passed it on to me, I now pass it on to you: the famous pot roast.
Classic Oven Pot Roast
- 3 lbs stew meat chunks or blade cut chuck roast
- 1 package dry onion soup mix
- 1 can cream of mushroom soup
- 1-2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 onion, halved and sliced
- 3 medium potatoes (red, yellow, or white), cut into large chunks
- 1 lb bag of baby carrots or 6 large carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
- 1/2 can beef broth, if necessary
Preheat oven to 325.
Place onion slices in bottom of large baking dish and top with meat. Sprinkle dry onion soup mix over meat, cover with undiluted cream of mushroom soup, and sprinkle with soy sauce.
Tightly cover with aluminum foil and bake for 1 hour.
Remove from oven, uncover, and surround roast with potatoes and carrots. If using stew meat chunks, toss ingredients together to make sure vegetables are coated with soup and juices. If meat seems dry, add beef broth.
Recover pan and return to oven for 2-3 hours, or until meat is fork-tender.