Old-Fashioned Pot Roast with Crispy Potato Pancakes


6 to 8 servings

  • 1 (2 to 3-pound) boneless beef chuck or sirloin tip roast,
  •    or 1 (4 to 5-pound) blade or round-bone beef chuck roast
  • 1 tablespoon hot shortening or cooking oil (see note)
  • 6 whole peppercorns
  • 1 fresh or dried bay leaf, crumbled
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and minced
  • 1 cup sliced peeled onion
  • 1 cup sliced celery
  • Water as needed
  • Salt to taste
  • 8 medium carrots, peeled, cut in half lengthwise and then into 1½-inch pieces,
  •    or about 18 to 24 very small carrots, peeled (see note)
  • 8 small or 16 to 24 very small onions, peeled (see note)
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • Few drops gravy seasoning and coloring sauce as desired (optional)
  • Minced parsley for garnish (optional)
  • Crispy Potato Pancakes
  • Sautéed Apples


Brown meat, all sides, in hot shortening or oil in a Dutch oven or deep-sided skillet or electric fry pan over moderate heat. Drain off any excess oil from pan.  Add peppercorns, bay leaf, garlic, sliced onion, celery, ½ cup water, and salt to taste.  Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 2 to 2½ hours.  Add carrots and whole onions and continue simmering, cover ajar, for 35 to 40 minutes or until vegetables and meat are fork tender, but vegetables are not mushy.  Add additional water to pan as needed so that pan does not become dry. Adjust seasoning to taste.  Remove meat and vegetables to a warm platter; cover and keep warm.  Remove peppercorns and bay leaf from pan drippings; with a wire whisk, blend in flour, whisking until smooth.  Add ½ cup water, blending well.  May add few drops gravy seasoning and coloring sauce, if desired.  Cook, stirring constantly, over moderate heat until thickened and bubbly hot.  Adjust seasoning to taste.  Garnish meat and vegetables with minced parsley, if desired, and pass gravy.  Accompany with Crispy Potato Pancakes and Sauteed Apples.

Note: May omit shortening or oil; liberally coat pan with non-caloric vegetable cooking spray.

Note: Very small whole carrots or onions will require less cooking time; adjust cooking time accordingly, probably 25 to 30 minutes or until fork tender.

Variation: Add 1 tablespoon finely snipped fresh thyme leaves or 1 teaspoon dried thyme to meat mixture during cooking.

Add ½ to 1 cup brandy or bourbon to roasting pan in place of water.

Roast carrots and onions separately in a preheated 450 degree F. oven for about 20 to 25 minutes.  Brush carrots and onions with extra virgin olive oil or other cooking oil and sprinkle with finely snipped fresh thyme or rosemary leaves before roasting.  Sprinkle with salt after vegetables have cooked.

Crock-Pot Instructions: Brown meat as previously directed. Cook meat and other ingredients given in pot-roasting method above in crock-pot or slow-cooker on low setting for 6 to 8 hours; add vegetables, increase heat to medium or high setting and continue cooking about 1 hour or until vegetables are fork tender. Prepare gravy as previously directed.  Serve as previously directed.

Oven-roasting Instructions: After browning meat as directed above, transfer meat to a roasting pan or 13 x 9x 2-inch baking dish.  Add other pot-roasting ingredients given above; loosely cover with aluminum foil, and bake in a preheated slow oven (325 degrees F.) for 2 to 2½ hours.  Add vegetables as previously directed and continue baking, loosely covered, for times given above or until meat and vegetables are fork tender.  Prepare gravy as previously directed.  Serve as previously directed.


Crispy Potato Pancakes

about 12 pancakes

  • 3 cups well-drained shredded peeled raw potatoes (about 4 medium) (see note)
  • ¼ cup grated peeled onion (optional)
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • Salt and freshly ground black or white pepper to taste
  • 2 eggs, beaten lightly
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons cooking oil or butter or margarine or bacon drippings
  • Minced parsley or sprigs of parsley for garnish 

In a medium bowl, combine potatoes, onion, if desired, and flour.  Add eggs and salt and pepper to taste, mixing gently but well. Heat oil or melt butter or bacon drippings in a large heavy skillet liberally coated with non-caloric vegetable cooking spray over moderate heat.  Spoon 1/4 cup potato mixture into skillet for each pancake and spread carefully to make a 3-inch diameter cake.  Cook each until browned on both sides, turning once, total cooking time about 8 to 10 minutes.

Note: To prevent potatoes from discoloration, immediately immerse peeled potatoes in a bowl of ice water (with ice cubes).  Also shred potatoes directly into ice water.  Keep shredded potatoes covered with ice water until just ready to mix with other ingredients.

Variations: Add ¼ cup sour cream or reduced-fat sour cream and an additional 1 tablespoon flour to batter, if desired.  Add 1 to 2 tablespoons minced fresh chives to batter, if desired.


Sautéed Apples

4 to 6 servings

  • 2 to 3 medium to large cooking apples (Rome, Granny Smith, or other cooking variety)
  • 1½ tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons apple cider or apple juice
  • 2 tablespoons Apple Jack brandy or brandy or orange juice (see note)
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • Pinch of salt
  • Light or dark brown sugar to taste
  • Ground nutmeg to taste

Remove core and seeds from apples; may leave peel intact, if desired.  With a sharp serrated knife, cut apples crosswise into ¼ -inch thick slices.  In a large heavy skillet, sauté apple slices in butter over moderate heat, about 1½ to 2 minutes per side.  Do not overcook; apples should remain firm and not become overly soft and mushy.  With a slotted spatula, carefully remove apple slices and transfer to a platter while preparing sauce.  Stir apple cider, brandy or orange juice, and  balsamic vinegar into skillet drippings; add salt, brown sugar, and nutmeg, blending well.  Cook over moderate heat for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until mixture is slightly thickened.  Return apple slices to skillet, coating each slice with sauce.  Reduce heat and continue cooking for 3 to 4 minutes or until apples are heated through.  Serve about two to three apple slices lightly coated with sauce to accompany each pork serving.  

Note: If using orange juice, may add 1 to 2 tablespoon(s) freshly grated orange peel to sauce mixture.

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