It's the time of the year for many things: for warming foods, for a frugal approach to cooking, for upping your veg intake, for cooking more from scratch, <insert your own take here>. As a Holistic Nutritionist, I often share meal plans and recipe ideas along with my food recommendations in order to best support my clients in improving their current health status. This is a recipe I have long been wanting to document, in order that I may do just that: Share. Share. Share. It also regularly appears in my weekly meal plans and is one of our family's favourites. This is all about the good food, my friend!
I love this pot roast because I can prep it the morning of, or the night before and it will still taste delicious. I find the rush between after school and dinner can sometimes feel like a crunch. (Let's go sledding! The skating rink is ready! Come over for a cup of tea! Oh and errands.) This is the meal for that kind of day.
I started making gravy similar to that found in this recipe after my daughter's dayhome caregiver shared with me that it was how she prepared sauces for the children in her care. I think you'll find it's truly genius. Nary a flour to be found, glutinous or non.
POT ROAST WITH LOADS OF VEG AND ZING
You can prepare everything the night before or the morning of, keep in fridge until ready to cook. I sometimes partially defrost the meat and prepare the morning of, and tuck in the oven and set the timer in order that it may be ready by dinnertime. Frees me up for important skating dates with my kiddo. And really, please don't be swayed by the anchovies. Give it a try; if you'd really rather not include them, you can add 2 tbsp of fish sauce instead, ensuring the fish sauce has no added sugar. *If you are following a GAPS diet, I have indicated where substitutions should be made.
3 tbsp solid cooking fat (bacon fat would be divine here, but butter, ghee, lard or tallow works)
2 onions, peeled and chopped
6 anchovies, rinsed
3-4 lb roast of beef (I opt for the cheaper/tougher cuts like chuck roast, brisket, top or bottom round roast, bottom round, rump (I just love this word – RUMP), sirloin tip)
6-8 carrots, chopped
3-5 celery ribs, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
few sprigs of fresh thyme
handful of mushrooms
1 rutabaga or turnip, peeled and chopped
1 small winter squash, chopped
2 parsnips, chopped (substitute with 1 celery root for GAPS legal)
3-4 yams, peeled and chopped (omit for GAPS legal)
3 cups meat stock (I used chicken stock as it was what I had on hand; beef or bison would be divine)
3 tbsp pomegranate molasses (omit for GAPS legal) (find at a Middle Eastern grocery, like Shaganappi Grocery in Calgary)
4 tbsp vinegar (white wine or apple cider vinegar works and are GAPS legal; I used a pomegranate quince white balsamic vinegar from Blue Door Oil & Vinegar which is not GAPS compliant)
3 bay leaves
2-4 dried shiitake mushrooms
2 slices of reishi mushrooms (optional – find them here)
Sea salt & pepper (omit the pepper for GAPS legal)
- Set the pot you will be making the roast in on the stovetop and preheat on medium. Add your butter and onions, and saute until softened. Add your anchovies and allow to melt, chopping them up in bits with your spatula or spoon. Toss in your garlic and thyme and saute for 30 seconds. Add your roast and sear lightly on each side. (For true GAPS compliance, forego searing the meat as you do not want any browning of the meat.)
- Remove your pot from the stovetop, and add your chopped vegetables, nestling them next to and around the meat.
- In a separate bowl, mix together the meat stock, pomegranate molasses if using, vinegar, bay leaves, shiitake mushrooms and reishi mushrooms if you are using, along with about a teaspoon of salt and few cranks of the pepper mill if using. Pour this marinade over the meat in the pot, put your lid on, and tuck in the fridge until ready for cooking.
- Cook in a 325F oven for 4 hours, or until the meat is fork-tender and just melts. Take the roast out of the pot and set aside in a bowl. Add to this bowl about half of the vegetables: I pull out some of the squash, rutabaga, carrots and all of the sweet potatoes and leave the other vegetables in the mix. (onions, garlic, celery, parsnips, half of carrots, rutabaga and squash) Keep warm.
- Put the pot back on the stovetop, and pull out the reishi mushroom slices (if using) and bay leaves. Using your immersion blender, blitz the veggies and sauce up in order to make a thick gravy. If your gravy needs thinning, add more meat stock or water; if it needs thickening, pull out more of the vegetables you had set aside in order to thicken it up. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed. You will have an abundance of gravy, but fret not, I have an idea on how to use it up...
- I use an electric knife in order to slice the pot roast in thick slices, as it yields quite readily to little pressure. Serve immediately, pouring your veggie-rich gravy liberally on everything!
This is pretty much as nutrient-dense as it gets. My kiddo used to request only hunks of meat with lots of gravy. So happy to oblige.
*Find yourself with a glut of gravy left over? It's the fabulous start to your next pot-o-leftover soup! What I would do: saute some leeks in ghee, toss in more carrots and celery, when soft add your leftover gravy along with some more meat stock so the thickness is to your liking. Add any leftover bits of meat you may still have on hand, some finely chopped greens like kale or chard and if you're ok with grains, toss in a handful of barley or rice and simmer until all is cooked through. The end delicious bit: add some homemade pesto after taking it off the stovetop, enough to make it taste delicious. Voila, Soupe Pistou.