Yankee Pot Roast

A few seasons in, we finally started watching Mad Men. And loving Mad Men. One of my favorite things in it is the retro food.

We just watched episode 404, the fourth episode in season four, “The Rejected.” Awesome episode. I don’t want to put in any spoilers for anyone who hasn’t gotten that far in watching, so I’ll just say this. Trudy Campbell tells her husband, Pete, that she’s having her dad over for dinner the following evening. She assures him that it will be the perfect opportunity for Pete to tell his in-law the Important Thing that I won’t mention (because of the spoiler factor).

“Tomorrow night,” she says, reassuringly. “Yankee pot roast.”

Yankee pot roast! What is that? Donald and I both wanted to know! And we both wanted to have some, like right away! It sounded so soothing, so down-to-earth, so reliable.

It turned out that Yankee pot roast is pot roast the way we make it all the time already. Regular pot roast is when you take a tough cut of beef and roast it in a covered pot until it’s tender. Yankee pot roast is when you add vegetables. Like we do already.

So today I made some Yankee pot roast. And so can you. It’s easy. And so delicious. You’ll know why they call it comfort food.

2 to 2 1/2 pounds chuck roast

2 teaspoons salt

several grindings black pepper

4 carrots, sliced

2 celery stalks, plus the inside green leafy section, chopped

1 large or two medium onions, sliced

Optional ingredients Trudy wouldn’t have used:

1 to 4 cloves garlic, sliced

sliced fresh hot red pepper, or several shakes red pepper flakes 

Use a cast-iron skillet with a fitting lid for best results. You can also use a Dutch oven or any oven-safe skillet with a fitting lid. If your skillet doesn’t have a matching lid, put a roasting pan and a brick on top of it while it’s in the oven, or otherwise weight and cover. Then get a Lodge cast-iron skillet with a matching lid tomorrow.

Heat the skillet over very high heat. Put the roast in it and sear 4 minutes. Turn over and sear 4 minutes. Add seasonings. Cover and place in 250 F oven 2 to 3 hours. Add vegetables and cook an additional hour. Check occasionally and, only if it seems necessary, add water to prevent scorching. Cook longer, if needed, until tender.

Serve just as is for a low-carb or Paleo supper. Serve with broad noodles for Pete’s father-in-law. Sour cream or yogurt are a lovely topping for this.

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