Let’s talk about Pot Roast and Mashed Potatoes.
Truly, I could write a novella on each of these items. I’ll skip it, and instead tell you there are a million different versions of pot roast, and this one is the best I’ve ever found. Don’t be surprised if it brings a tear to your eye, reminding you of home and all that is right with the world. Meltingly tender meat in a rich, flavorful sauce, this is top notch, top shelf, best-in-class kind of pot roast.
Full disclosure: It is a little involved. Not difficult. But there are more steps than “dump it all in the crock pot and walk away,” which is probably why it actually tastes like something you’d be excited to eat. Go figure.
And mashed potatoes. Can we all agree that we don’t eat mashed potatoes because they are good for you? They are a white starchy “vegetable,” boiled until soft, and then mixed with a variety of dairy products and salt. The potatoes are basically a delivery system for salted dairy. I am not going to apologize for using real butter and half-and-half. It tastes good. I dare you to trade quantity for quality and eat a small portion of my full-throttle version instead of a heaping mound of the kind made with all that why-bother, fat-free nonsense.
These are leeks. I am showing you what they look like because this recipe calls for leeks, and maybe you’ve never met a leek.
Leek, these are my readers.
Readers, these are the leeks.
You guys are going to be great friends.
Leeks are in the onion and garlic family, but they aren’t spicy or as pungent. Think of them as the onion’s sweeter, milder niece. Or garlic’s gentle grandma. Whatever works for your imaginary vegetable family tree.
To use leeks, lop off the dark green leaves, then lop off the root. Split them down the middle…
…and slice them into chunks. Leeks are grown in sandy soil, so you need to rinse them to get rid of any grit. Because as much as I love grits, nothing will ruin a pot roast faster than grit.
In case you missed that nugget of obvious truth, grits and grit are not the same thing.
Here is one of my most favorite-ist tips. When the potatoes are finished cooking…
…use a spider or slotted spoon to remove the potatoes from the water (instead of draining the potatoes in a colander) and put the potatoes directly into your mixing bowl. Leave the water in the pan, but turn off the heat.
(Pause. These photos were taken in my old kitchen, and I’m having a bit of a nostalgic moment remembering that sweet house. Is it normal to be emotionally attached to a stove? Probably not.)
Once you have mixed the potatoes with all the lovely dairy ingredients and salt, cover the bowl with foil, and stick it back into the hot water in the pan. The potatoes will stay warm for a loooooooong time while you get everything else ready for dinner.
I usually just serve them from my mixing bowl, keep them in the hot water bath, and then they are still piping hot when people go back for seconds. Seconds are a normal thing when these mashed potatoes are on the menu.
Don’t be alarmed. This isn’t prison food. This is what top-shelf pot roast looks like. Sure, it’s begging to be styled up a bit or shot in more flattering light, but let’s just go with it. When the roast is finished cooking, you are going to remove it from the pot and place it in a dish whilst you finish the sauce. Believe me, it’s delicious as is.
But it’s even better covered in the sauce you are going to make from all the pan drippings and vegetables. Can you even see the meat under all that killer gravy? Oh my gosh, my mouth just watered. An involuntary physical response to an incredibly unattractive photograph should be an indicator to you of how great this tastes.
Meat. Potatoes. Incredible. See how I didn’t even muddy the waters by adding in a green vegetable? True story, we ate this for dinner last night. It’s good every time.
And can we talk about the leftovers for one minute? I highly recommend giving the Pot Roast Sandwich a try (bread, mayo, pot roast, cheese, pickles). Timm Sasser has perfected this little piece of heaven between two slices of bread, and it is reason alone to make pot roast in the first place.
You can also take all this lovely sauce, cook up some fettuccini noodles the next night, and cover them with the leftover sauce. Pot roast and mashed potatoes one night plus hearty pasta dish the next night equals two dinners for the price of one. Win-win.