I’ve always been a fan of the Sunday pot roast dinner. When I was growing up in Spanish Harlem, we called it carne mechada. But it was essentially the same as what you would find in New England, a 3-4 pound roast cooked in a Dutch oven over moderate heat with potatoes, carrots or whatever. Only difference was that ours was more highly seasoned as per Caribbean taste. Also, due to economics, we usually cooked a boneless chuck roast; and when times were good it would be bottom round beef or eye round. If you’re looking for a traditional carne mechada recipe you can check my post from 02/27/13.
Recently I was looking through old stacks of cookbooks, and I cam across this gem: 250 Ways To Prepare Meat. It was a fifty cent catalogue published by Consolidated Book Publishers in 1971. It had a basic “Beef Pot Roast” recipe that utilized yes, table fat, for browning the meat. That’s how far back this recipe goes. It’s an endearing recipe, and quite delicious. I can imagine many a home in America in those days cooking this classic. Thus below, I give the recipe word-for word, as noted in the original. Only exception is that I took the liberty of adding carrots to the mix. This is probably the way your grandparents prepared the Sunday roast. If you don’t want to use table fat, you can always substitute vegetable, canola, or olive oil.
BEEF POT ROAST
3- to 4-pound beef arm or blade pot roast
1 tablespoon flour
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 onion, chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons fat
1/2 water or stock
Combine flour, salt and pepper. Dredge meat with mixture. Brown meat and onion in fat, pour off drippings and add a small amount of water or stock. Cover tightly, simmer 3 to 4 hours or until tender, adding more water if needed. One half hour before done, add potatoes. Serves 6.