Mississippi Pot Roast

Easy Slow-cooker (Mississippi?) Pot Roast Recipe Magic

It can’t be this easy, right? That’s what I thought when I started seeing talk of mysterious, viral “Mississippi Pot Roast” recipes that were spreading online despite no one really knowing the origins. But just as promised, the recipe I tried at first WAS easy: throw a chuck roast, a pack of dry ranch, a pack of onion soup mix, some jarred peperoncinis, and a whole stick of butter into a slow cooker and set it for 7 hours on low! Ta da! Dinner’s ready! It was enjoyable, but it definitely needed some fine-tuning. I tried not to “fancy up” the recipe much, the simplicity is part of the appeal of this recipe, but I think after some tinkering, my take on this recipe is still very easy, and maybe just a little bit tastier.

Right off the bat, I abandoned the set-it-and-forget-it strategy some recipes used in the name of flavor. I found a good sear was needed since the loss of all that browning Maillard Reaction goodness was too high a price for convenience. I also reduced the amount of ranch dressing and onion soup mix by at least half to make the salt level a little less overpowering (don’t worry, it’s still plenty salty!), and added a few extra staples and herbs you likely have in your pantry or fridge. My recipe’s biggest departure is removing the whole stick of butter that was just overkill since the slow-cooking process renders so much fat from the chuck roast that it’s already basically confit-ing itself. The excess of melted butter also seemed to inhibit the roast’s browning. I found that the flavor of the extra browning outweighed the flavor the butter imparted. Let’s see how I did…

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 – 3 lbs beef chuck roast
  • Approx 1/2 pack onion soup mix
  • Approx 1/3 pack dry ranch dressing
  • 3 jarred pepperoncini peppers (with about 1Tbsp of the liquid reserved)
  • 3 sprigs of fresh thyme (dry leaves if you don’t have any fresh on hand)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 Tbsp canola oil
  • freshly ground black pepper

Step 1: Searing

Set the slow cooker to Low then heat a heavy cast iron pan on high until it just begins to smoke. As soon as it does, add the oil, spread it around the bottom of the pan, then sear the roast on one side without touching it for 3-4 mins until well-browned. Repeat on the other side for another 2-3 mins until also well-browned then remove and put in the slow cooker.

Step 2: Seasoning

I realize this looks like an ad for Hidden Valley Ranch and Lipton, but I assure you, I received no compensation for this.

Season generously with freshly ground black pepper, then dust the browned roast with a LIGHT coating of the dry ranch, roughly 1/3 of a pack.

Dust the roast lightly with about half the packet of onion soup mix. Then add the bay leaves, thyme, and pepperoncini peppers, to the top of the roast and add the reserved Tbsp of juice from the jar.

Cover and set it to cook on low for about 7 hours, give or take, depending on the power of your slow cooker. The waiting game begins.

Step 3: Waiting

Halfway there!

At halfway through the cooking time, push the bay leaves, peppers and thyme into the bubbling juices and flip the roast over. While we’re at it, go ahead and baste it in its own juices, because why not? Set the cover back on and continue cooking on low.

Step 4: Almost there

Throughout the last half of the cook time, baste the roast again once or twice at your leisure. You’ll see the juices reduce and continue to concentrate in flavor.

Around the 7 hour mark the roast should be fork-tender. Turn off the slow cooker and chop up the roast into bite-sized pieces with some kitchen scissors.

And there you have it–one seriously easy but seriously satisfying pot roast with rich, intense beefy flavor and just a subtle zing and heat from the peppers and their juices! Serve with a few dollops of mashed potatoes and peas and/or a loaf of crusty bread and you’re only a few minutes away from empty kids’ plates–the true measure of a family favorite recipe! Thank you, Mississippi or wherever the original recipe came from!

 

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