After 64 years on planet earth, there is one thing I am very certain of: there is no such thing as a shortcut. If you've got a huge pile of rocks to get through, it needs to start with "one rock, two rocks....". Likewise, you can't take a 608-page literary masterpiece like "The Story of Edgar Sawtelle" (my favorite novel of all time) and turn it into 5-page Reader's Digest version. Life just doesn't work that way.
So I was very skeptical when I came across this slow cooker, pot roast recipe that sounded like it was an abridged version written for Reader's Digest. However, I did not find it in Reader's Digest. I found it in The New York Times. And the recipe has become so popular that they named it one of the top 50 recipes of 2016.
Let me share the lowbrow ingredient list with you and see if you, too, do not share my skepticism. First, you have the chuck roast. But then get this: an envelope of powdered ranch dressing mix; an envelope of powdered au jus mix; a stick of butter and some pepperoncini. That's it. Sorry, but those four, long years you spent at Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts were for naught when it comes to making a Mississippi Pot Roast.
I made this on a Thursday night because I just had no faith that it was going to be anything special. I could certainly waste one weeknight dinner on a so-so dish. My family was quite surprised as to just how tasty this was. As was I. It's also quite a versatile dish as it would go well with egg noodles, roasted potatoes or piled high on sandwich rolls with the cooking gravy on the side.
1 boneless chuck roast, 3 to 4 pounds
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh cracked black pepper
3 tablespoons neutral cooking oil, like canola
1 stick of butter (4 ounces)
1 one-ounce envelope of powdered ranch dressing mix
1 one-ounce envelope of powdered au jus gravy mix
- Place roast on a cutting board and rub salt and pepper all over it.
- Heat the oil in a large sauté pan set over high heat until it is shimmering. Brown roast on each side for 6 minutes (12 minutes total).
- Place stick of butter in the bowl of a slow cooker. Set browned roast on top of butter.
- Empty dressing and gravy mixes over the top of the roast. Add pepperoncini to the bowl of the slow cooker.
- Cover and turn slow cooker on to "low". Cook for 8 hours.
- Remove roast from slow cooker into a large mixing bowl. Shred meat with two forks.
- Return meat to slow cooker and stir to combine meat, pepperoncini and gravy. Then serve.
Wine pairing: This dish has some really bold flavors, so I'd reach for a big-ass, fruity Zinfandel. And have yourself a very, merry Christmas!