Betty Wason's Basic Pot Roast

By Genius Recipes
May 7, 2013
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Author Notes: Betty Wason's recipe follows the familiar pared-down approach of other pot roasts, but adds one more cathartic step: you beat flour, salt, and pepper into the meat with the side of a plate, which seems to create a thicker crust and a more lustrous gravy in the end. My mom, Susan Miglore, has adapted Wason's recipe for the slow-cooker -- something that Betty Wason didn't have in 1963, but surely would have approved. By removing it from the realm of the stove and oven, you're that much freer to have pot roast at any time of year, whenever you need it. Adapted slightly from House & Garden magazine (January, 1963) via Epicurious.Genius Recipes

Serves: 6 to 8

  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 5 pounds rump of beef (or other roast suitable for slow-cooking, such as chuck)
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons fat or oil
  • 2 onions, sliced, or 10 to 12 small onions, peeled
  • 1 to 2 carrots, scraped and cubed
  • Herbs and seasonings, as desired (we used bay leaf and thyme)
  • 1 cup liquid (wine, bouillon, tomatoes, vegetable broth, etc.)
  • Other vegetables, as desired (we used baby red potatoes)
  1. Season the flour with the salt and pepper and pound the mixture into the meat with the edge of a plate.
  2. Brown meat on all sides in the hot fat or oil. Add the onions, cover and cook over low heat 10 minutes. Add the carrots, herbs, seasonings and liquid. Cover tightly and simmer 3 1/2 - 5 hours, until meat is fork tender. You may do this on the stovetop or transfer to a 350° F oven. Add desired vegetables during the last 20 or 30 minutes.
  3. Slow-cooker variation: After browning the meat, transfer to a slow cooker. Pour off excess fat from the pan. Saute onions in the same pan until softened slightly, then add to the slow-cooker. Pour liquid into the pan, scraping up the browned bits. Pour liquid and loosened bits into the slow-cooker, and add carrots, herbs, and other vegetables as desired. Cook on low 8 hours or more.

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