What is Yankee Pot Roast?

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  • Written By: Dan Cavallari
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 03 November 2019
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Yankee pot roast is a dish that originated in the United States but is based off a European cooking technique called braising. The dish is centered on a piece of beef, usually a tougher cut, that is first seared in a deep pan, then simmered in a stock or its own juices, or both. Yankee pot roast is a slight variation on this method: instead of the meat being cooked on its own, various vegetables are added to the pan to be simmered along with the meat.

Originally prepared in New England — hence the Yankee in Yankee pot roast — this dish was prepared with practicality: seasonal, inexpensive vegetables were chosen to be put in with the roast, rather than the most flavorful or expensive. Carrots, onions, potatoes, celery, and sometimes mushrooms were common choices to be added to the pot roast. The cut of meat, too, was an economical choice: less expensive, fattier meats were ideal not only for cost, but also because such meats produced more of its own juices to cook in. Leaner cuts would produce less moisture.


To make a Yankee pot roast, the cut of meat must first be browned in a pan. Once its juices have been produced, some type of stock is usually added, along with some spices. Then, vegetables should be pan-seared until slightly soft, but not cooked through. Add the vegetables to the meat. An acidic liquid is also a good addition at this point, such as beer or tomato paste, to bring out the flavors of the dish. Wine is also a good choice, but traditionally, wine was not common in many New England kitchens, so it was not a common choice for this dish. A bit of flour helps thicken the liquid to make a gravy.

The Yankee pot roast must then be covered tightly and placed in an oven at about 325 degrees Fahrenheit (163 degrees Celsius) and cooked for two and a half to three hours. Check on the roast occasionally to make sure the meat is covered in liquid. If the gravy gets too thick, water or other liquid can be added.

This dish can be spiced up a bit by adding various vegetables. Garlic is a good addition that adds flavor and zest, and different types of peppers can be added later in the cooking so they don't break down with cooking. Spices such as salt, pepper, oregano, basil, rosemary, and thyme can add accents to the meat and vegetables for a more flavorful meal.


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Post 3
I know a lot of people who love slow cooker pot roast and I am not knocking it. It tastes great and it is really easy. But for my money nothing beats the flavor of a pot roast cooked in a dutch oven or some other cast iron cooker.

The crock pot can approximate the tenderness, but there is no way to get that sear and char like you do from cast iron. I think that is the most magical part of the dish so I always use cast iron.

Post 2
Yankee pot roast represents everything that is great to me about American cooking. It takes simple ingredients and finds clever ways to prepare them to overcome the lack of quality and to produce dishes that are greater than the sum of their parts. It is frontier food, pioneer food.
Post 1

Yankee pot roast is probably my favorite comfort food. A big bowl of the roast with huge chunks of potatoes and carrots and onions. I could eat that with a fresh made roll every night of the week.

My wife makes makes a crock pot roast that is as good as any I have every had and super simple to make. You just throw everything together, turn it on and come back 8 hours later. The meat is so tender it makes you want to weep.

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