Writers Writing About Comfort Food: New England Pot Roast

Writers Writing About Comfort FoodI admit it was a tough choice to pick my favorite comfort food. Anyone who knows me understands I’m a huge fan of Don Jesse’s famous lamb tacos at El Puente (if you’ve never eaten there, do yourself a favor and go!). Also, on any given night I might end up craving paprika seasoned pork short ribs slow cooked in sauerkraut, or steak and a baked potato. Really, it’s amazing I narrowed down my comprehensive and endless list of favorite foods at all! Yet, somehow, I did.

New England Pot Roast for me, is the most comforting meal in the entire world. I originally had it just a few years ago when I came home from college for the weekend. It was a brisk day and hickory logs were sizzling and popping on our fireplace. I remember sitting at the table, mesmerized and satisfied by a meal so simple and yet so delicious. As I lovingly ladled gravy over the succulent and tender beef, I knew there was no going back.

The recipe my family uses is from one from my Grammy’s Betty Crocker cookbook from the late 60s. It takes three or so hours to get the meat and vegetables just right (depending on the size of your beef), but once it’s done its heavenly. I’m a huge fan of texture with whatever I eat, and everything about New England Pot Roast just goes together so well. It pays to braise the beef prior to cooking with the onions, carrots and potatoes. My favorite part about this dish are the smells! The whole house smells cozy and comforting when you make it.

Perhaps what I love best about New England Pot Roast (besides beef and gravy) are the tiny pearl onions it’s cooked with. The beef and onions play nicely together, and the red potatoes and carrots soften just so. Sometimes, if I have a cold, I’ll spoon a small dollop of horseradish over the beef to held eradicate congestion.

This dish serves as an antidote when I have bad days. It gives me endless joy and comfort. It’s a simple dish, but one I always turn to when I’m sad or anxious. Somehow, no matter how bad a day I’m having, this dish always makes everything feel all better.