By Tommy C. Simmons, an enthusiastic cook
Photograph by Tommy C. Simmons
Lots of snow birds head south this month. Many stop in to visit friends on their drives down from Ohio, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, etc., to sunnier, warmer climes in Florida. Georgia neighbors have discovered it's a good idea to have a big pot of soup or stew ready to serve their guests, who are escaping cold, rainy or icy weather.
Since north Georgia can be cold, rainy and icy too in January and February, cooks expecting friends to stay for a couple of days should stock up on the basics for this pot roast and other comfort food recipes.
The Mississippi Roast has been a popular shared recipe for several years, and I've only slightly changed it to add more zing. Do enjoy.
Adding chunks of sweet potatoes to the Mississippi Roast increases the flavor of this slow-cooked favorite.
Home kitchen-tested recipe
Mississippi Roast With Sweet Potatoes
Serves 6 to 8. Original recipe is from Robin Chapman and Corinne Cook.
3- to 4-lb. chuck, sirloin tip or rump beef roast
Salt and pepper (I add salt sparingly, black pepper and cayenne pepper to taste)
Slivers of fresh garlic
1 (1-oz.) packet Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing Mix (dry)
1 (1-oz.) packet au jus gravy mix (dry)
1 stick butter, cut into pats
Pepperoncini peppers, amount you want as well as a little juice (I use about 6 peppers)
1 onion, cut into chunks
Half of bell pepper, seeded and cut into chunks
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
1 to 2 sweet potatoes, peeled, and sliced into rounds
Frozen green beans or green peas, optional
Spray inside of a large slow cooker with cooking oil. Season beef roast with salt, black pepper and a little red pepper, according to your palate. Go easy on the salt because the dry mixes have salt in them, too.
Cut slits in the seasoned roast and insert slivers of garlic. This is optional, but we like the taste of garlic.
Dust outside of roast with flour.
Spray a heavy skillet with cooking oil and brown the roast on all sides.
Layer chopped vegetables in bottom of prepared slow cooker, starting with onion, bell pepper, carrots and sweet potatoes.
Place browned roast on top of vegetables and sweet potatoes.
Sprinkle dry ranch dressing mix over top of meat, followed by dry au jus gravy mix.
Add pats of butter on top of mixes.
Lay pepperoncini peppers and drip some of the juice on the meat.
Cover and cook on low for 7 to 8 hours or until tender. Time will depend on size of roast. When roast has cooked for 6 hours, lift top and add a handful of frozen, rinsed whole green beans or green peas to the pot. Recover and continue cooking until done.
Skim off fat before serving.
Testing note: If you prefer adding white potatoes in place of sweet potatoes, do so. The vegetables are optional but make it a one-pot dinner in our family. I like to serve in bowls with wedges of cornbread or rustic Italian bread. I've tested this using a pork roast, also. Equally good.
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