With the cost of beef so high these days, I find myself avoiding previously affordable cuts such as chuck and round roasts. They have always beef a favorite of my family, especially for special days and Sunday suppers. My family has been sad to see the absence of these special meals, so I looked to see if there was a way to reproduce the effect with more affordable ground beef.
I started looking in a favorite older cookbook of mine, The International Gourmet Uses of Ground Beef by Jean Hewitt for Family Circle Magazine. Printed in 1972, it’s subtitle is telling–A Recession Special. I’ve had this cookbook since the late 1980’s and been pleased with most of the recipes I’ve gleaned from it. Tastes have changed since this book was printed. We use less salt, and more fresh ingredients in modern cooking. Still, the basics of most of the recipes are quite good and above all, affordable.
On page 32 of this cookbook I found a recipe for Mock Pot Roast With Vegetables, and adapted it’s use for my family. I reduced the salt since the original recipe called for 3-teaspoons! I adapted the vegetables and seasonings to use those which are affordable in my area and adjusted the cooking method slightly to make it easier to prepare. The results were an absolute hit at the dinner table! Jamie, my youngest, claimed “It’s the absolute best meatloaf you’ve ever made.”
With that recommendation in mind, I give you a recipe that is good enough to take center stage with company, at potlucks and even with your mother-in-law.
Mock Pot Roast With Vegetables
For the Meatloaf
- 2 pounds ground beef
- 1/2 cup rolled oats
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup ketchup
- 1 tablespoon brown or yellow mustard
- 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
- 1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt OR seasoned salt
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 tablespoons dry minced onion OR 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch OR potato starch
For the Vegetables
- 6 medium carrots, peeled and quartered, long ways
- 4 to 6 medium potatoes, peeled and quartered, long ways
- 1 or 2 large onions, peeled and cut into eighths, optional
First find a 9 by 13-inch pan and, if desired, line it with aluminum foil. Coat the inside of the pan with no-stick cooking spray or rub it lightly with solid shortening.
Prepare the vegetables. Peel and carrots, potatoes and onion. Cut the potatoes and carrots in half long ways. Cut the potatoes again, long ways, so they are each in 4 wedges. Cut the carrots in half short ways, so that each carrot is in 4 skinny carrot sticks. Remove the tip and tail of the onion. Cut it in half long ways, then cut each half in half and then cut each quarter in half, making 8 wedges. Set the vegetables aside.
Prepare the meatloaf. Combine all of the meatloaf ingredients in a large bowl. Use clean hands to knead it all together until you have a cohesive mass and the seasonings are evenly distributed.
Scoop up all of the ground beef and plop it into the center of your prepared pan. Form the meat into a large oval. Press the sides and top firmly so the meat is well packed. Take your time to make it a pretty shape.
Wash your hands and the bowl with bleach water.
Arrange the potatoes, carrots and onions all around the mound of beef. If desired you may sprinkle them lightly with salt or seasoned salt.
Rip off 2-sheets of aluminum foil and use them to cover the pan tightly.
Place the pan into the oven and put the oven onto 375°. Allow the roast to bake for 60 to 70 minutes. Remove the foil. Poke a fork into the potatoes. They should be tender. If they aren’t, then recover the pan and bake the roast until the potatoes are tender. When the potatoes are tender remove the foil and throw it away. Increase the heat of your oven to 450°. Put the roast back into the oven and continue baking until the roast is lightly browned, about 15 more minutes.
Remove the roast from the oven. You may serve it from the baking pan, or carefully transfer it to a serving platter. Surround the roast with the prepared vegetables.
If desired you may serve it with peas or a green salad. Fresh or canned pineapple adds a refreshing note. Add muffins if you want to be really fancy. They can bake with the roast while it’s still at 375°. Most muffins bake at 400°, so they’ll be fine at 375°. The cooking time may take a little bit longer to finish baking, but will turn out like they normally do.
To serve, cut the roast into thin slices. Makes 8 hearty servings.