What’s Yankee Roast?

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Yankee Potato Roast is a braised beef dish originating in the United States, traditionally made with inexpensive vegetables and cuts of meat. The meat is seared, then simmered with vegetables and broth in an oven for 2.5-3 hours. Additional spices and vegetables can be added for flavor.

Yankee Potato Roast is a dish originating in the United States but based on a European cooking technique called braising. The dish centers on a piece of beef, usually a tougher cut, that is first seared in a deep pan, then simmered in a broth or its juices or both. The Yankee pot roast is a slight variation of this method: Instead of the meat being cooked on its own, various vegetables are added to the pan to simmer with the meat.

Originally prepared in New England – hence Yankee in Yankee – this dish was prepared with practicality: Inexpensive, seasonal vegetables were chosen to go into the roast, rather than the more flavorful or expensive ones. Carrots, onions, potatoes, celery, and sometimes mushrooms were common choices to add to the pot roast. The cut of meat was also an economical choice: the least expensive and fattest meats were ideal not only for cost, but also because such meats produced more of its juices for cooking. Leaner cuts would have produced less moisture.

To roast a Yankee pot, the cut of meat must first be browned in a pan. Once its juices have been produced, some type of broth is usually added, along with some spices. Then, the 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 enhance the flavors of the dish. Wine is also a good choice, but traditionally, wine wasn’t common in many New England cuisines, so it wasn’t a common choice for this dish. A little flour helps thicken the liquid to create a gravy.

The Yankee pot roast should then be tightly covered and placed in an oven at about 325 degrees Fahrenheit (163 degrees Celsius) and cooked for two and a half to three hours. Check the roast occasionally to make sure the meat is covered in liquid. If the gravy becomes 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 fall apart with cooking. Spices such as salt, pepper, oregano, basil, rosemary and thyme can add accents to meats and vegetables for a more flavorful meal.

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