Beef Pot Roast with Butternut Squash and Porcini Mushrooms

While we were watching “Mad Men” last season, my husband asked if I would make the Yankee pot roast we were watching the family eat for their Sunday dinner. It did look very appetizing, so I gathered several pot roast recipes and developed one with ingredients I knew we liked. Instead of using carrots, I substituted butternut squash. Instead of all beef broth, I thought using porcini mushrooms would give the broth—and the sauce—a rich flavor. It was a big hit with my family and I was glad to have enough left over for a second meal.

This is a good time of year to use the weekend to make double batches of entrees that freeze well. Owning a heavy Dutch oven or stockpot with a cover is a must. Chili, short ribs, soups and stews of every kind are perfect for freezing. I suggest labeling the container with the name of the dish and the date you put it in the freezer.

Beef Pot Roast with Butternut Squash and Porcini Mushrooms
Serves 8

  • 1/2 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
  • one 3 to 3-1/2 lb. boneless beef chuck roast
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons coarse sea salt or kosher salt
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons dried thyme leaves
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup reduced-sodium beef broth
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • One 6-ounce can tomato paste
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme (optional)
  • 3 cups peeled and cubed (1-inch pieces) butternut squash (about 14 ounces)
  • 6 ounces wide egg noodles, cooked and drained
  • Chopped fresh thyme leaves (optional)

Directions:

1. Soak mushrooms in one cup of very hot tap water until softened, about 15 minutes. Drain mushrooms, reserving liquid. Chop mushrooms and set aside with the liquid.

2. Heat oven to 325 degrees. Season the roast with salt, dried thyme and pepper. Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the roast and brown well, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer it to a plate; set aside. Add onion and garlic to drippings in pan; sauté until softened, 8 to 10 minutes. Add broth, wine, reserved mushroom liquid, tomato paste, reserved mushrooms, bay leaves and, if desired, thyme sprigs. Bring to a boil. Return roast to pan. Transfer to oven and braise for 1-1/2 hours. Add squash cubes and turn pot roast over, mixing squash into liquid. Cover and continue to braise 1 to 1-1/2 hours or until roast is fork tender.

3. Transfer the roast to a carving board; tent with foil and let stand while simmering sauce. Discard bay leaves and thyme sprigs; spoon off and discard fat from liquid. Bring to a boil over high heat; reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes or until sauce is slightly thickened. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper if desired. Carve roast into 1/2-inch thick slices. Set aside half of the slices and half of the vegetables and sauce (about 2 cups). Place the cooked noodles on serving plates; top with the remaining pot roast and sauce. Garnish with thyme leaves if desired.

4. Once reserved pot roast and sauce has cooled, place in large freezer container with tight-fitting lid. Freeze up to 3 months. To reheat the pot roast, thaw completely and gently reheat in a covered saucepan over medium heat until hot. Prepare fresh noodles to serve with the pot roast. A wedge salad makes a nice accompaniment to the meal.

Retro 1950s food is making a comeback!