This pot roast is one of my family’s favorite easy beef dishes. Raising cattle means always having an excess of beef in the freezer, and this is easily the best way to enjoy a good chuck roast. A pot roast is a fantastic way to feed a large group of people or simply be excited that dinner is ready for you at the end of a long work day. This pot roast is also a great way to explore the many agriculture connections to what we eat!
This recipe starts out with its signature component – cola. The cola is the base of the pot roast marinade, and does a fantastic job of tenderizing the meat. Aside from carbonated water and flavoring, the key ingredient in cola is high fructose corn syrup, a product that starts right here in Iowa! Field corn is first converted to corn starch, and then through a process called hydrolysis becomes corn syrup.
Next, you’ll need a medium onion, chopped. The biggest onion producing states are Washington, Idaho, Oregon and California. Onions are a root crop that grow for 5-6 months before being either mechanically or hand harvested from the soil.
You’ll need eight minced cloves of garlic. California is the major garlic-producing state, but this crop can be grown nearly anywhere in the United States. Garlic grown in cooler states, like Minnesota, is planted in the fall.
A thinly sliced lemon is our next ingredient, coming all the way from states like California and Arizona or countries like India, Argentina and Spain. Lemons are grown in orchards and require rain, fertile soil and warmth
Next, you’ll need a cup of soy sauce and three tablespoons of vegetable oil. Both of these products are soy-based, meaning they’re from right here in the Midwest! Soybeans are Iowa’s #2 crop, and are made into many products. Vegetable oil, unless the container says otherwise, is 100% soybean oil. Soy sauce is traditionally brewed from wheat, soybeans, water and salt. Wheat is grown in states near Iowa, such as North Dakota and Kansas.
The star of the show is the chuck roast. You’ll need a 3-4 pound chuck roast, which comes from the shoulder of the beef animal, and is known for its robust beef flavor. It is considered a lean cut of beef, with only 182 calories and 29 grams of protein per 3-oz cooked serving. Beef animals are common in Texas, Kansas and Nebraska, but they can also be found in all 99 counties in Iowa.You’ll want a well-marbled roast, because it will be tender and full of flavor. A chuck roast that is too lean will likely dry out.
After combining the above ingredients and letting the chuck roast marinate for 8-24 hours, remove the roast from the marinade. Reserve the marinade. Sprinkle the roast with pepper.
Heat 1 tbsp of soybean oil in a large Dutch oven. Sear beef until well-browned on all sides. Add reserved marinade and bring to a boil. Transfer roast and marinade to a crock pot. Set the crock pot on low.
After 4-5 hours, add 8 Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into quarters. The Yukon Gold contains nearly twice as much Vitamin C as a regular baking potato, and are extremely versatile.
You’ll also need to add 8 carrots, peeled and diagonally sliced into bite size pieces, to the roast. California, Texas and Michigan are important carrot-producing states. Carrots are a root crop that are usually orange, but come in purple, red and yellow varieties.
Add 2 large onions, cut into bite size pieces, and let the pot roast cook on low for another 2-3 hours, or until fork-tender. Transfer roast and vegetables onto a serving platter.
Whisk together two tablespoons cornstarch and ¼ cup water in a small bowl until smooth. Whisk the mixture into the juices in the crock pot. Turn the crock pot heat to high, stirring occasionally, for five minutes or until thickened. Drizzle gravy over roast and vegetables, and enjoy!
Complete ingredient list:
1 (12 oz) can of cola
1 medium onion, chopped
8 garlic cloves, minced
1 lemon, thinly sliced
1 cup soy sauce
3 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
1 (3- to 4-lb) chuck roast, trimmed
8 carrots (about 1.5 lbs), peeled and sliced diagonally into bite-sized pieces
8 Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into quarters
2 large onions, cut into bite sized pieces
2 tablespoons cornstarch
¼ cup water