This version of slow cooker Mississippi Pot Roast recently appeared on the cooking website of the New York Times. Refined by Sam Sifton, it’s a somewhat healthier way of cooking a recipe that has been a favorite on Pinterest for many years. Somehow, I’d never heard of it before, which surprised me since I peruse many of the home cooking sites that show up on Pinterest. I’ve seen “Marry Me Chicken” show up about a thousand times, for example. And I’ve never tried it either. But once I read the pot roast recipe, it sounded so appalling that I couldn’t wait to try it!
The original recipe calls for placing a 3 pound chuck roast in a crock pot, adding a whole stick of butter, an envelope of dry ranch dressing mix, an envelope of dry gravy mix, and several whole pepperoncini . It sounded completely disgusting to cook a fatty chuck roast with butter, but strangely appealing at the same time. Appalling and appealing! Sam Sifton’s recipe does not use any dry packages of dressing or gravy mix, and reduces the butter considerably. Is it really any healthier? Who knows? But it’s definitely low carb and probably Keto friendly. We served ours over cauliflower rice, so we could pat ourselves on the back for reducing the carbs even further. And I have to admit it was really delicious.
1 boneless chuck roast, around 3 to 4 pounds
2 tsp. kosher salt
1 ½ tap. Freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup of flour
3 tbsp. Neutral oil, such as canola
4 tbsp. Unsalted butter (same as ½ stick)
8 to 10 pepperoncini
2 tbsp. Mayonnaise
2 tsp. Apple cider vinegar
½ tsp. Dried dill
¼ tsp. Paprika
1 tsp. Buttermilk (optional)
Heat the oil in a heavy skillet. While it is heating, thoroughly salt and pepper the roast. Then dredge it in the flour . Once the oil is very hot, sear the roast on all sides, about 10 minutes altogether, creating a golden brown crust. Remove the roast to the slow cooker. If any of the crust (or fond) stuck to the skillet, gently scrape it up and add it to the pot. Some of the recipe reviewers recommend deglazing the skillet with a little wine or broth and adding it to the pot. I did not try this, however. Add the 4 tablespoons of butter to the pot.
Mix a ranch dressing from the mayonnaise, cider vinegar, dill and paprika. Add it to the pot. Add the pepperoncini. Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours, or until fork tender. Shred the meat and serve with the gravy over pasta, rice or whatever strikes your fancy. It’s also good as a filler for a sandwich.
Now here are a few changes I made when I tried this recipe. Instead of using whole pepperoncini, I added a twelve ounce jar of sliced pepperoncini. Quite a bit of pickling liquid came with it. I didn’t want to add all of the liquid for fear of making the recipe too spicy, but as I spooned it into the pot, plenty of liquid sloshed in with the pepper rings.
I did not add the buttermilk to the salad dressing mix. I didn’t have any on hand since I seldom use it and didn’t think it was worth one of my rare pandemic grocery shopping expeditions to get it. I have to say the dressing mixture was very tasty and I plan to make it again to use on salads.
One aspect of the recipe didn’t quite work out for me, though. In theory, the flour crust on the roast mixes with the butter to help form a gravy. There was plenty of buttery sauce at the end, but it didn’t thicken. After removing the roast, I decided to mix a few tablespoons of the sauce with a tablespoon of flour, whisk it together, and add it to the sauce. I continued stirring and cranked up the slow cooker to high. The mixture thickened, but the butter did not fully incorporate. Bottom line, there was no actual gravy. Nevertheless, it was very tasty spooned over the meat and cauliflower rice, so I can’t complain.
The leftovers kept well and were great over egg noodles.
So the verdict is that this strange recipe is well worth trying. I might even try the original version to see what it’s like, and see if it makes a gravy. And I guess it only a matter or time before I try Marry Me Chicken, too!
“Cooking is one of the strongest ceremonies for life. When recipes are put together, the kitchen is a chemical laboratory involving air, fire, water and the earth. This is what gives value to humans and elevates their spiritual qualities. If you take a frozen box and stick it in the microwave, you become connected to the factory.”
“If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything.”
― Mark Twain