Fat chance of leaving this out

March 20, 1996|By Caroline Grannan | Caroline Grannan,KNIGHT-RIDDER NEWS SERVICE

If one dish gave slow-cookers their culinary-backwater reputation, this was it: pot roast with creamy mushroom sauce, unrepentantly unrevised and un-updated, in the 1995 version of "Mable Hoffman's Crockery Cookery."

Pot roast with creamy mushroom sauce

Serves 6 to 8

1 (2- to- 2 1/2 -pound) boneless beef chuck roast

1 envelope dry onion soup mix

1 can condensed cream of mushroom soup

Place roast in a slow-cooker. Add soup mix; top with undiluted soup. Cover and cook on low 6 to 8 hours. Serve with mashed potatoes or over cooked noodles.

It was quintessential slow-cooker cuisine -- a big hunk of red meat smothered in fatty packaged convenience food and artificial ingredients.

I had to try it.

As a health-conscious consumer of the '90s I hadn't cooked with beef for years, but I bravely marched up to the meat counter and selected my chuck roast. A stop at the soup aisle and my preparations were complete.

Oh, except for the taste-testers. I called on my friends Andy, Steve, Lynne, Larry and Julianna.

After six to eight hours, I lifted the lid with a flourish and hefted the dripping meat onto a serving plate.

My tasters picked up their forks.

"This is good!" exclaimed Andy. Then, she added sheepishly: "Was I supposed to say that?"

Steve, Lynne, Larry, Julianna and my 23-month-old, Anna, were in clear agreement.

Mable Hoffman laughs when I relate how her recipe exceeded, to put it mildly, my expectations. "That was a basic recipe that everyone seemed to like in the '70s," she says. "We had to put it back in this edition."

Pub Date: 3/20/96

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