Well, it’s a milestone episode we’re covering today: the debut of Jess Mariano. And honestly, I nearly skipped it from my first time through the transcripts compiling my Sookie recipes. Luckily, I had just recently started rewatching the series again (for the 2,301,420th time – I’m sure you can relate) and came upon this episode just in time since we’re skipping three episodes ahead. Maybe it was because it was a “feast” episode rather than a specific recipe, but since we’re all stuck at home with nothing better to do than eat (what is better than eating, anyways, really?) I definitely knew I had to add these to the list.
To set the scene, Jess is coming to Stars Hollow so Luke can put him on the straight and narrow, and Lorelai, the neighborhood humanitarian that she is, invited them both over for a home cooked potluck catered by Sookie herself complete with pot roast, chicken wings, mashed potatoes, four different kinds of salad, grilled cheese and garlic bread. So, because we are a family of two (and a half), even on our best days I don’t think we could put all of that away ourselves (or afford to!) Therefore I decided to split the feast into three separate posts, with the first being pot roast with mashed potatoes and garlic bread.
Even though summer is quickly approaching pot roast is always welcome in our home. No matter what season it is, however, confession time: I’ve never made a pot roast in the oven. Out of convenience, I’ve always made my pot roasts in the crockpot, and honestly, have never felt the need to stray from my trust slow cooker, but thank the Lord for Ree Drummond for she has taught me the error of my ways.
I did some general gooling for something akin to “best pot roast recipe” Pioneer Woman’s Perfect Pot Roast came in for a win at 4.8 stars with 850 reviews on Food Network’s site, though I used her original post for the instructions. She is a gem! And a genius.
For the mashed potatoes I pulled out my go-to recipe I use every year for Thanksgiving: Tyler Florence’s Mashed Potato Recipe. You’ll instantly gain five pounds but it is worth every ounce of creamy richness.
Finally, I used this highly reviewed garlic bread recipe from Bon Appetit. Of course, these recipes will have their own “quarantine quirks” due to lack of fresh parsley, or parm.
In the end I believe I did the girls justice, seeing as my plate looked nearly identical to the one Lorelai serves Luke in the buffet line.
All of these recipes are A+++, and none of which I can take credit for on my own. Some things just don’t need to be messed with, and I’m always happy to learn from the best.
We are entering some dangerous territory here, now that we’ve been introduced to two of three Rory boyfriends, and I can’t wait to discuss. My first question is…how in the world did a 16 year old boy resist a literal feast of food cooked by the Maestro?!
Pot Roast (by Ree Drummond – from The Pioneer Woman)
1 whole (4 To 5 Pounds) Chuck Roast
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
2 whole Onions
6 whole Carrots (Up To 8 Carrots)
Salt To Taste
Pepper To Taste
1 cup Red Wine (optional, You Can Use Beef Broth Instead)
2 cups To 3 Cups Beef Stock
3 sprigs Fresh Thyme, or more to taste
3 sprigs Fresh Rosemary, or more to taste
First and foremost, choose a nicely marbled piece of meat. This will enhance the flavor of your pot roast like nothing else. Generously salt and pepper your chuck roast.
Heat a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Then add 2 to 3 tablespoons of olive oil (or you can do a butter/olive oil split).
Cut two onions in half and cut 6 to 8 carrots into 2-inch slices (you can peel them, but you don’t have to). When the oil in the pot is very hot (but not smoking), add in the halved onions, browning them on one side and then the other. Remove the onions to a plate.
Throw the carrots into the same very hot pan and toss them around a bit until slightly browned, about a minute or so.
If needed, add a bit more olive oil to the very hot pan. Place the meat in the pan and sear it for about a minute on all sides until it is nice and brown all over. Remove the roast to a plate.
With the burner still on high, use either red wine or beef broth (about 1 cup) to deglaze the pan, scraping the bottom with a whisk to get all of that wonderful flavor up.
When the bottom of the pan is sufficiently deglazed, place the roast back into the pan and add enough beef stock to cover the meat halfway (about 2 to 3 cups). Add in the onion and the carrots, as well as 3 or 4 sprigs of fresh rosemary and about 3 sprigs of fresh thyme.
Put the lid on, then roast in a 275F oven for 3 hours (for a 3-pound roast). For a 4 to 5-pound roast, plan on 4 hours.
Tyler Florence Mashed Potatoes (courtesy of Food.com)
6 -8 yukon gold potatoes, skin on
2 garlic cloves
1 sprig fresh thyme
1 sprig fresh rosemary
salt and pepper
Scrub unpeeled potatoes, add to pot along with enough milk to cover potatoes halfway. Then add enough cream to completely cover the potatoes. Also add peeled/crushed garlic cloves and thyme. Bring to a boil and cook until tender. When potatoes are done, drain them in a colander under which a large bowl has been placed. Place potatoes back into the cooking pot. Mash potatoes. Add cupfuls of the hot milk/cream as you mash, until you reach desired consistency. Add a pat of butter and salt and pepper to taste. Any leftover milk/cream can be used to “revive” your potatoes in case you end up with late dinner guests or if you have leftovers.
Bon Appetit Classic Garlic Bread
½ cup cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
¼ cup cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic cloves, peeled, crushed
Large handful of fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, finely chopped
Finely grated Parmesan
Preheat oven to 450°. Heat butter and oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and parsley and cook, stirring occasionally, until butter is completely melted.
Slice bread in half lengthwise, then place on a baking sheet and brush cut sides with butter mixture.
Slice crosswise 1″ thick, without cutting all the way through; season with salt and top with Parmesan. Bake until golden, 10–15 minutes.