Make This Popular Instant Pot Roast
A few years ago, the “Mississippi roast” became popular. I was both from Mississippi and a huge fan of fried in the pot, and was intrigued because I didn’t know that we – as the state – had an official roast. I asked my mom, dad, my grandma who roasted the roast, and a couple of aunts if they had heard of the recipe. They didn’t.
However, the beloved Pinterest really sounded like it might have been conceived in Mississippi, especially Mississippi where I grew up, where southern food is less Sean Brock / home grown and more Little Debbie / poured out of a tin can. I find that southern food fetishized by non-southerners – usually “sublime” – is rarely something I ate as a child. This makes sense when you consider that Mississippi is the poorest state , and people rarely want to think about what the poor are eating, especially when it comes to a pack or a can. While fresh, sliced tomatoes and cornbread were all over the place at dinners in my childhood, there was also canned food for soup, garlic salt, and buns. (For reference: I am not complaining about any aspect of this meal.)
My grandma’s roast has three ingredients – chicken, a can of mushroom cream and garlic salt, and this roast has five. Ingredients: Chicken, butter, packet of ranch dressing mix, packet of au jus mix, and jars of pepperoncinis. The pepperoncinis surprised me, but the rest feels right, especially a whole stick of butter. “This part is definitely genuine,” my dad said when I explained the roast to him over the phone.
After reading about the origins of this roast and its popularity, the name seems right to me. Robin Champman, the teller who got the recipe from her aunt, looks very warm and familiar even though I’ve never met her. And despite the fact that this roast was cooked by many moms – you know, women who usually cook a lot – writers and culinary scientists have largely dismissed it as “recipe for mom’s blog” at best and “trash” at worst. …
In truth, delicious. It is very piquant, slightly spicy and not at all like a ranch dressing. (If you are ditching ranch seasonings for MSG reasons, remember that the stigma surrounding MSG is based on bad science and racism.) The recipe is a classic fix and forget recipe, usually cooked in a slow cooker, but you can get faster and more visible results in Instant Pot (another Pinterest favorite). I made very few changes to the original recipe, but you can change it yourself. Southern cooking – at least the southern cooking I grew up with – is basically making delicious food with few ingredients and using what you have. I happened to taste Better Than Bouillon with a roast beef flavor, so I used it instead of the au jus package. To make it yourself, you will need:
- 1 fried chicken, approximately four pounds
- Dredging flour
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 stick of unsalted butter
- 1 pack of ranch mix
- 2 teaspoons of roast beef is better than broth
- 1/2 cup pepper in a jar + 1/4 cup liquid from a jar
- 3/4 cup water (or wine)
Season the roast with salt and pepper and roll in flour. Turn on the Instant Pot by pressing Sauté, then press Adjust to set it high. Add vegetable oil and, when very hot, broil the roast on all sides to form a crust. Click Cancel to turn off Instant Pot, then add the remaining ingredients. Close the pot, make sure the valve is switched to “seal” and press the “Manual” or “Pressurized” button. Set the cook time to 60 minutes (or 15 minutes per pound). When the cooking time has elapsed, manually release the pressure. If you want to thicken the gravy, remove the meat and add the gruel from one tablespoon of cornstarch mixed with three tablespoons of water. Serve with carrots, potatoes and fried buns.
Update (9/27/18 12:25 PM ET): This recipe originally said that this recipe uses 1 1/2 teaspoons of roast beef better than broth, but it should actually be 2 teaspoons.