Here’s what you need to get started. One triathlete, who spends 8 hours on the bike on Sundays and works out at the YMCA for an hour or so before work in the morning and 4-6 hours in the evening; another man who spends his days behind the wheel of a city bus, wielding a multi-ton hunk of metal in many directions all day every day; a law-enforcement officer who works with young, multi-offenders every day and some nights trying to get those kids pointed in a better direction and who is not above some pretty tough love when it is called for; a grandmother with Hepatitis C on a serious medical regimen and who can’t eat anything too seriously seasoned or of strong of flavor; and a mom who is brilliant with money issues, an accountant for a major company; and me the woman with time enough to spend all afternoon puttering over a pot roast. You also need a wintry night and a light rain and a February cold that creeps in. All told: six hungry, cold people who have worked hard all day and run themselves ragged.
I started about two in the afternoon, a three-inch thick pot roast that filled up the bottom of my roasting pan. I put oil on the bottom of the pan, added half a chopped up onion and four crushed garlic cloves. I let the oil cook the veggies down until they were soft, then pulled them out. I added the meat, let it sere on both sides in the onion and garlic flavored oil. Then added the onions and garlic back, a can of beef broth and a can of water, a little salt on the meat. I put a lid on and put it in a 350 degree over for two hours. A hour before it was ready, I added 6 carrots, half a sliced onion, and 3 large potatoes in the pan with the meat, letting the broth cover the vegg. Cook in the oven another hour until the veggies are soft. Cooking while people are having a glass of wine or a cold beer provides scents that are almost too much to bear.
Rick, our athlete, pulled out the meat and veggies and sliced them apart so people could serve themselves. The meat was massively tender. He cut the roast into large pieces, because we were hungry. I made the gravy from the broth, onions, and garlic. Add 2 heaping tablespoons of corn starch into ¼ cup of water, dissolve the corn starch, and add the whole thing to the broth. It will form a gravy very quickly that is also dense and complex. We ate and ate, and then ate some more. We were all righteously fed, with meat and vegetables that met our needs for both dinner and buddies for companionship. You know, food food.