First, let it be said that I generally like Yankees. I mean, they're honest, hard-working folks, right? Salt-of-the-earth types. With funny accents and wide-wale corduroys and a real knack for being thrifty. Frugal, even. Plus, I understand they eat pie for breakfast, and who couldn't get behind that?
That said, I am generally unimpressed with Yankee Pot Roast. Because it tastes like, oh, I don't know, cheap meat and a few soggy veggies stewed in water. Meat water. Watery meat with a side of sog. Not big fans of spice, the Yankees. They're saving their nickels for firewood or maple syrup or candlepin bowling equipment, apparently. (I'm trying to antagonize the entire state of Vermont into an elaborate flame war.)
But, because A) my spouse enjoys stewed meats of all varieties B) there was a nippy nip of a chilly autumn in the air and C) I bought some cheap chuck roast in the Marked Down Meat section of the grocery store, I spontaneously made some Yankee Pot Roast from October's Cooking Light. (Didn't have rutabagas and parsnips, sadly. Just added an extra mess of carrots and potatoes.) I was skeptical of the lack of seasoning, so I crusted the meat with ground pepper and sea salt and tripled the mustard. I'm a Westerner. I live dangerously.
We enjoyed this with crusty bread and COMPLETE SILENCE as the children were nestled snug in their beds. Even with all the mustard and pepper, I still thought it was kind of bland, but B. really loved it.
After the meat was picked out, there were still a lot of veggies and broth, so I decided to recycle it into soup. (Thrifty! Like a Yankee!) I dumped the carrots, potatoes, and juices in to a pot with some additional beef broth. I used my immersion stick blender to smooth out some of the chunks, brought to a simmer, and added some pearl barley. After about half an hour, I added some frozen corn and peas and simmered another half hour. Note: Like a little smarty-pants, I just eye-balled the dry barley rather than use a measuring cup and ended up with less a stew and more of a beefy veggie risotto.
Byron loved it, even though it was not the most attractive of soups. I didn't even bother with a picture. This is not a sexy soup, people. It is a homely, but dependable, stick-to-your-ribs-and-go-dig-a-ditch kind of soup. And it gets bonus points for being very nearly free.