Folk-Tender Pot Roast in 45 Minutes



I’ll have to admit that I cook more Asian style of foods when we host parties and have family gathering.

For one, it is a rare treat for our family and friends as they don’t cook such at home or aren’t able to find authentic Asian foods if they don’t live in a major city such as New York or San Francisco.

But yesterday, I decided to cook a quintessential American meal for a change. I was very pleased with the meal so was my family.

You’ve guessed it! The star of the meal was a pot roast cooked to perfection in a pressure cooker in 45 minutes, mashed potatoes full of flavors with creamy texture, and a lettuce, Asian apple-pear salad drizzled with refreshing vinaigrette topped with candied pecans and crumbled blue cheese. For dessert, I baked an apple-crisp with vanilla cream.

I thought it might be helpful to share my meal preparation, shopping list and cooking/serving step-by-step.

Shopping List

For a Saturday dinner, I decided to go to the store on Thursday. Here was a list of things I needed to buy:

  1. Main Course – Pot roast (5lbs) for 5 people with leftovers. I had sweet yellow onions, new potatoes, carrots and baby Portabella mushrooms in the fridge.
  2. Salad: Lettuce hearts, and pears. I had avocados, raw pecans, other ingredients for the salad and dressing at home.
  3. Potatoes: 5 pounds of Yukon potatoes.
  4. Dessert: Apples and vanilla ice cream.

Meal Preparation

I searched on and found the recipes for the pot roast, the salad and the dessert. I added a bit of my own twist to the recipes as I can’t follow a recipe to a “T” to save my life and I love using my creativity when it comes to cooking.

The Day Before Dinner:

I got the side work out of the way so I could free myself on the day to play cards with my family. This was what I did:

  • Made the salad dressing to keep it in the fridge for the flavor to develop overnight
  • Baked the candied pecans and store them in the mason jar for dinner and later use to save me baking time and energy cost
  • Baked the Apple Crisp

On the Day:

  • Pot Roast: Took out the pot roast to leave it in the room temperature for an hour before searing
  • Vegetables to Cook with the Pot Roast: Cleaned and cut up onions, carrots, new potatoes and mushrooms
  • Mashed Potatoes: Peeled the potatoes and quartered them. Soaked them in cold water covering all the potatoes to prevent discoloration
  • Salad: Tore the lettuce hearts into bite-size pieces and store them in a Ziploc bag in the fridge
  • Pot Roast with Vegetables:
    • Seared pot roast in the pressure cooker on both sides
    • Mixed a bag of Italian and ranch dressing seasoning mix with some brown gravy dry mix to the seared meat
    • Added a can of 14 oz of beef stock to the roast and two cubes of beef bouillon (beef bouillon wasn’t in the original recipe)
    • Placed the lid onto the cooking pot and turned the burner on “high”
    • When the pressure indicator was shown and the jiggler started rocking, I turned the heat down to “3” on my electric stove and set the timer for 45 minutes
    • As soon as the time was up, I removed the pot from the burner and used a long wooden spoon and a kitchen mitt to pop the vent pipe to release the pressure quickly.
    • Opened the lid and got a sniff of the freshly cooked pot roast
    • Took the roast out and put the cutup vegetables into the pressure cooker
    • Followed the same process to cook the veggies for 5 minutes under pressure
  • Mashed Potatoes:
    • I ladled out the pot roast and the vegetables into a large pot to keep warm until serving.
    • Cleaned the pressure cooker thoroughly. Wish I had a pressure cooker set.
    • Placed a deep steamer into the pressure cooker pot and added the quartered potatoes
    • Added one cup of cold water
    • Closed the lid and started cooking under pressure for 6 minutes
    • Mashed the potatoes with a hand masher and added heated soy milk (improvised due to lactose-intolerance) with melted butter. Sprinkled salt and peppers to taste.
  • Salad:
    • Washed two Japanese apple pears and sliced them thinly (about 1/8 of an inch)
    • Sliced one large avocado
    • Sliced red onion very thin (didn’t have green onions per the recipe and used a bit red onion instead)
    • Added crumbled blue cheese and candied pecans
    • Drizzled with dressing and tossed the salad gently to make sure even coating of the dressing


The photo attached above is the complete meal without the dessert as a visual image. My daughter, as a very picky eater, finished gobbling up her meal before everyone else. My husband’s uncle told his partner that no need to cook supper tonight (we ate around 2:30 p.m.). God knows how many servings each had as I had lost count! All in all, it was a crowd-pleasing meal on a perfect winter day!

What did I learn? The total prep and cooking time was no more than two hours (45 minutes for the roast, 5 minutes for the vegetables, 6 minutes for the potatoes + 60 minutes in prep time), excluding two hours baking time for the pecans and apple crisp.

If cooking in a traditional method, the pot roast alone could easily take up 3 to 4 hours and the mashed potatoes another hour or so. So I had saved 5 hours in cooking time using a pressure cooker and a few pretty pennies in energy bill. Not to mention the satisfaction everyone had from a delicious dinner. Was it measured by the silence at the table or the lost count of helpings everyone had?


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