Indian Pot Roast with Dumplings

It is only recently, in my first few years “out of the nest,” so to speak, that I have truly come to appreciate the term “comfort food.”  For me, comfort foods are the dishes that my father would prepare when I was young, thus recreating the warm, cozy feelings of my childhood.  One of those dishes is an Indian pot roast, slowly simmered for hours until the meat became so tender that one wouldn’t even need a knife; the roast would just fall apart with the slightest pull of the tines of a fork.  Served with thick-cut carrots and hearty dumplings, this incredibly easy one-pot meal is perfect for a crisply cool autumn evening.

The recipe that follows is adapted from a copy of a copy of a recipe from a small paperback book with recipes from colonial New England, complete with a short history of the dish.

The original Indian recipe went like this: “A hunk of venison or moose meat.  Scorch it all over in some grease until it is brown.  Put it in a kettle with some water and salt.  Dig up some horseradish, and some wild carrot.  Put a little of each in the kettle, and boil a long time until the meat is cooked.  Then stir in some corn meal to make gravy.”  The version below is more practical for the twentieth century.

I highly recommend using a fatty chuck roast, which will help make plenty of gravy.  Also, having never actually purchased a container of whole allspice, I have found that ground allspice works just dandy.  Although delicious beyond belief when freshly made, this pot roast is even better the second day.  Enjoy!

Indian Pot Roast

  • 3-4 pound pot roast
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 4 T. butter
  • salt
  • flour
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 12 whole peppercorns
  • 12 whole allspice
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 T. grated horseradish
  • 1/2 c. dry red wine
  • 1/2 c. water
  • small whole carrots, or larger carrots quartered
  • 1 recipe dumplings, below
Mash the garlic and sauté in the butter.  Rub the meat with salt and flour and brown it well on all sides in the butter.  Lay the meat on a bed of thin-sliced onion in a large pot with a tight-fitting lid. Add the butter, the spices and seasonings and pour the wine over the meat.  (A good pot roast will supply most of its own juices, but as it cooks pour the 1/2 cup of water over it to make an ample supply of gravy.)  Cover lightly and simmer for 3 or 4 hours until the roast is tender.  Add the carrots to the pot for the last half hour of cooking.  Add the dumplings to steam in the flavors of the pot during the last 12 minutes of cooking.  When the roast is done, remove it to a hot, round platter and surround with the dumplings and carrots.  Stir the gravy until smooth, correcting the seasoning if necessary; pour it over the roast.


  • 2 c. flour
  • 4 t. baking powder
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 1 scant c. milk
Sift together the dry ingredients and add the milk gradually.  Drop by the spoonful into the gravy and cook with pot roast during the last 12 minutes of cooking.

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. chadhend
    Oct 09, 2008 @ 10:03:18

    Thanks for the recipe! And I like your writing style, too. And speaking of pot roast, have you read this poem?

    It’s one of my favorites right now.


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