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Ellen’s Kitchen & Garden

Debuting in church cookbook, Mississippi roast goes viral

Posted Thursday,
September 15, 2016
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Photo/Ellen Emerson
After 6 to 8 hours in a slow cooker, Mississippi roast emerges tender and tangy.
By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Sometimes I come a little late to the party. Apparently, this recipe for Mississippi roast has been around for a while.

It went viral last January when Sam Sifton of the New York Times wrote an article, “The Improbable Rise of Mississippi Roast,” and then Good Morning America did a segment with the originator of the recipe. That story referred to it as “the roast that owns the Internet."

Robin Chapman, of Ripley, Mississippi, created this recipe. She adapted it from a one given to her family in the early 1990s. Her best friend Karen Farese went on to publish the recipe in her church’s cookbook and from there it took off.

Only recently, while having my hair cut, did I hear about it. Knowing how much I like to cook and find new recipes my hairdresser blurted out, “Oh, my gosh, have you tried Mississippi Roast?”

I said no and asked what it was and about the ingredients. She rattled off chuck roast, butter, pepperoncini, dry ranch dressing and a packet of dry au jus mix.

Stop right there, I thought. Prepackaged products like ranch dressing and dry au jus mix send up a red flag for me. For those of us who can’t tolerate gluten, those products sometimes contain hidden dangers. (I’m also a purist and try to make everything we eat with fresh ingredients.)

As it turns out Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing mix is gluten-free, but I couldn’t find an au jus mix that meets that requirement.

With a chill in the air and a hint of fall, I really wanted to try this recipe. I came across The New York Times article. In it Mr. Sifton wrote how he tried the original recipe that “yielded a tangle of soft and luscious beef, richly flavored with butter and salt with a low vinegar zip from the pickled peppers.” Aside from “a faint chemical bite, yes, from the packaged dressing and gravy, the dish was objectively good, even delicious.”

I assume that because of that chemical bite, he decided to create his own recipe.

The original recipe from Ms. Chapman and Mr. Sifton’s recipe, which works for those who are gluten intolerant, follow.

I made the latter one with great results. Next time, I’ll use more peppers (maybe four per serving). This dish would go well served with mashed or whipped potatoes, Parmesan risotto or cheese grits.

Robin Chapman’s original Mississippi Roast
6-8 servings

3 to 4-pound roast, your choice of cut
1 stick of butter
1 package au jus gravy mix
1 package Hidden Valley Ranch dressing mix (dry)
Pepperoncini peppers, number to your liking and a little juice

Some times we use chuck, sometimes sirloin tip, sometimes rump.
Sometimes we sear it. Sometimes we don’t.
Put roast in slow cooker. Add other ingredients. Salt and pepper if you like and cook until tender.

Adaptation of Sam Sifton’s Mississippi Roast
6-8 servings

3 to 4 pounds boneless chuck
2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
1½ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
1/8 to ¼ cup gluten-free flour
3 tablespoons canola oil
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
8 to 12 pepperoncini
2 tablespoons mayonnaise (gluten-free)
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
½ teaspoon dried dill
¼ teaspoon sweet paprika

Place roast in a large bowl and rub the salt and pepper all over it. Sprinkle the flour all over the seasoned meat and massage it into the flesh.

Heat the oil in a large sauté pan set over high heat until it is about to smoke. Place the roast in the pan and brown on all sides, 4 to 5 minutes a side, to create a crust. Remove roast from pan and place it in the bowl of a slow cooker.* Add the butter and the pepperoncini to the meat. Put the lid on the slow cooker.

As the roast heats, make a ranch dressing. Combine mayonnaise, vinegar, dill, and paprika in a small bowl and whisk until fully blended. Remove the lid from the slow cooker and add the dressing. Replace the lid and allow to continue cooking, undisturbed, for 6 to 8 hours, or until you can shred the meat easily using 2 forks. Mix the meat with the gravy surrounding it.

* Should you not have a slow cooker you can create this dish in a Dutch oven. Simply brown the meat until crusty on all four sides, add the butter, pepperoncini and mayonnaise mixture and place in an oven pre-heated to 325°F. Braise for 3 to 4 hours.

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