Monday, January 30, 2017

Ranch House Pot Roast

A nasty cold virus has been visiting our house off and on for the past month. I'll spare you the details, but one of the symptoms is bone-dragging weariness. So even though I've been able to get some writing done, that's about all that I've gotten done since Christmas.

Walking the dogs? Not in the wind and cold. Cleaning the house? No way - nothing other than laundry and dishes. Cooking? I'm not sure I even remember where my pots and pans are...

Well, maybe it isn't quite that bad, but I haven't tried any new recipes in quite a while.

The hardest thing this weekend is that we both feel like we really need to rest up for the week ahead, so we're missing the first few days of the Black Hills Stock Show and Rodeo! One of my favorite events of the year!!!

So I went back into the Yankee Belle Cafe archives, and found this fabulous recipe from a couple years ago. I had forgotten all about it!!! I'm getting a roast out of the freezer right now so we can have this during the coming week. :)

And we can all enjoy a virtual visit to the Stock Show!

Ranch House Pot Roast

The Black Hills Stock Show ended yesterday, so we don't have as many cowboys in town as we did last week. Which is sad.

Because face it, how often do you get to have a photo op with a bunch of rodeo cowboys?

My daughter, Carrie, with the Wrangler Rodeo Cowboys
a couple years ago. These guys are all brothers from Utah.
A friend of ours had his picture taken with the rodeo queens this year. Much to his wife's dismay!

But all week long we've been livin' cowboy culture and sheep ranchin' and horses.

On Thursday I went to the sheep activities over at the Central State Fairgrounds.

There was the National Sheep Shearing contest -

- where I learned tons about shearing sheep. Once those woolies are on their backs, they relax and let the shearer do his work. The top guys can shear a sheep in about a minute. That's a lot of wool in one minute!

I also got to watch the preliminaries of the North American Sheep Dog Trials. It's thrilling to watch those dogs work.

I also learned to weave on a rigid heddle loom, card wool and spin. The Black Hills Crafters spent the entire day demonstrating the "sheep to yarn" process.

On Saturday we had made plans to head over to the stock show again to watch the afternoon PRCA rodeo, but our youngest son was coming home for the weekend. I wanted to fix a special dinner for him, so I decided to use my trusty slow cooker and a classic western dish.

This recipe is from a Montana ranch in the 1890's, where the lady of the house fixed it for family and guests. This is no Yankee Pot Roast!

Ranch House Pot Roast
(Slow-Cooker version)


A medium-sized lump of lard
3-4 pound beef roast (chuck, round, or whatever you have)
2 handfuls of flour
salt and pepper to taste
2 cups beef broth or water
1 medium onion, sliced
1-2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 bay leaf
1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
6-8 potatoes - enough for all being served

I cook with lard occasionally - often enough to keep a
small container in the cupboard.

Heat the lard - a lump about the size of a small hen's egg - in a skillet over medium-high heat.

Season the flour with salt and pepper, and spread out on a plate. Dredge the beef in the flour. Brown the roast in the hot fat. Move the browned beef to your slow cooker.

Now add your broth (or water), onion, garlic, bay leaf and chili powder. Simmer until the onion is softened. 

Pour this over the roast.

Scrub or peel your potatoes, cut them in half, and arrange them on top of the roast.

Cover your slow cooker, turn it on low, and let it cook for 6 - 8 hours.

Now it's time to go to the stock show and rodeo!

If you're looking for a western stock show, here's a hint: Follow the nearest cowboy.

Before the rodeo, we wandered over to the show ring where they were judging the Simmental bulls.

This big guy can father a lot of calves by UPS!

I also fulfilled a long-time dream (close to 50 years!) by buying my first (and probably only) pair of cowboy boots.

Puppy photo-bomb!
Okay, here's a better view - 

I love these boots :)

The rodeo was great, we got to hear our friend's five year old grandson sing the National Anthem, and we got home in time for supper with the family...

...except the prodigal son had decided to go to a friend's house with his brother for a bonfire and supper there.

No worries. We have plenty of leftover beef, so I'm fixing barbecued beef sandwiches for supper tonight!

- - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Reading this post again makes me want to head off for the Stock Show right now! But I'll wait until later in the week. I have a deadline looming on Wednesday, so maybe I'll celebrate by visiting the Stock Dog Trials on Thursday.

We'll have to take in the rodeo, too. There's a different show every night, so we can take our pick. :)

Of course, I'll have to wear my boots....

Have you ever been to a stock show or rodeo? Tell us about it!

Jan Drexler loves her family, her home, cooking and just about anything made by hand. But she loves her Lord most of all.

Stop by Jan's website to learn more about her books:


  1. I've got an 11 year old and 6 year old here today, coughing due to a similar (or the same) virus... it's been going around upstate, and managed to invite a few friends.... so these gals are relaxing with Ruthy right now.... Jan, this is pretty close to exactly how I make potroast so are you sure it's not Yankee??? Because we know I'm a tried-and-true Yank of the highest, ego-maniac sort.... only I use Cajun instead of chili powder to give it heat, but more of a LA heat and not TX heat.

    I love that you got to go to a sheep shearing!!! Oh be still my animal loving heart!!!! What a great adventure that show must have been, Jan!!!!

    (fighting back envy monsters, fighting... fighting.... fighting..... LOSING BATTLE!!!! AAAAARRRRRGGGGHHHHH! :))

    Thank you so much for sharing all this today, and get better soon.... and I love the boots. With a capital "L".

    1. So you've been making western (or LA) pot roast and you didn't know it? To me, a true Yankee Pot Roast has a lot more vegetables (add carrots, at least, and maybe celery), with a more tomatoey sauce. Or maybe that's just a variation.

      But remember that the West was settled by folks from Back East, so there's Yankee blood in there somewhere!

      One of these years, you're going to have to travel out here at the end of January. We'll go to the rodeo, catch all of the sheep ranching stuff, the stallion sale, the bull sale, and do the week up right. We'll even make sure you go home with your own pair of cowboy boots. :)

      It's definitely the perfect research opportunity!

  2. Ah -- sorry you have been battling a lingering virus. That's no fun! One of the few benefits to my hermit lifestyle is that I escape germs...touch wood. I've jinxed myself now, haven't I? Get better soon!

    1. My husband is threatening to ban me from nursery duty at church! Those munchkins are germ magnets, and they love to share. Cute munchkins, but deadly. :) I love them to pieces, but I do think I need to be more diligent with the hand sanitizer on Sunday mornings!

      Isolation is the best defense, although I know you'd much rather be mobile, germs or not.

  3. So much fun! I miss participating in the Sheep to Shawl contests. Those were the days. Now I shear my own sheep - taking considerably more time than the experts - and spin my wool just for me. Still fun. Still enjoy it. Love my sheep.

    1. Pegg, that's amazing that you do that! I wish I could see some of your wool. Have you posted any photos on Facebook or online?

    2. I have, but not recently. My twitter header has a couple of my sheep on it. I'm working up an inventory of handspun, handknit wool shawls and plan to open an Etsy store next fall. These will be high-end, high-dollar, one-of-a-kind shawls. :)

    3. How exciting to open an Easy store, Pegg! I'll go check your Twitter header now. Thanks for the link!

    4. I sent some photos to your FB via PM.

    5. Your etsy store sounds wonderful! Be sure to let us know when it's up and running!

      I'd love to learn more about spinning - and of course, have my own sheep...or alpacas. But, alas, there are only 24 hours in the day. Right now counted cross stitch is taking up my crafting time, and I have knitting and quilting projects waiting. So I would be crazy to consider sheep-to-shawl type projects, right?


      I sure love seeing someone else's artistry, though!

  4. Jan, I'm so sorry you've been sick for this long! I now a woman at church who had what sounds like the same thing. She had no fever or anything like that. She was just so tired she could hardly move for a month. She lost several pounds (and she's a tiny thing) because she had no appetite and no energy to eat. She said her neighbors had a similar illness. It made me wonder if it was something mosquito-born or tick-born. Of course, it is warmer here than it is there. I would assume you'd had a hard freeze to kill those pests before Christmas.

    1. You're right - no pest related illnesses around here!

      But I think everyone in town has had this virus at least once. It's a lot like what Ruthy described - lethargy, coughing, more coughing, sore throat, congestion, some degree of tummy upset...but no fever, and it's gone (except the lingering cough) in three to five days. But it wipes you out!

      So what do we do? Half the state gathers in one place for a week, spreading those germs around. That's the West for you - we stick with our neighbors through thick and thin. :D

  5. I'm sorry you're still sick, Jan. This has been a tough year. I don't usually catch germs from the school kids, but this year it's been constant.

    I do remember you sharing this recipe though. Looks just as delicious this time.

    1. I'm feeling better, Cate. Thanks!

      But I keep remembering that the week is still young... :)

  6. Well, whatever form of the creeping crud you have, Jan, this pot roast ought to cure it. Just add a little extra heat (garlic, maybe some red pepper flakes) and you're home free.
    It stinks to be sick, but especially when it lingers. Sorry you've had to deal with that. No fun at all.