Dr. John T. Dorrance invented the first condensed soups for Campbell's in 1897. Since then, condensed soups have been used not just as soups, but also as foundations for casseroles and other main dishes. Cream of mushroom soup is a staple ingredient in many pot roast recipes, but you can easily substitute golden mushroom soup for a slightly different flavor and consistency.
Pot roast with a cream of mushroom soup gravy is an old classic, made by browning the pot roast and combining it in a large pan or slow cooker with cream of mushroom soup, dried onion soup, carrots, potatoes water and a bit of flour as thickening. The soup combines with the other ingredients as the pot roast slowly cooks to create a flavorful, thick gravy. Although the pot roast takes several hours to cook, depending on cooking method, this dish goes together in just a few minutes.
You can substitute golden mushroom soup for cream of mushroom soup. The two soups have similar ingredients, with a few variations. Cream of mushroom soup has dehydrated cream, which imparts a creamy flavor. Golden mushroom soup doesn't have any dairy in it. It does have tomato paste and a little wine, giving it a more sophisticated French flavor. You can also substitute other vegetables for the carrots and potatoes, such as turnips, green beans, peas or celery.
To use golden mushroom soup instead of cream of mushroom soup, add one can of golden mushroom soup and follow the recipe directions. To make a French-inspired pot roast, saute chopped bacon, mushrooms and onions in butter and add to the pot roast towards the end of the cooking time. Flavor the dish with a bit of thyme or herbes de Provence.
Both types of soup contain modified food starch and monosodium glutamate -- not exactly health food ingredients. If you'd like to skip the canned soup altogether, follow this method: Brown the pot roast and place it in a slow cooker. Add seasonings and some beef broth. For a French version, stir in bacon, sauteed onions, tomato paste and red wine. Cook the pot roast for five to seven hours or until tender. Drain the liquid and reserve it. Make a roux in the pan that you browned the meat in by whisking melted butter and flour together. Add the reserved liquid and whisk until it thickens to a gravy. Season with salt and pepper and pour over the pot roast. This method is economical, healthy and has a more natural flavor.
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Julie Christensen is a food writer, caterer, and mom-chef. She's the creator of MarmaladeMom.org, dedicated to family fun and delicious food, and released a book titled "More Than Pot Roast: Fast, Fresh Slow Cooker Recipes."