Powdered Soup Mix Is The Unexpected Ingredient To Elevate Pot Roast

Pot roast is a comforting dinner favorite, but like a lot of old-school recipes it can be a little basic. Some carrots, onions, and beef stock will make a dish that's plenty tasty, yet you can't help but wish the meat itself was something a little more special. In a classic pot roast most of the flavor is coming from the broth or gravy, with the beef acting more as a savory palate, not a star itself. It does not need to be this way. A flavorful cut of chuck or round roast can blow you away even without being covered in gravy, all you need is a rub overflowing with enough flavor to stand up to the meaty centerpiece. And few ingredients are as packed with flavor as instant powdered soup mix.

Long relegated to the back of the pantry as a last minute convenience option, soup mix has been making a comeback as people recognize its potential as seasoning. The best part is how easy they are. It's as simple as rubbing on the outside of your pot roast like any other seasoning. You don't even need to alter most pot roast recipes much to compensate, as it will also pull double duty and add tons of depth to your existing cooking liquid. The only small thing to worry about is maintaining a light touch, as soup mixes can be packed with tons of sodium, so you'll want to cut back or eliminate other sources of extra salt.

Soup mix is full of spices and umami boosters

Powdered soup mix is such a great booster for pot roast because it's a concentrated dose of umami flavor. Soup mixes, and their close cousin bouillon powder, are essentially a mix of herbs and seasonings, paired with flavor enhancers like MSG and dehydrated ingredients like soy sauce or chicken stock. At its core, it's essentially a spice mix. Dehydrated ingredients in particular have an extremely strong taste, and the kinds you find in soup mixes will add an extra depth of flavor to your dishes, even in small doses. Despite its lowly reputation as industrial food, soup mix is actually a common ingredient in traditional dishes from Eastern Europe and Latin America. 

The best part is there are so many different types of soup mixes that you can use. A beef soup mix will give your pot roast an exponential boost in meaty flavor, while onion or mushroom soup mix are another two natural pairings that will add extra savory depth. But you can mix it up with less expected choices too. Tomato soup mix will add some extra acidity and balance to a meat-heavy gravy, or you can add a little heat with a gumbo base or tortilla soup mix. There's a flavor of soup mix for every taste, and every kind of pot roast recipe.