Thursday, December 15, 2011

Slow Cooker Pot Roast

This is a hearty, warming, winter meal. It just doesn't get any better than that... actually, it does- because you don't even have to cook it! Just dump it all in the crock pot and it cooks itself!  You can be at work all day, or be out Christmas shopping all day, and walk into an inviting & delicious smelling house at the end of the day. All you have to do is turn it on and walk out the door :)

This is a one pot meal, unless you decide to make the extra gravy... which is SO worth it. Just one extra pan and 5 extra minutes for that extra special homemade taste.

This roast tastes just like the pot roast Nana used to make in her pressure cooker. I used to LOVE it when she made her pot roast with tender roast veggies :) So comforting and warming. 

Recipe (serves 4-5): 
3-4 whole Carrots, chopped (or about 2 cups baby carrots)
1 medium white, yellow, or brown Onion, chopped
2-3 cups Baby Potatoes, or chopped Russet Potatoes
2-3 stalks Celery, chopped
3 lbs Beef (any "chuck" or "round" cut)
1 envelope of Dry Onion Soup mix
1 cup Boiling Water
1 cup Red Wine

*optional for Gravy: 1 Tbsp Butter, 1 Tbsp flour

Place all chopped veggies in bottom of slow cooker. 

Lay meat on top of veggies. 
Mix dry soup mix into 1 cup boiling water, pour over meat along with 1 cup red wine. 

*Just like with Beef Bourguignon, tougher (less fatty) cuts of meat are cheaper, healthier, and PERFECT for long, slow cooking. As the meat cooks for hours in the liquid, the tough collagen is converted to a gelatin and the meat becomes tender and soft. 
Don't waste your money on expensive fatty cuts of beef; opt for 'chuck roasts' or 'round roasts'. If you have any questions, ask the butcher in the supermarket- they are super friendly. 

Fit lid on top, and turn on low for 8 hrs (or high for 4 hours)

When you are ready to eat, whip up a quick gravy to go with it and everyone will think that you spent all day in the kitchen making this roast. 

Start the gravy by making a roux: Using equal parts butter and flour, melt one Tablespoon or so of butter in a pan, add 1 Tablespoon or so of flour; Cook for no more than a minute, whisking constantly: 

Add liquid from the crock pot (about 2-3 cups). Let simmer, whisking frequently: 
(no need to season it, all of the juices from the pot are seasoned and flavorful already)

When the gravy has thickened to your liking (don't forget, it will thicken even more after it has been removed from the heat, so it's probably done after about 5 minutes- don't sit forever waiting for it to thicken)

Plate the roast and veggies...
(look at that TENDER meat falling apart!)

 and pour gravy over the top...
VOILA!!! It's almost like a shortcut for beef bourguignon!

OPTIONAL: If you want to get a little extra special, just invest a couple minutes on the meat before it goes in the crock pot:
  • Sear the outside of the meat on all sides until dark brown.
  • Then continue all other steps exactly the same, and use that searing pan again later when you make the gravy to get all the extra yummy browned bits into your gravy :)

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