Continuing along the comfort food road, we decided on a recent, rainy Saturday that it was time to break out the crock pot for the first pot roast of the season. I believe that in a good pot roast, the meat is falling-apart tender and the vegetables are kept pretty simple. We like to make ours nice and rich with a flavorful wine and broth sauce.
Chuck steaks / roasts generally make the best pot roast. These cuts have a good amount of connective tissue and need long, slow cooking to render them tender. They also have a nice meaty flavor that can stand up to rich sauces. We used a 7 bone chuck steak but pretty much any cut of chuck will do.
You could probably do this in the oven but I haven’t had much luck getting the level of tenderness that I like that way. The crockpot is easy, generally foolproof, and allows you to put all the ingredients together in the morning and forget about them until dinner. We always take the additional step of searing the meat over high heat before adding to the crockpot. Yes, it takes extra time and means there is another pan to wash but it adds such great flavor to the meat that it shouldn’t be skipped. Serve the whole thing with some crusty bread and a glass of the red wine.
1 1.5-2 lb chuck steak
1 red onion, sliced
2 ribs of celery, chopped
3 small potatoes, chopped
7 oz sliced baby bell mushrooms
2 medium carrots, chopped
1 bay leaf
2 tbls tomato paste
1/2 cup water with 1 tsp beef bouillon or 1/2 cup concentrated beef stock
1/2 cup good quality red wine (never cook with a wine that you wouldn’t drink)
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp thyme
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper to taste
2 tbls flour
Trim any excess fat from your roast. Heat a cast iron skillet over high heat. Rub the meat with oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Sear two minutes on all sides until browned.
Place the onions, celery, potatoes, carrots, and mushrooms in a slow cooker and sprinkle with the thyme, oregano, and salt and pepper to taste. Place the roast on top and add the bay leaf. Mix the wine, water and bouillon / broth, and tomato paste and pour over the meat. Place the lid on the slow cooker and cook on low for 7-8 hours, until the meat is fork tender.
In the last 30 minutes, remove about 1/2 cup of the liquid, place in a bowl, and add the flour. Whisk together until well incorporated. Pour back into the crockpot and stir to incorporate. Set the heat to high, remove the lid, and cook for another 25 minutes, or until the gravy has thickened.
Pull any bones out of the meat and remove the bay leaf. Place slices of meat on the plate, add the vegetables, and spoon the gravy over the top. Serves 4.