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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Slow Cooker Pot Roast

Chuck roast was on sale at the market last week. I don't make pot roast often, but it is the perfect dish for cold winter nights. Chuck roast needs to be cooked a long, long time because it is run through with connective tissue. That's what makes it a great pot roast. The collagen dissolves with long moist cooking, adding to the richness of the gravy. There is some fat in chuck roast, which doesn't hurt either!

This recipe is adapted from a slow cooker recipe. Still uses a slow cooker but you can cook in in the oven if you don't have a slow cooker. A slow cooker is essentially a very low oven, that maintains a temperature between 200 degrees (low) and 300 degrees (high).

Best side dish for pot roast: mashed potatoes. I don't know why you would serve it with anything else. This recipe doesn't have carrots cooked with the meat so you'll want to serve a green vegetable along with the roast. A red wine is the best accompanying beverage. I had a glass of 2007 Santa Carolina Carmenere Reserva Estrella de Oro from Chile and it was perfect. I'm sure a robust malbec from Argentina would work just as well.

Easy Slow-Cooker Pot Roast
(serves 6 - 8)

2 tablespoons oil
2 medium onions, sliced
2 large cloves garlic, minced
a 3 - 4 pound chuck roast
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
all purpose flour
15 to 16 ounces stewed tomatoes
1 cup water
1 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 bay leaves

1. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and saute until soft and just golden. Add garlic and saute for another minute. Remove onions and garlic and dump into the slow cooker.
2. Return skillet to stove, add remaining 1 tablespoon of oil and increase heat to medium-high.
3. Season chuck roast generously with salt and pepper. Sprinkle top and bottom lightly with flour.
4. Brown roast in skillet. Don't be shy; browning will improve the flavor of the pot roast. Remove roast from skillet and add to onions.
5. Add tomatoes and water to skillet, scrapping browned bits off bottom of the skillet. Once you have loosened all the bits, dump everything in the slow cooker. Add Worcestershire sauce and bay leaves.
6. Cover and cook on low for 5 - 6 hours.
7. Remove roast, set aside on a plate and cover with foil to keep warm. Remove bay leaves and discard.
8. Take everything left in the slow cooker and puree to make the gravy.
9. Slice the roast and smother with gravy.
10. Serve with a robust red wine!

If cooking in the oven, cook everything in a ovenproof covered casserole or dutch oven at 300 degrees for 2 1/2 to 3 hours.

 Link to PDF of Slow Cooker Pot Roast recipe