Last night we finished the last of this meal. I won't say it was the best roast I've ever eaten because I would probably offend some family members, so lets just say it was at the top of the list. This roast was juicy and flavorful, and the vegetables turned out just right. The trick to make this meal during the week was the use the the slow cooker. Seriously, I made it on Thursday.
I don't use the slow cooker that often, but the recipe sounded so good when I was planning my menu last week that I thought I would give it a try. Mind you this would have been an expensive error if it hadn't worked. Ha! Thankfully I didn't even have to go there.
So a couple things to keep in mind if you want to do this, and for me next time I get the urge, it does take a bit of preparation ahead of time. The slow cooker does it's magic though and by the end of the day you basically have a complete meal as soon as you walk in the door. Wow, now that is worth the extra morning effort in my book. Alternatively if either a) you can't fit it into your schedule to prep in the morning, or b) you don't have a slow cooker, I recommend this recipe using the normal heavy pot or Dutch oven to cook the roast, and just be sure to be there for the better part of an afternoon in order to give it time to slowly cook through.
beef pot roast
adapted from The Art of Simple Food
3 lbs grass-fed beef chuck roast
2 T olive oil
1 T butter
1 T flour
1 onion, peeled and cut into large pieces
1 leek, trimmed, washed and cut into 1-inch pieces
4 carrots, peeling and cut into 1-inch pieces
5 celery stalks, washed and cut into 1-inch pieces
3 garlic cloves, halved
4 thyme sprigs
1 parsley sprig
1 bay leaf
1 cup red wine
water or broth
4 medium yellow potatoes, peeled and cubed
(below are the slow-cooker instructions, please make the necessary adjustments if you are using a pot or dutch oven)
The night before you want to cook the roast, season with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate until an hour before cooking. Also chop up the onion, leek, 1 carrot, 2 celery stalks, and the garlic, cover and refrigerate until the meat is ready to cook.
In the morning heat the olive oil in a heavy pan (not the slow cooker). Carefully place the roast in the pot, making sure the oil is evenly spread. Brown the roast for 3-4 minutes on each side. Add the butter to the pan and while you turn the roast sprinkle the flour on all sides, continue to brown for another couple minutes on each side.
Turn the slow cooker on low and add half of the chopped vegetables. Place the browned meat in the slow cooker and top with the remaining vegetables, thyme, parsley, and bay. Pour in the wine and then enough water or broth to almost cover the meat, let a little show at the top. Cover, and let cook on low for 7-8 hours. (If you are not using a slow cooker you can follow the same steps up to this point, then bring the liquid to a simmer, cover and adjust the heat on low until the meat is tender).
Once the meat is done, in a separate pot of salted boiling water add the remaining 3 chopped carrots, celery, and the potatoes until tender (AC note: this took about 25-30 minutes). While the vegetables are cooking, take the meat out of the pot and keep it warm while you strain the cooking liquid, pressing down on the vegetables through the strainer to get all of the juices. Discard the cooking vegetables. Allow the liquid to settle and skim well.
Return the liquid to a pan (AC note: I used the same pan that I browned the meat in that morning) and bring to a simmer. Slice the roast (AC note: when using the slow cooker method the meat really just fell apart, so be careful not to slice the pieces to thin) and put it in the pan with the juices, add the separately cooked vegetables, bring to a simmer and serve hot.
stats: this made enough for 4 large servings, and took 40 minutes of actual prep time and 8 hours of cook time (slow cooker version)
It was so flavorful and not dry at all. I served this with a little bread on the side, a nice salad or some mashed potatoes would also be nice.