The slow cooker and I have always had a love/hate relationship. I love the idea of coming home from work and having dinner hot and ready. I hate the idea that it doesn’t brown anything. Now, I’m seeing all these recipes for desserts out of the slow cooker. Hmmmm….I haven’t met many desserts that I don’t like. I’m thinking I’m going to investigate this notion quite soon…
In the meantime, if you’re like me and you like your roast browned and your gravy to to have some color and that rich flavor that comes with caramelizing those sugars, and still want the convenience of a slow cooker meal, you’re at the right place. Give yourself 10-15 extra minutes in the morning or the night before, and you’re there.
You can start with a fully frozen roast (although it isn’t quite as easy that way), partially frozen or thawed. I’ve worked with all three. It is so easy, so quick, and you can have roast for dinner in the middle of the week, even if you work full time. Seasonings can vary widely, depending on your taste. I usually keep the seasonings fairly simple and use a healthy amount of red wine. Celery is such a flavorful additive, even if you don’t like to eat it cooked. Jut cut it in bigger chunks and take it out before serving. It still adds a great flavor to the dish. Same with onions.
AND, BONUS, if you cook extra, the leftovers are so versatile, you can have a second amazing weeknight meal, depending on your preferences. Or you could use it in sandwiches to take to work/school. Leftover roast beef is the bomb. If you make plenty of mashed potatoes and carrots, I will share a great recipe for leftover pot roast next time.
- 3-4 pound beef roast, I typically use a chuck roast or an arm roast. Sirloin tip is delicious, but keep it on the thickness oif 2-3 inches so it stays in the juices. (This depends on the style of your slow cooker. Mine is large and rectangular. In the smaller diameter round ones, you may want a different type of roast, so it will fit.)
- 1-2 Tablespoons butter
- 1 -2 cups red wine, Charles Shaw works quite well and is very affordable. (3 buck Chuck)
- 1 small-medium onion, cut however you like.
- 1 stalk of celery, cut how you like.
- 6-8 carrots, peeled and cut into large sticks - use enough to have 2-3 carrots leftover.
- Salt, pepper, Natures Seasons, whatever you like.
- In a large skillet, melt the butter and get the pan hot. Season the roast with salt and pepper or Natures Seasons. Keep it simple and basic.
- Brown on all sides about 5-10 minutes per side. While the roast is browning, prepare the vegetables. Put the carrots in the bottom of the slow cooker. After browning, remove the roast from the skillet and put into the slow cooker, on top of the carrots. Spread the onions and celery over and around the roast. Leave the fire on under the skillet and carefully poor about ½ cup of the wine into the skillet and stir around to de-glaze the pan. Pour that wine with all the browned bits into the slow cooker over the roast. Add the rest of the wine to the slow cooker, along with about 1 cup of water or beef stock. Cover and cook 6-8 hours on medium to medium-high setting.
- Prepare potatoes as you normally would for mashed potatoes.
- Remove the roast to a platter. Strain out the vegetables to a serving bowl. I use a slurry of ½ cornstarch and ½ flour, mixed with cold water until smooth. Taste the meat juices and season according to taste. You may want to add some beef soup base or boullion, but I typically dont need to. Pour the juices into a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Whisk in the flour mixture slowly, whisking quickly, until gravy reaches your desired thickness.
- Keep your leftover meat, carrots and potatoes and I will share one of my favorite recipes for leftover beef roast.
- ****If you like, you could brown the roast and get all the prep done the night before and put it in the slow cooker, then put the slow cooker pot in the fridge. In the morning set it up, plug it in, and go.