Alternate title to this post “Channeling June Cleaver.” Because every time I think of pot roast, I think of the Cleaver family meals and I’m pretty sure they were always eating pot roast or meat loaf. And gosh darn it, June pulled it off every single time in her nicely pressed dress, high heels and pearls. I am nowhere near being a 50’s fashionista, but what I lack in couture, I more than make up with kitchen gadgetry.
When it comes to pot roast, I’ll take my slow cooker over cultured pearls any day!
Slow cookers and pot roast = a match made in heaven. That said, I am a recent convert to slow cookery. Prior to my going back to work in the fall of 2010, the only slow cooker I owned was a relic Crock Pot from the 1980’s (pretty sure that’s the Paleolithic era, correct?). In my mind all it was suitable for was serving hot apple cider at a party. I also admit to being somewhat of a food snob. Crock Pots were the realm of the “I’m Too Lazy to Really Cook” crowd. You know, throw in a cheap piece of meat, a couple cans of cream of anything soup and cook it till it’s mush.
OK, so I was really wrong. I quickly realized after starting work, that I just couldn’t pull off getting dinner on the table with lightening speed. Not even Rachael’s 30-minute-meals could save me. I thought about trying the Crock Pot again, but the vintage model definitely had to go. After doing some thorough research I settled on this mighty fine Hamilton Beach programmable 6-quart model, for a mere $40. Collected a batch of new recipes. We’ve been living happily ever after.
As for this pot roast, I will say there is a fair amount of front end time, but it is way worth it. And when it’s done, it’s done. No last minute gravy making, etc. You want a bit of over the top? Serve these with a side of mashed potatoes made with a little creme fraiche and garnished with chives.
Oh Ward, Wally and the Beave would be so proud. And I doubt they’d even notice I traded in the dress and pearls for sweat pants and sneakers.
Slow Cooker Pot Roast with Garlic Thyme Gravy
3 TBS vegetable oil
1 3-4 lb chuck roast
Kosher salt and coarsely ground black pepper
1/4 cup all purpose flour
2 TBS tomato paste (see Note>)
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 1/2 cups low-sodium beef broth
1 TBS Worcestershire sauce
2 cups sliced onions
6 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 3-inch pieces
3 large celery ribs, cut into 3-inch pieces
6 cloves garlic, chopped
3-4 sprigs fresh thyme
2 dried bay leaves
Chopped parsley (optional)
Remove roast from fridge about 30 minutes prior to cooking. Pat dry and season with Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Heat oil in a large saute pan and brown roast on all sides, about 10 minutes. Transfer roast with a slotted spoon to a 4-6 qt. slow cooker.
Stir flour into saucepan and cook for about 1 minute. Add tomato paste and cook for about 1 additional minute.
Deglaze saute pan with wine, cooking until liquid evaporates. Stir in broth and Worcestershire sauce; bring mixture to a simmer, scraping up any browned bits.
Transfer broth mixture to the slow cooker. Add the onions, carrots, celery, garlic, thyme and bay leaves. Cover and cook on high setting for 4-5 hours or on low setting for 8-9 hours.
Remove roast from cooker and cut into serving pieces. Spoon any fat from the gravy in the slow cooker. Serve roast with vegetables and some spoonfuls of gravy and fresh chopped parsley for garnish.
Note> Recipes that call for just a tablespoon or two of tomato paste can pose a challenge if all you have available is a small can. The leftovers frequently end up getting discarded or buried in the back of the fridge. My solution is to purchase tomato paste in a tube. And most recently, I’ve discovered a fabulous tomato powder at the Savory Spice shop near my house. It can be reconstituted to create paste, sauce or juice. A must have and available online!