I decided to be a temperature rebel this week and cook a warm, hearty winter classic in the dead of summer: pot roast. My boyfriend will be leaving soon for the summer, and nothing screams "please your man with some meat and potatoes" like a delicious pot roast with vegetables.
I love using a slow cooker. It is an inexpensive device that will let you cook up all sorts of delicious things, and it is definitely worth the investment. Things I love about slow cookers:
1) You can literally take ten minutes in the morning to cut up some ingredients, throw them in the cooker with some liquid, and leave it for 8 hours. Come home after work and your place smells amazing, plus dinner is hot and ready!
2) It is less expensive in terms of electricity to run a slow cooker all day than to use an oven for a couple hours.
- 1.5-1.75 lbs. pot roast beef. It is usually labeled as pot roast in the grocery store, and it's super inexpensive. This may sound like a lot of meat for two people, but it shrinks down quite a bit when it cooks. Plus, it makes for amazing leftovers.
- 2 stalks celery
- 2 carrots
- 2 small onions
- 4 small red potatoes
- 1 packet slow cooker beef or pot roast seasoning. You can find this in any grocery store. These lil paper packets come with all the delicious seasonings you need, so it saves you tons of money.
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1 cup red wine
- 1 cup water
- Olive oil
Directions:Peel your carrots and cut them and the celery into large chunks. They will shrink a bit as they soften in the slow cooker.
Quarter your small onions and potatoes and throw them into the slow cooker with your celery and carrots.
Now I do a lil extra step that you can skip if you'd like: browning the pot roast. I do it because searing the outside of the meat adds nice color and an extra level of flavor, plus the flour from searing helps thicken the gravy. If you don't want to though, just don't worry about it!
Cut the meat into 2-3 large pieces so it will fit inside better (that's definitely NOT what he said! Har har). Trim away any excess fat as well.
Heat a lil bit of olive oil in a large pan over medium high heat. Dredge your meat in the flour so it's covered, shake to remove the excess, and put it in the pan to sear.
Let the meat brown for a couple minutes so it develops a nice crust on the outside. Don't move it around, just let it be! Once it is nice and brown, flip it and do the same to the other side.
Also, you might want to turn on the fan above your stove cause the meat might smoke a bit. You also will probably need to do this in batches if the meat won't all fit at once (don't crowd it!)
Lay the meat on the bed of vegetables in the slow cooker so it all fits inside. It will NOT be cooked through at this point, just browned and pretty on the outside.
Don't waste all those yummy bits of flavor on the bottom of your searing pan! Take the pan off the heat and add the cup of red wine, stirring to pick up all the browned bits stuck to the pan.
Most slow cooker seasoning packets call for two cups of water. I like to use one cup of water and one cup of wine for an added layer of flavor to the gravy (and hey, why not add alcohol when you can?).
Pour the wine from the searing pan into a measuring cup, and add a cup of water. Whisk in the contents of the seasoning packet.
Pour the mixture over the meat and veggies. Don't worry about stirring, the flavors will mix together as it cooks. Just put the lid on, and turn the cooker on high for 3-4 hours or low for 6-8 hours depending on when you want dinner ready.NOTE: DO NOT remove the lid to check on the meat while it cooks. Taking the lid off lets a ton of heat and moisture escape, and can result in up to 20 minutes more necessary cooking time. Trust the slow cooker to do its job!
At the end of the cooking time, the pot roast will be moist and fall-apart-tender, the veggies soft and delicious, and the gravy rich and thick. Spoon onto a plate, garnish with fresh parsley if you'd like, and dig in!
Do YOU have any tasty slow cooker recipes?