Probably not the best post photo of food I’ve ever taken, but it’s hard to take a nice fancy plated photo when you have a monster demanding dinner and daddy monster away for the evening.
Anyhoo… I don’t know why, but I really don’t like using my crock-pot. I know it is convenient cause you just throw things in the pot, set it, and then forget it. I also know that it is much safer than say braising something in the oven, which is my preferred method of cooking. But today I forced myself to find a decent recipe for the crock-pot. With Baby #2 on the way, I doubt I’ll have time to really slave over a stove and oven. Although this recipe probably isn’t the easiest of crock-pot recipes. I adapted a Food Network recipe, and it was pretty tasty.
3-4 lb. chuck roast
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup flour
2 tbs. olive oil
1-2 tbs. butter
4 medium carrots, chopped into 1 in. pieces
4 stalks celery, chopped into 1 in. pieces
1 medium onion, chopped into 2 in. pieces
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 tbs. tomato paste
1 cup red wine
3 cups low-sodium beef broth
4 bay leaves
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1/2 tsp. all spice
Generously sprinkle kosher salt and ground pepper on your roast. Heat the olive oil in a medium-high skillet. Sear all sides of the roast (about 4 minutes per side), then transfer into the crock-pot along with your chopped veggies.
Reduce the heat to medium, and add the butter and tomato paste to your skillet. Stir with a wooden spoon until you achieve a brick reddish color. Grab a whisk, add the flour, and then add the wine. Whisk vigorously. You’ll end up with clumps, which is ok. Make sure you try to scrape the bits off the bottom of the skillet. Add the beef broth, bay leaves, thyme, and all spice. Bring to a simmer. Add some salt and pepper to taste. Whisk until the gravy has thickened (it’s ok if there are still a few lumps).
Pour the gravy into the crock-pot. Cover and set to low for 8-ish hours (or if you are in a hurry, high for 3-4 hours). Your roast is done if both the veg and meat are tender (the meat basically falls apart with just a tug of the fork). I also make sure that the meat reaches an internal temperature of 160°F.
Take the meat out, cut against the grain, place on your serving platter. Toss the thyme and any of the bay leaves you can find. Strain the veg and place along side your meat. You should be left with the gravy in the crock-pot. Taste it as it may need additional salt and pepper. Take a little gravy and pour over your platter just to moisten, and serve the rest of the gravy on the side in your gravy boat.
I serve this with a side of mash potatoes for Oliver and I. He did look at it a bit hesitantly. But he does that with every meal, including cake!
But judging from that face, it was a huge hit! He also wanted a second portion of mash. Not sure where he is putting all this food…
I’ve made pot roast before for Oliver when he was much younger and doing the baby led weaning. You can give your baby everything in the pot, just make sure the chunks of meat are large. They’ll end up gnawing and sucking on the beef, which is fine (they are getting some iron and enjoying the flavors). Just make sure you leave out all the salt.