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How To Make Pot Roast

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If I’m going to fall for some great marketing — and know that I’m falling for it the whole time — I sure better make something that’s worth losing my self-respect. So this time I didn’t take a shortcut and put the slow cooker on “Hi” for three hours. This one gets the full 7-plus hours it needs to be fork tender.

And oh my goodness … this is what pot roast is supposed to taste like.

Ingredients


3-5 pound chuck roast
3 medium potatoes
2 large carrots
1 large onion (see below)
3-5 cloves garlic (see below)
kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper

Directions

Let me just get this out of the way right up front: Yes, I used the leftover onions and garlic my daughters made me take out of the pork roast I did the previous week. I hate letting leftovers go bad in the fridge. Drives me crazy. Feel free to dice up a new onion if you don’t have leftovers.

So anyway … season the roast with salt and pepper. Don’t skimp, there should be plenty of each covering both sides and all the edges.

Melt a few tablespoons of bacon fat in an uncoated pan over high heat. (Use a high-temperature cooking oil like peanut if you don’t have bacon fat.)

Brown the roast on both sides, just long enough to get a nice crust. No more than a minute or two per side.

Do the edges, too. The better the crust the more flavor you’ll have when it’s done.

Place the browned roast in your slow cooker, then deglaze the pan with a cup of water. The pan should be smoking hot when you add the water for best results. Scrape up all the browned bits with a whisk or wooden spoon. That is the most flavorful part, and is the reason you don’t want to use a non-stick pan if you can help it.

Add the liquid from the deglazing to the slow cooker.

Add the onion, potato and carrot to the slow cooker. You don’t need to peel the potatoes or the carrots, just give them a good cleaning and chop them bite-sized. Don’t go too small with the veggies, especially the onion, or they can turn to mush after a few hours.


Add enough water to almost cover the vegetables. Like I said when doing the pork roast, my assistant tells me the Tigger makes it taste the best.

Season liberally with salt and pepper. You have to add some before cooking to bring out the flavors. If you try to add it all at the end, it will just taste salty.

Turn the slow cooker to “Lo”. (And that’s how it’s spelled on mine — “Lo” and “Hi”. So don’t tell me I can’t spell.)

NOTE: Older slow cookers had Lo and Hi settings of about 160° and 190°. Some newer ones run at 190° and 240°, so Lo on a new one can be the same as Hi on an old one. And the new ones might not have anything that matches the older Lo setting. I’ve never seen slow cookers that advertise what temperature they cook at, so make sure you know your slow cooker before leaving something on Hi for eight hours.

After 2-3 hours, pull the meat up and place it on top. The veggies need to be submerged to cook well, and the juices from the roast will soak down into them.

After another 4-5 hours, turn the cooker off.

See the beautiful top? You don’t get that if you leave the meat on the bottom.

Set the meat aside and scoop out the vegetables. This time I didn’t separate the onions. I let the girls pick them out themselves. I also forgot to pick out the garlic cloves. But after more than seven hours of cooking, they were soft and sweet. Awesome spread on some crusty bread.

Normally you need to let meat rest after cooking until the temperature evens out throughout. Otherwise the heat will force all the juice out when you slice it. With slow cooking, the whole roast is the same temperature, so you can start slicing right away. Don’t try to slice thin. For one thing, you won’t be able to unless you’ve got the world’s sharpest knife. Secondly, this is fork tender, so you want nice big chunks to dig into.

After slicing, pick up the whole roast and serve it on top of the veg.

And that’s it.


You might be wondering why I didn’t make gravy with the water and juices. I almost did, but then decided to reserve that for another recipe. Stay tuned for a request from the list.

Pot Roast

Pot Roast

Ingredients

  • 3-5 pound chuck roast
  • 3 medium potatoes
  • 2 large carrots
  • 1 large onion (see below)
  • 3-5 cloves garlic (see below)
  • kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper

Instructions

Season the beef generously with salt and pepper. Brown all over in bacon fat over high heat in a non-reactive pan. Transfer the beef to a slow cooker and deglaze the pan with water or stock. Add the liquid to the slow cooker.

Dice the vegetables into bite-size pieces and pack them around the beef, potatoes on the bottom, then carrots, onion and garlic. Add enough liquid - water or stock - to just cover the meat.

Cover and set the slow cooker on low. After 2-3 hours, carefully lift the meat and place it on top of the vegetables. Add more liquid, if needed to completely cover the vegetables. Cook on low for another 4-5 hours.

Want more like this? For more recipes like this, that you can hold right in your hands, and write on, take notes, tear pages out if you want (Gosh, you're tough on books, aren't you?) you might be interested in How To Cook Like Your Grandmother, 2nd edition, Illustrated. Or to learn your way around the kitchen, check out Starting From Scratch: The Owner's Manual for Your Kitchen.

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