Slow Cooker Italian-style Pot Roast

I know spring is not far off, but early March is usually cold, occasionally snowy, and pot roast is still warm and inviting during this transitional month. This is a delicious and simple one pot meal. The recipe does require about half an hour of preparation. It is not a dump and run recipe. The meat needs to be browned and vegetables sautéed in olive oil before adding to the slow cooker. But the few minutes of extra work make for a very flavorful and tender roast. I sometimes have a bit of roast leftover and will add it to my tomato sauce for a richer pasta dish, or use the meat as a layer in lasagna.

Slow Cooker Italian-style Pot Roast
1 medium red onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 organic carrots, peeled and chopped into 2 inch pieces
2 ribs celery, chopped into 2 inch pieces
1 small leek, chopped
1 parsnip, peeled and chopped into 2 inch pieces
1 (4 lb.) beef chuck roast (I like cross rib roasts)
3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1-1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 c. red or white wine
1 (14 oz.) can diced tomatoes
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. dried marjoram
1/2 tsp. dried rosemary
1 fresh bay leaf
6 Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cubed

Begin by chopping all your vegetables (except the potatoes) and set them aside. Liberally season beef roast on both sides with 1 tsp. salt, pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder. In a Dutch oven or heavy bottomed pan heat 2 Tbsp. olive oil. When hot add seasoned roast and brown well on all sides. It takes about 5 minutes per side. Remove meat from pan. Set meat aside. Add 1 Tbsp. olive oil to the pan drippings and add chopped onion. Sauté for 2 minutes then add garlic, carrots, celery, leeks and parsnip. Add 1/2 tsp. kosher salt and pepper. Cook vegetables for 5 minutes until they begin, to soften. The vegetables may begin to stick, so add a tablespoon or two of the red wine to the saucepan and scrape up brown bits. Transfer the vegetables to the bottom of the slow cooker. Place the browned meat on top of the vegetables. Pour the red wine over the meat and add herbs. Turn slow cooker on high, cover, and cook for 6 hours. Add the cubed potatoes to the slow cooker and continue cooking for another 45 minutes to 1 hour until potatoes and meat are fork tender. Transfer the meat and vegetables to a serving platter. Serves 5.

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