I recently met Sarah Schumacher through a mutual friend. She is the mother of two beautiful boys and works full time. On top of her “day job” she has this awesome blog, Sarah Out and About. It is FULL of great information: travel, style, entertaining, food and drink, and more. It is helpful for everyone but especially for the working mom. She does all the legwork to make your life easier. That is something I can get behind!
Personally, I especially love the travel section. She tells you where to stay, what to eat and what to do while you’re there. I don’t have to plan anything because she has done it all for me, thank you Sarah! Because of you I think we will take the kiddos to Branson. Didn’t think I’d ever say that but I am saying it and I’m actually looking forward to it. Check out her blog and let me know which section you are most excited about.
Sarah and I got together to brainstorm on how we can make mealtime easier for the working mom. She said she wanted something that is basically fool proof because she is not a good cook (her words, not mine). As we continued to talk we really zeroed in on the fact that it is finally fall. As you already know, I love the change of the seasons mainly because I am ready for seasonal food. In fall I want warm, cozy, simmered all day flavor. Sarah came up with the great idea of slow cooker meals, the perfect solution for the busy parent! It’s another theme month people. Are you psyched? I am starting to become a fan of these theme months and I hope you are too. Welcome to Slow Cooker Month! First up: Slow Cooker Pot Roast
To me, this is the quintessential slow cooker meal so I thought it would be a good place to start. First, I gathered all the ingredients
You want to buy chuck roast when you are making pot roast. This is a tough cut of beef, which is what makes it perfect for all day cooking. But, you have to sear it first. I know searing it seems like an extra step but it really makes it soooo good. I would not skip this step if I were you. I seasoned the roast with salt, pepper and garlic powder and coated it with a thin layer of flour.
Then, I seared it in a hot skillet. You want it to get really nice and brown before flipping it, that is what gives it such great flavor.
While the meat was searing I chopped up veggies. I diced the onions, chopped the celery and minced the garlic. I cut the carrots in larger chunks so they wouldn’t get too mushy while cooking. I threw those all in the slow cooker then sprinkled a layer of salt and pepper over the top.
When the roast was finished searing I put it in the slow cooker right on top of the veggies. Then, I nestled the potatoes around the roast. Let’s take a second to talk about the potatoes. I like using small yellow/golden potatoes for this. I figure they will hold their shape better over the long cooking period than a large potato that is cut into chunks. If you can’t find small potatoes at your store or if you already have large potatoes at home, use them! No need to spend extra money on more potatoes!
*Make Ahead Option- I did not do this, but I think you could do all of the steps up to this point the night before and put the covered crock pot in your fridge. Like I said, I didn’t try it but I can’t imagine why it wouldn’t work out just fine. I’m sorry I didn’t test it for you but I won’t make that mistake again.
After putting the potatoes around the roast I poured in all the liquids, added the herbs, put the lid on and set the slow cooker.
I put some butter in a small dish, covered it with plastic wrap, left it on the counter and went about my day.
When we were just about ready to eat, I took the roast out of the slow cooker, put it on a cutting board and let it rest. Don’t worry if it falls apart, that just means it is really good.
Then, I added flour to my little dish of room temperature butter and mixed the two together until a smooth paste formed.
I added the paste to the slow cooker and stirred until it was completely mixed in. This thickens the pot roast juice/gravy.
After that, I was ready to serve. I cut some slices off the roast and put it in a flat bowl, I added some carrots and potatoes then ladled the sauce over the top. For a little freshness and color I like an extra sprinkle of parsley on top.
One of the best things about this is that we got three different meals out of it:
1. Pot Roast- described above
2. Beef and gravy over egg noodles- the next night I boiled some egg noodles and put them in a bowl. I cubed some beef and then poured some gravy over the top. YUM!
3. Beef Stew- third night, shredded the remaining beef with two forks, cubed the potatoes and threw it all in a container. I put it in the freezer and I can’t wait to pull it out one night when it’s cold and I just don’t have any energy for cooking.
Our family really loves this pot roast and I hope yours will too.
Slow Cooker Pot Roast
2 T Olive Oil
4 lb Chuck Roast
4 tsp Kosher Salt, divided
1 ¾ tsp Pepper, divided
1 tsp Granulated Garlic Powder
Flour, for dredging
1 large Onion, diced
3 stalks Celery, small chop
3-4 Carrots, large chop
3 cloves Garlic, rough chop
1 lb Potatoes
15 oz can Tomato Puree
1 c Beef Broth
1 c Red Wine (if you want to skip use 2 c Beef Broth)
1 Bay Leaf
2 large stems Thyme
2 T Unsalted Butter, at room temperature
2 T Flour
Fresh Chopped Parsley, for garnish (optional)
Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a large pan.
Pat chuck roast dry with paper towels.
Season the roast all over with 2 teaspoons of salt, 1 teaspoon of pepper and 1 teaspoon of garlic powder.
Dredge the roast in flour so it is evenly coated on all sides.
Place roast in the hot pan and sear on all sides (including the edges) for about 4 minutes per side until it is nice and dark brown and crusty.
While the roast is searing, chop the onion, celery, carrot and garlic; add to the slow cooker.
Sprinkle the veggies with 2 teaspoons of salt and ¾ teaspoon of pepper.
When the roast is done searing, add it to the slow cooker.
Place the potatoes around the roast (leave small potatoes whole, cube large potatoes into eighths).
*You can try to do all the above the night before then do the remaining steps the next morning.
Pour tomato puree, broth and wine into the slow cooker.
Add thyme and bay leaf.
Cook on low for 8 hours or on high for 4 hours.
Discard the thyme stems and bay leaf.
Remove the roast and put it on a cutting board to rest.
Leaving the lid off, turn the slow cooker to the high setting.
In a small bowl, mix the softened butter and flour into a paste.
Add the paste into the slow cooker and stir until completely incorporated.
Slice the roast as desired and divide among plates/bowls.
Add potatoes and carrots to each dish; ladle sauce over the top.
Sprinkle with some chopped fresh parsley (and don’t forget to turn off the slow cooker at this point).
Serve with some good bread for sopping up all that delicious sauce!