A Squared: Slow Cooker Pot Roast with Root Vegetables

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Slow Cooker Pot Roast with Root Vegetables

A slow cooker pot roast is the perfect dinner for a cold winter's night-- and it couldn't be any easier to make!


Winter has arrived here in Chicago. And it is not messing around. While it seemed like it took its time to arrive this year, it arrived with a vengeance and we've already seen three snowstorms and a handful of single digit temperature days. Needless to say, we've been spending a lot of time indoors these days. When you're forced to stay indoors (as you might be over the coming days or weeks) there is nothing better than real comfort food-- and it is hard to beat a pot roast on a cold winter's night!


A few weeks ago-- before the crazy cold rolled in-- my parents came to town for a few days to visit with us and to babysit for Hannah while Alex and I attended a wedding. They were coming in on a weeknight and were set to arrive shortly after I got home from work. I wanted to make sure that we'd have a nice welcome dinner and that I wouldn't have to spend a ton of time slaving over it when they showed up. I decided to make a pot roast because it's an easy dinner to make in a slow cooker to feed a crowd-- even a small one. I also love a pot roast because the longer it cooks, the more the flavors develop-- especially using a few good ingredients to build those flavors like red wine, Worcestershire sauce, beef broth, fresh herbs, a little tomato paste (which thickens up the liquid and adds some acidity), and a little hot sauce to create a simple, yet flavorful cooking liquid.


I like to sear a roast-- or beef, in general-- before adding it to a slow cooker. That browned outside adds wonderful flavor (especially when you rub in a good seasoning before browning) and then slow cooking afterward ensures that the meat doesn't dry out in the roasting process. Along with the roast, I added sliced onions, carrots, and parsnips to the slow cooker. Root vegetables are dense so they hold up nicely when being cooked for several hours in liquid. They also soak up that cooking liquid, lending wonderful flavor to both the meat and the veggies!


In the past, I've always added halved potatoes to my slow cooker pot roasts but I opted against that this time and it was a great choice! Potatoes are bland and they get mushy in the slow cooker, so I wanted to serve them in a way that enhanced this meal a little more. So instead of adding them to the slow cooker mixture, I halved several baby potatoes, tossed them in some olive oil with salt, pepper, and herbs and roasted them in the oven until crispy. Those crispy potatoes were a wonderful complement to the tender beef and vegetables and I'm pretty sure after eating it this way, I'll never add them to the slow cooker again!


Ingredients:

  • 2 tsp. canola oil
  • 2-3 lb. beef chuck roast, trimmed
  • 1 Tbs. beef seasoning of your choice *I used The Spice House Quebec Beef Seasoning
  • 1 yellow onion, cut into thick slices
  • 2 cups carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 cup parsnips, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 2 cups low sodium beef broth
  • 1 Tbs. tomato paste
  • 1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 tsp. hot sauce
  • 3 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 dry bay leaf
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Heat canola oil in a large pan over medium high heat. Rub the roast evenly with seasoning and add to hot oil. Sear on each side until browned. Transfer to the base of a slow cooker.

Add the onion, carrots, and parsnips to the slow cooker.

In a separate bowl, whisk together red wine, broth, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce. Season with salt and pepper. Pour evenly over the top of the meat and vegetables.

Add the rosemary and thyme sprigs as well as the bay leaf to the slow cooker mixture. Cover and cook on low for 7-8 hours.

When ready to serve, remove the herb sprigs and the bay leaf from the pot. Serve over potatoes, egg noodles, rice, or polenta.


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