Monday, November 1, 2010

Slow Cooker Pot Roast: Nostalgic and Ridiculously Easy Comfort Food

There's a chill in the air.  The days are getting shorter.  Time to dust off some of those recipes I wouldn't think of making in the summer.  I was looking for some old fashioned comfort food.  I didn't feel like fussing and if I could get 2 dinners out of 1 night of cooking, even better.

My mom used to be big on comfort food.  The first time Paul came to dinner at my parents house in New York, my mom made her famous pot roast.  Well, it was famous in our family at least.  I think she was trying to impress him.  My dad met Paul in California a few months earlier and he must have given mom a favorable report when he returned home.  Up to that point in time, my dad couldn't stand never particularly took to any of my boyfriends.  I was home from California for the holidays, and Paul was in the city on business.  I told my parents that Paul was coming out to Long Island to pick me up and we were going out to dinner.  My mother said, "nonsense, he'll come here for dinner!"  My dad said, "your mother will make a pot roast".   The rest is history.  That pot roast is the most talked about pot roast in the history of pot roast!  When Paul visits my mom who will be 92 in February, he always asks her, "do you remember the first dinner you ever cooked for me?"  She smiles, takes his hand, kisses it and holds it against her cheek.  You see, she doesn't remember much of anything anymore.  He reminds her, "you make me pot roast!"  She smiles and says, "I know that, I wanted to see if you remembered."

Now that you know my pot roast story.  I have a confession to make.  I was not a big fan of mom's pot roast.  I always wanted to like it, but it just lacked something.  I think I didn't like mom's pot roast because it simply wasn't cooked slow enough and she didn't cook with wine.  Slow, low, and pour on some wine....that's the secret!  

This recipe is the easiest thing in the world to make.  You dump everything in the crock pot, plug it in, return 6-10 hours later....and you will have the richest, tastiest, pot roast ever....definitely not your mother's pot roast.  If you love braised short ribs, you'll really love this dish.

Slow Cooker Pot Roast
This recipe is adapted from Jennifer Yu, 3/11/2008

4 pound chuck roast
1 cup diced celery
1 cup diced onion
1/2 cup diced carrot
1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce
1 1/2 cups water
1 cup dry red wine
1 sprig fresh rosemary
3 sprigs fresh thyme

Dice vegetables
Place chuck roast, vegetables, liquids, and fresh herbs in crock pot
Cover, plug it in, turn on and let it cook
6 hours on high
10 hours on low (my slow cooker seems to run hot)
4 hours on high, turn down to low, continue cooking 4 more hours
That's it!  There's no need to sear the meat or brown the vegetables.

Beef will be fork tender and shred easily.  Remove from pot.  Strain gravy, removing solids and reserving liquids.  Defat gravy.  I do that by pouring liquids into a heavy ziplock bag.  The fat rises to the top.  Snip a corner, and allow the juices to flow into a bowl.  Pinch the end to stop the flow before the fat starts to flow.  You can serve as is or thicken.  

To thicken, make a roux.  Melt 3 tablespoons butter, stir in 3 tablespoons flour.  Cook for 2 minutes.  Over medium heat add strained and defatted gravy 1 ladle at a time, whisking to remove lumps.  Continue to add gravy and whisk.  Heat until thickened.

Shred beef and serve with gravy and your favorite sides.


  1. Is there such a thing as tofu-roast? How might I make a vegetarian version?

  2. Anonymous...I suspect you would omit the meat and use tofu...oh and definitely reduce the cooking time....are you related to me anonymous?

  3. Love the defat method...must try that, actually will try making with wine, sounds yummy.....My sister Carol, and your cousin, said STOP giving away the families secret recipes! LOL She also has Aunt Gloria's carrot cake recipe and never even shared it with me. HA! Dorothy