Thursday, January 7, 2010

roast in a crockpot

(Yeah, the meat is there, hidden under the mushrooms.)

(When first cooked, it was fall apart tender. A night in the 'fridge firmed it right up [above].)

*roast (I used sirloin tri tip because it was on sale; I read chuck is good); mine was about 2.5 pounds (can use larger)
*vegetables (I used: 4 carrots, 1 onion, 2 stalks celery, 7 cloves garlic, 1/2 pound crimini mushrooms) (potatoes would also be good, or other sturdy vegetables)
*liquid (I used 1 c tomato juice and 1 c chicken stock from freezer, then added probably two more cups of water and a vegetable bouillon cube - and that was TOO MUCH LIQUID)
*herbs/spices (salt, pepper, bay leaves, oregano, basil, marjoram, thyme - or whatever you like!)

Sear the roast. Heat up a pan to pretty high heat with a high heat point oil such as peanut oil. Roll the roast in flour and kosher salt & freshly ground pepper. Place roast in heated oil until you can smell it browned, then turn over and repeat for all sides.

While searing, chop vegetables in chunks (I usually chop quite finely, but I leave in larger chunks for the crockpot - so they don't lose all shape). Place in bottom of crockpot. However, don't put in more delicate ones - the mushrooms I added later.

Place seared roast on top of vegetables.

Deglaze pan. Pour some of the liquid into the hot pan and use it to scrape up the flavorful bits from the bottom (the "fond"). I then added all liquid to heat to boiling to speed along the cooking process.

Pour heated liquid into crock and add herbs/spices.

Cook on low for about 5 hours (meat thermometer about 160 degrees for medium). (see below)

Add mushrooms and other delicates the last hour or so.

I'm on a big marjoram kick lately and think I should probably get a plant. I find it blends so well with so many things. I also am liking thyme, and still have some fresh sprigs so tossed those in.

For liquid, a lot of people use wine but I really do not like the taste of meat cooked in wine. Blech. And yes, I've tried a variety of wines and I always feel like I've just wasted perfectly good food by doing that. I also am not loving Worcestershire sauce, though that could be a nice addition. I think that most people would not put tomato sauce/juice/paste into a roast, but I like the mild acid and the flavor richness it adds (and if not using it, I would add some apple cider vinegar). Of course a lot of people would throw in onion soup mix and cream of mushroom soup, but I am most assuredly NOT those people. (You will NEVER see me cook with cream of anything soup because they most assuredly taste like crap. Trust me - I grew up in a household that went through cases of the stuff.) I'm trying to wean myself off bouillon, but as far as evils go the one bouillon cube for all that food - I'm not worried.

When I added all that liquid, I erred on the side of caution, and it ended up looking very much like soup. I will probably save the broth to cook rice with because it's very flavorful - but it is A LOT.

When figuring out how to cook a roast (never done it before in my life), I chanced upon a java roast recipe. It sounded intriguing, but my organic fair trade coffee is pretty expensive and I didn't want to waste it - plus, the idea of putting cream cheese into a saturated fat extravaganza of red meat - well, not really my thing. But if I have some extra coffee lying around in the future I might try it.

Regarding time: I guessed I would need more time than I really did. My roast was pretty small and my crockpot runs hot and I started it with boiling liquid - but when I checked it at 5 1/2 hours, the meat was well over 200 degrees. The vegetables were great texture then, carrots still a little firm. Didn't add mushrooms at end - will saute them tomorrow to accompany.

It turned out very tender, but a little on the dry side (probably because it was quite lean).

Would be awesome with mashed potatoes & gravy! Would also be good with a green salad or something fresh to balance this long-cooked food. I wanted to accompany it with roasted beets and sweet potatoes, but with the timing so off those will be dessert.

Yeah, since I didn't add the mushrooms to the roast because it cooked a lot faster than I expected, the next day I sauteed them and and then added some broth and let them cook down. YUM!!


  1. Hee hee...I'm not a fan of wined-up meats either. They always taste funny to me, but probably cuz I'm not used to it. You know I don't drink anyway, hahahaha...=) But the tomato sauce/juice/paste in roast sounds really GOOD! I would totally do that!

    We don't have a slow cooker, but I should invest in have all these yummy slow cooker recipes that I've been wanting to try! =)

    Usually, for making pot roast, we throw it in the oven for a few hours, and there's this package of McCormick's that we really like,'s a package thing and probably not super healthy and full of sodium, but it's mom uses it when we do have the occasional roast. It's the Bag 'n Season thing. But it's extra tasty with carrots, onions, red peppers, and the like.

    Here's a link:

  2. Yeah, you know that's definitely not my thing the packaged stuff - there's a bunch of ingredients in there I definitely don't want to consume! I much prefer the taste of herbs and spices to disodium inosinate. ;)

    Definitely get a crockpot!!! You can get a super good deal on them when on sale. I have a 4 quart Rival (red!) and it works really well for just about everything. I think it was $11 on sale at Target and I've used it SO many times - it's the one appliance I keep out on my countertop. I also got one for free that has 2, 4, and 6 qt crocks - but I've only had to use the 6 qt a couple of times (for stock). I like having a backup for sure - like, I'll just store the roast in the fridge in the crockpot, but I'll want to soak beans in another one to cook the next day.

    Crockpots are great for starting when you leave for the day - to come home to something super yummy. But also just for when you are home and have a lot of other things going on and don't want to have to tend to something on the stovetop. They are super good for things that are best done at very low temperatures, like making stock. They're so great!

  3. I just got a pressure cooker and I'm a bit scared of it. Do you know how long this baby would need in a pressure cooker?

    Also, I hear you on the wine thing (how does the meat end up tasting like metal?!) but for some reason leg/shoulder of lamb in a fruity wine like shiraz makes it that much better. Maybe because lamb is more gamey, so the acid works with it?

  4. Oh that's an interesting idea. I've never cooked with a pressure cooker - I use it for canning all the time, but that's of course a different beast altogether.

    Let me know how it goes!

    I agree about the lamb - I'd forgotten about that. I think it's just beef that tastes so icky with wine - and it's shocking to me HOW MANY PEOPLE cook like that. Ick!