crock pots are built for busy lives. nah, my life isn’t very busy at all. seriously. i don’t NEED the convenience of a slow cooker as badly as soccer moms or government workers pulling 14 hour days. i really don’t need it, but i really, really appreciate it. i love the gravies and juices that seep out and cook back in. i love the new flavors that slow, single pot cooking creates. i love the ease of throwing whatever you happen to have in your refrigerator into something and returning to a meal a few hours later.
more than these things, i love turning a giant, cheap cut of meat into a meal you can savor. a chuck roast may be viewed as a peasant dish. but i favor this inexpensive cut. its fat content is most desirable for slow cooking. while slowly roasting, the fat melts off of the meat leaving tender, juicy beef behind. the work is done for you. i don’t know what my favorite part of this dish is: the perfectly tender beef, or the salty, sweet warm onions that melt in your mouth.
i love to use dried mushrooms because of their deep, earthy flavor. sprigs of rosemary and a few bay leaves keep this tasting fresh and bright. using chicken broth keeps the flavors on the lighter side. if you want a really rich flavor, try adding half a cup of red wine to the pot. this is a very warm and filling meal. warm food always makes the winter season slightly more agreeable.
this recipe serves about 8.
savory chuck roast
chuck roast (2-4 lbs or so)
1 sweet white onion, sliced thickly
5 or so cloves garlic
giant handful rosemary
4 bay leaves
cup or so dried mushrooms
2 cups chicken broth
S & P
*cook’s note- mushrooms, rosemary, and garlic do not need chopped. they will cook down quite a bit and become really soft and savory.
method: heat a little fat in a cast iron skillet. once it’s good and hot, throw your giant cut of beef on and brown both sides. watch closely. meanwhile prep crock.
chop onion into thick slices. lay them in the bottom of your crock. layer half of rosemary and bay on top of the onions.
set browned beef into crock pot. place remaining rosemary and bay leaves, garlic, mushrooms, S&P on top of meat. this will ensure that the flavors will seep into the meat, rather than remaining in the bottom of the crock.
pour broth into the bottom of the crock, careful not to displace herbs from beef. place lid onto crock.
at this point, you can either put into the refrigerator and cook in the morning, or you can cook it now.
cook for 6-8 hours on low. be sure to serve beef with lots of onions on top.