Quick Review: The pot roast turned out incredibly tender, and I really liked using a crock pot for easy prep. I used a little too much wine so cut that down a little when I wrote up the recipie and next time will put the veggies in half way though cooking
Its fall and much cooler in the evenings in San Diego. Whenever this happens it makes me crave hearty comfort food. Kevin must have been on the same page as me when he brought up that he loves pot roast and brisket. I have never made a pot roast (it's actually quite possible that I've never even eaten it) and then didn't even know what a brisket was. (Turns out its a cut of meat, usually cooked slowly at a low temperature) After much googling I decided that I wanted to make the pot roast in my crock pot. I had used the crock pot to make pulled pork this summer (it was soooo yummy. I should make that again soon) but never done a whole dish, with meat and veggies in the crock pot.
After looking at lots of recipes I didn't really see anything that I liked. Lots of the recipes involved using onion soup mix, or a can of cream of mushroom soup and that is just not my style. Also most of the recipes just wanted me to use carrots and onions, (if they included veggies at all) while I wanted more veggies. Some said brown the meat, some said it didn't matter. Some said that bone in cuts were the best. I never found anything that really looked like what I wanted, but eventually I felt like I had read enough that I could just wing it.
I went to Henry's and had the butcher help me pick out a 3lb chuck roast, loaded up on veggies; sweet potatoes*, leeks, carrots, onions, fresh garlic, and green beans for a side. I also grabbed some old vine Zinfandel to throw in there
First I started out by seasoning the roast with fresh ground salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, and paprika. Next I browned the meat in a pan with a little olive oil, just for a few seconds on each side. Then it went on the bottom of the crock pot. I put a few splashes of Worcestershire sauce on the meat, and poured on the red wine and beef stock. Then I peeled and chopped up all my veggies and plopped them in till the crock pot was full, and ground some more Italian seasoning on top. (There was much debate on the Internet about if I should put the veggies on top of the meat or on the bottom, for fear of them getting soggy I put them on top.) Then with much trepidation I left the house for 9 hours....
I was worried about the pot roast since I couldn't check on it all all. I texted my roommate around hour 7 and he said that the house smelled great and the crock pot was not overflowing. (phew!) I got home around hour 9 and took the roast out of the pot and used the left over liquid to make gravy, quick sauteed some green beans and dinner was ready!
I loved coming home to dinner already made! I totally want to cook in a crock pot like this more often. I only have a baby crock pot so perhaps I'll have to invest in a larger one. I used the leftover roast and veggies to make a shepherds pie. Two different dinners in one? I like that too!
* a side note on sweet potatoes- I found out that in general there is a mass conspiracy going on in America and a sweet potato, and a yam are actually different things, and on top of that, in general we don't eat yams at all. We just like to call orange sweet potatoes yams. The Library of Congress explains:
"In the United States, firm varieties of sweet potatoes were produced before soft varieties. When soft varieties were first grown commercially, there was a need to differentiate between the two. African slaves had already been calling the ‘soft’ sweet potatoes ‘yams’ because they resembled the yams in Africa. Thus, ‘soft’ sweet potatoes were referred to as ‘yams’ to distinguish them from the ‘firm’ varieties.
Today the U.S. Department of Agriculture requires labels with the term ‘yam’ to be accompanied by the term ‘sweet potato.’ Unless you specifically search for yams, which are usually found in an international market, you are probably eating sweet potatoes!"
So When you think of that orange thing you eat at thanksgiving, that's really a sweet potato, not a yam. There are tons of different varieties, ranging from light colors, to orange, to purple. The ones I used in this recipe were labeled "Sweet potatoes" at the grocery store, and are a light yellow/off white color. They are sweeter than a traditional potato but no where near as sweet as an orange sweet potato. (Which at Henry's were labeled only yams- tsk tsk Henry) Sweet potatoes are really nutritionally dense, are virtually fat free, and have the lowest glycemic index rating of all the root vegetables. Swapping them for regular potatoes won't work every time, but I like how it turned out here. Also about a week ago we used the white sweet potatoes, sliced and baked them with a little olive oil salt and pepper- yum! It totally satisfied that craving for starchy food, but is actually good for you.
Had the Shepherd's Pie that I made with the leftovers from the pot roast last night, and I liked it even better than the original pot roast. All I did to make it was layer meat and gravy, veggies, and topped with mashed sweet potatoes. mmmmm I want more.