Thursday, October 1, 2009

Recipe: Slow Cooked Pot Roast

At the risk of sounding like one of the Beverly Hillbillies I'm going to confess that this dish kind of reminds me of something my grandmother used to make when I was a kid - roast raccoon. That's no lie, it's not even an exaggeration. We ate a lot of strange things at my grandparents house. For the record, it was all good. They were country people and products of the depression. My grandfather was a hunter and fisherman and my grandmother was a hell of a farm wife. She once saved me from a blood-thirsty and crazed fighting rooster. That story is elsewhere on this blog, something tells me it's probably got to do with a chicken recipe.

If my memory serves me well (and it usually does) roasted raccoon looked like roasted turkey only reddish brown with four drumsticks. There were of course, potatoes and carrots. I imagine a dinner like that will freak some people out, but it was good. Everything the woman cooked was good.

Okay, my freaky memory aside, this recipe is a great rainy Autumn Sunday dinner. Which coincidentally is just the kind of day I prepared it on when I finalized, prepared and photographed it for the blog. It is rich, hearty and delicious and of major importance: SIMPLE! You basically just do a little prep, chuck everything into a crock pot or dutch oven* and slow cook it and not touch or look at it for ten hours. It cooks while you do vastly more important things like watch television, play with the kids, do your yoga, read poetry or run around all day and do errands. Start it at 8:30 AM, do what you want all day and an amazing dinner is ready at 6:30 PM. Pretty sweet huh?

My only recommendation is that you don't over-pack your crock pot or dutch oven. The meat and vegetables will give off a lot of moisture during the cooking process and you don't want the liquid rising over the top. If you have a small crock pot or dutch oven, adjust the recipe as needed.

*My home range has a slow-cook feature so I prepare dishes like this in a covered dutch oven. Of course it works equally well in a crock pot.

Slow Cooked Pot Roast

3 lbs. Boneless bottom roast
1 TBS Dijon mustard
1 TBS brown sugar
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 cup of red wine
Sea Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
2 medium onions chopped
3-4 small onions peeled
4 carrots cut into 3-4" pieces
1-1/2 to 2 pounds small red and white potatoes (golf ball to egg-sized)
Your favorite homemade or store-bought biscuits
2-4 tsp cornstarch
1/2 cup water

Put the chopped onion in the bottom of your cooking vessel.

Mix the sea salt, black pepper, onion and garlic powders together and coat the roast evenly on all sides. Place it on the onions in your preferred cooking vessel - fat side down.

Take the potatoes, carrots and whole onions and arrange them around the roast. Be sure that you'll be able to close the crock pot/dutch oven completely when ready.

In a mixing bowl whisk together the Dijon mustard, brown sugar and red wine until the Dijon mustard and the brown sugar are completely blended in. Pour all the mixture equally over the roast and the vegetables.

Cover the cooking vessel, set it on low and let it cook for ten hours (If you're using a dutch oven, cover it, place it in the oven and use your range's slow cook feature and instructions).

When the time is up remove the roast and vegetables to a large serving bowl. cover it with a plate and towels to keep it warm while you prepare the gravy.

In a small bowl, whisk together the corn starch and water.

Pour all the liquid from the roast into a suitable pan and place it over high heat until it begins to boil (if you're using a dutch oven prepare your gravy in that). Lower it to a high simmer and slowly add 1/2 the water and cornstarch mixture while stirring constantly. You'll need to use your judgement here to get your gravy to the desired thickness. It is better to add it SLOWLY as you PROBABLY WILL NOT NEED IT ALL. If you add it all quickly, I hope you enjoy extremely thick gravy!

Slice or chunk the roast, plate it with the vegetables and a biscuit, dress it with the gravy as you like.

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