Yay! It’s our four week anniversary for me and my Crock Pot Buddy, Cristina over at centraljerseyworkingmoms.com! Have you tried any of our previous recipes? If so, please be sure to let us know either via comments here or our Facebook pages. This week, we both tried completely different recipes. This week Cristina made Golden Honey Chicken, and well, you’ll have to read her post to see how it turned out! As for me, I’m featuring my favorite go-to Crock Pot meals, my Lip-Smack-A-Luscious Pot Roast!
I hope you have enjoyed the recipes I’ve shared here the past few weeks, but I have to admit, they aren’t 100% my own creations. I like to think I am a decent cook, but I am not quite Julia Child – yet! The recipes that I’ve featured so far came from various cook books or websites, but I’ve altered them to either fit my own personal cooking style, fine-tuned to suit my family’s own personal tastes, or even re-imagined because they had ingredients that were either weird or too fattening! However, this recipe is one that I totally claim as my own. It is not written down somewhere on a recipe card or nicely typed out on a sheet of paper, it’s one that sits up in my brain, stowed away in my mental recipe filing cabinet. It is a recipe that I have perfected with lots of trial and error, and let me tell you, some of those errors were not pretty or delicious. I’ve incorporated cooking techniques and “secrets” that I’ve picked up from other recipes that for some reason seemed right to use here, so you’ll just have to trust me on it.
This recipe didn’t have a name until I had to give it one for this post. Personally, I think the first step to any great meal, is to give it a just the right name. When the Hubs ate this meal the last time I made it (I usually make it once a month), he told me how tasty it was and smacked his lips. Now I know he was just teasing me, but that little sound just stuck out in my head – and hence, the name Lip-Smack-A-Luscious Pot Roast! The next step to any successful meal is to make sure it is tasty. This means the right balance of seasonings, spices, and our good friends, salt & pepper. That was going to be hard, since when I make this recipe I season it according to what I call that my old Italian cooking technique — my own gut. I had no measurements for ANYTHING. So the last time I made it, I actually took what I did freestyle, via my gut, and placed them into various measuring spoons & cups in order to get right seasoning proportions for you.
So when you read the ingredients and directions, you’re going to scratch your head and say what’s up with the cornstarch/flour/butter concoction when you’re browning the meat? Remember what I said earlier about trusting me, you need to here. This is an essential step, because most times when I brown the meat can get tough on the outside and not always caramelize enough. So to protect the meat and get it to brown a little better I lightly floured it and then seared it off. It worked great for actually browning the meat, but left the dish with a heavy, cakey-kind of taste and texture. I had thought about using cornstarch, but since it is a pure starch I thought it would form a sort of paste or gel on the meat, ick. Then I saw on some cooking show about mixing flour AND cornstarch together along with some unsalted butter. Apparently each ingredient tempers the effect of the other — with flour in the mix, the cornstarch is sufficiently diluted by the protein in the flour to prevent it from forming a paste, whereas the flour is diluted enough that it doesn’t cause the crust to become bready. It also helps to thicken up the juices in the dish and makes a nice sauce that isn’t runny. I know, it’s a lot of chemistry for a meal, but I’m telling you this works – and not only for meat that you have to brown, but also for chicken, lamb and veal!
Now if you have a hi-tech crock-pot like mine where you can actually sauté in the pot itself, you can brown the meat in it. If you don’t, I recommend that you use a heavy duty frying pan. It helps distribute the heat more evenly and allows you to get a better crust on your meat. Italian Seasoning works great to flavor the recipe but if you don’t have that concoction on hand I have listed the spices out individually. So here it is, in all its glory:
Lip-Smack-A-Luscious Pot Roast
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Serves: 4 to 6 people
Slow Cook Time: 3 1/2 to 4 Hours on HIGH or 8 Hours on LOW
3lb beef chuck roast
1 1/2 large onion (I like to use a sweet onion for this), quartered
1 1/2 cups baby carrots (or use 4 carrot stalks cut into thirds)
1 cup mushrooms, caps only, cut in half, any variety
2 garlic cloves, smashed
1 13 oz can of stewed tomatoes
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce (or A1 Steak sauce)
2 tsp tomato paste
1 ½ cups beef broth
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoon all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
½ tsp coarse salt
¼ tsp ground pepper
1 ¼ Tbsp of Italian seasoning
- ½ tsp dried basil
- ½ tsp dried oregano
- ½ tsp dried crushed rosemary
- ½ tsp dried cilantro or parsley
- ½ tsp dried thyme
- ½ tsp dried marjoram
- ½ tsp dried sage
1 large or 2 medium bay leaf
1. Cut vegetables into roughly the same size, aiming for them to be 1 inch cubed.
2. Whisk butter, flour, cornstarch and some ground black pepper together in a small bowl. Lightly brush the top side of the beef chuck roast with half of butter mixture. Place meat in meat in slow cooker on “sauté” setting to brown or in frying pan, with the coated side down and brown until crust forms, about 3 to 4 minutes. While side one is browning, lightly brush the remaining butter mixture on side two of the meat. Flip the meat to brown the other side, again 3 to 4 minutes until meat browns & crust forms.
3. Switch crock pot from sauté and/or turn switch to slow cooker setting.
4. Combine beef broth, stewed tomatoes, tomato paste & all seasonings to crockpot, stir.
5. Add in meat and surround with all the cut vegetables.
6. Cook for 3 1/2 to 4 Hours on HIGH or 8 Hours on LOW
7. Salt & pepper to taste.
Please link up below your favorite Crock Pot recipe – and don’t forget to share your shortcuts or improvements to your dish! Remember, there’s always time for a home cooked meal with your crock pot!