Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Not a Crock...

Note to self; I am not a crock pot purist. I don't believe in tossing in everything raw and turning it on. Some foods improve with a little cooking in oil first, a little browning, a little deglazing. And that's no crock... I also have no hesitation in lifting the lid, stirring the pot and rearranging things. Heresy, I know.

In this new age of austerity, I'm going to focus on some frugal recipes, getting more "bang for the buck" and cooking with what's on hand in the 'fridge or pantry. I think the recipe below cost approx. $8 and would easily feed a family of 4. It will certainly give us a few meals of leftovers for 2.

Today I'm making a Pot Roast in the crock pot. A note; I rarely measure and this recipe is certainly not an exact science. If you want to use a little more a little less or leave something out all together, that's all fine.

2.5 lb Chuck Roast
1 onion, thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
6 oz baby carrots
1 cup chopped celery (4 small stalks)
1 cup sliced mushrooms
8 each baby gold potatoes, halved or quartered
red wine (about 1 cup)
home made chicken stock (about 1 cup)
3 Tbsp Olive Oil
1/2 tsp each Dried Oregano and Thyme
Salt and Pepper to taste

Start by putting the potatoes, carrots and celery into the crock pot. Cook the onions in 1 Tbsp of olive oil until they are almost caramelized. Add the garlic and deglaze with 1/2 cup red wine. Add to crock pot after about 1 minute.

I cut the meat into large chunks so it would fit easily into the crock pot. If you make this recipe in a Dutch Oven or Casserole, you can leave the roast whole.
Add 1 more Tbsp to pan and sear off meat until brown on both sides. Deglaze the pan with more red wine and scrape up all the meat bits. Add to crock pot.

Add final Tbsp of oil to pan and saute the mushrooms. Deglaze with the rest of the wine and 1/2 cup of chicken stock. Allow to reduce for a minute. Add to crock pot, add the remaining 1/2 cup chicken stock and the dried herbs and cook all day on low.

About an hour into the cooking I wasn't happy with how it was going with the meat on top. So, I turned it up to high, took the lid off and rearranged things, moving the meat down so it was covered by the liquid.

After another hour, I turned it back down to low and cooked it for about 6 hours. At this point was done enough to eat, and I tasted it for seasoning, adding salt and pepper. I also decided to let it continue cooking for a couple more hours because it was really "soupy" and I wanted it to reduce and thicken a bit. Another option would be to add a bit of flour to thicken the sauce.

While there are already potatoes in this dish for starch, it would be excellent served with a soft polenta or mashed potatoes and a green salad.


Smorg said...

This looks good! An adventure in the kitchen might just be worth it if my effort comes out looking like your photos (and tasting the way it looks)! :o)

wired2theworld said...

Hey, thanks! If you make it, let me know how it goes.