Pot roast is hands down my favorite meal to eat. There is just something about a slow cooked hunk of meat with veggies that can make almost any day awesome.
Over the last few months I have learned how to make an amazing roast, with veggies, in my slow cooker. There are other really amazing ways out there too, this happens to be my current favorite!
Step 1: You Will Need:
This is a fairly simple recipe. Other than buying the roast when you are ready, you probably have most of the ingredients on hand already.
1 roast - I prefer chuck since I cook it all day while I am at work, but really whatever you like should be fine; do try to find a flat one rather than a rounded one if you can
hard vegetables (carrot, onion, potato, sweet potato, squashes, turnips, parsnips - if you could roast it in the oven for longer than a tomato it is probably fine, whatever your family likes)
salt, pepper, garlic powder, dried oregano
slow cooker (you will adjust your ingredient amounts to fine you slow cooker size & shape - mine is a 6 quart oval)
cutting surface and knive
small bowl for salt and pepper
Step 2: Warm Your Meat
Before you start chopping up your vegetables, take your thawed meat out of the refrigerator and set it out somewhere out of the way. For me that happens to be on the stove, which was not being used. All you want it to do is be warmer than the fridge when you go to sear it later.
Step 3: Cut Up Your Vegetables
With your slow cooker off, start cutting up your vegetables and adding them to the crock.
Since you are going to be cooking this a long time, you don't want your pieces to be too small. They will be a little on the mushy side when they are done, and if you cut the pieces tiny you will have a hard time telling what you are eating (though if you like that, then go for it!). Your harder vegetables, like butternut squash, can be in slightly smaller pieces than your softer vegetables, like carrots.
I find that adding some squash to the mix really makes the veggies something special. They can be a pain to cut, but I think they are worth it. Butternut squash is what I used here, though my husband and I really like delicata squashes when we have them. The nice thing about delicata squash is you don't have to peel them, the skin is edible and actually pretty soft after all the cooking the roast goes through.
In this roast I used 1 small butternut squash, 1 small onion, 1 potato, 1 sweet potato, and half a small bag of baby carrots (cut in half). This made plenty of veggies for dinner and enough for a portion with all the leftover meat as well.
Step 4: Season the Vegetables
Sprinkle a generous amount of garlic powder on the vegetables. This is largely a to taste thing - if you really like garlic flavor, add a lot! If you want it more subtle, add a little.
Then with your hands, mix the veggies to coat. Don't worry if it doesn't seem evenly coated or if you get a bunch kinda stuck on the bottom.
Now you can go ahead and turn your slow cooker on to low.
Step 5: Season the Meat and Heat the Pan
Set your skillet on the stove with medium heat, and add your oil. I used coconut oil but anything that will handle the temperature should be fine. You want enough oil to totally coat your large skillet bottom, but you don't need much more than that.
While your skillet gets nice and warm, mix some salt and pepper in a small bowl. Rub this mix all over the roast - top, bottom and all sides. If your roast has random cut marks or jagged edges, get in all of those too. Throw away whatever salt and pepper mix you don't use.
Step 6: Sear Your Roast
When your skillet is nice and hot you are ready to begin. One way to tell is to place a popcorn kernel in the oil and wait for it to pop, another is to look for a shimmery moving surface to the oil layer. Try not to let it get so hot it smokes.
Carefully (because it is very likely to splatter a bit), lay your roast in the pan. Leave it for 3 minutes, then flip it over to the other side. Cook that side for 4 minutes (longer because the skillet will be cooler than it was for the first side). Finally, get all the small sides for about a minute each. You will probably have to prop up the roast to do this.
Step 7: Put Roast in Slow Cooker
Carefully lay your roast on top of your veggies. Check to make sure your lid will fit over the whole thing, and adjust your veggies and roast accordingly.
Keep the drippings from the skillet.
Step 8: Prepare and Add the Liquid
A glass measuring cup works the best for this step.
Add 1/4 cup Merlot wine (2 ounces), 1/8 cup balsamic vinegar (1 ounce), 1/8 cup Worcestershire sauce (1 ounce), all the drippings from the skillet your seared the meat in, and enough water to bring the liquid to 1 cup. I know this doesn't seem like a lot, but trust me it is plenty!
Now add a generous sprinkle of dried oregano, and mix it in the liquid. Mostly this just gets it wet so it distributes better when you pour it over the meat.
Now pour the liquid over the meat. It will naturally spill off into the veggies, but hopefully if you pour slowly and your roast is flat, some will stay on the meat.
Step 9: Cover and Cook
Put the lid on your slow cooker and make sure the heat has started coming on - coming home to a cold raw roast would be sad!
I usually set this up in the morning before work. It takes me about 45 minutes to get it all set up, but then it is good to go when we get home. I generally have it cooking by 7:30AM and serve it up around 5:00 PM.
Step 10: Serve and Enjoy!
When you get home from work (or errands, or just let it cook long enough while you are home) revel in the amazing smell!
Your roast may want to separate along any fat lines when you remove it from the crock. I find two large spoons work the easiest to get it out. You will probably want a slotted spoon to get out the veggies - the liquid level rises quite a bit as the roast and veggies cook down!
I generally serve this as is, though the liquid does make a tasty gravy if you feel like doing that!
I hope this helps you play around with perfecting YOUR favorite way to have pot roast! Happy eating :)