Sunday, November 24, 2013

Crock Pot Recipe: 24 Hour Pot Roast

Crock Pot pot roast
You know that warm, glowing feeling you get when you serve a home-cooked meal and receive genuine compliments -- and requests for second servings -- from appreciative diners?

What about that sinking feeling you get when you review photo after photo of your well-received culinary creation, and realize that not only is the recipe not photogenic, but it actually looks rather unappetizing in every shot?

That's the emotional roller coaster I rode when I made, served, tasted and photographed my 24-hour Crock Pot Pot Roast recipe:  Initial delight and a sense of accomplishment at having come up with a very simple way of preparing a super-tender, richly flavored, healthy, hearty and family pleasing pot roast dinner with surprisingly minimal effort.... followed soon by the extreme disappointment of being reminded once again that I am an utter failure as a food stylist.

Please tell me I'm not the only decent cook out there whose food regularly tastes much better than it looks in photographs....

OK, my disclaimer is now officially over. Regardless of any doubts you may be having after viewing my less-than-appealing photos of my slow-cooker pot roast, I beg you to please give this recipe a chance -- and a taste. Trust me, you won't be disappointed. And I bet you can make it look much more appealing when served, too.

Because this recipe begins with a frozen pot roast, it takes about 24 hours to cook (hence the name). But that is also what makes this recipe virtually effortless: After very minimal prep, you simply dump everything into your crock pot or slow cooker the night before, set it on Low and let it cook until the following evening. Then serve and enjoy!

1 beef chuck pot roast, approx. 3 lbs*
24 hour slow-cooker pot roast 4 carrots, peeled & cut into large chunks
1 large onion, halved then cut into wedges
1 small (approx 1/2 lb) sweet potato, diced (peeling optional)
1 can (14.5 oz) no salt added Diced Tomatoes
3/4 cup red wine**
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp reduced-sodium Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp ground pepper
1/2 tsp salt

*Select a roast that will fit in your crock pot with the lid on. Ideally, you should buy a thick squarish roast with a diameter close to that of your crock pot. If not, then you'll have to cut the roast into halves or thirds so that it will all fit in your crock pot when the lid is closed. The first time I made this recipe, I picked a roast that was too long for my crock pot and ended up spending over half an hour cutting the frozen roast into smaller chunks.

**I like using a lighter, brighter red like Tempranillo or Merlot, but feel free to use a bigger red like Cabernet Sauvignon if you prefer. As long as you use a wine you'd drink (never use the swill sold as "cooking wine"), you'll be fine.

The night before you plan on serving the pot roast, place the onion, sweet potato & carrot chunks in the bottom of your crock pot, then top with the roast. Combine remaining ingredients in a bowl and stir together. Pour over roast & vegetables, cover and cook on low until the next evening when you're ready to serve, stirring in the morning and maybe one more time later in the day. The meat should be fork-tender and the vegetables should be soft, especially the sweet potatoes which should be falling apart and thus helping to thicken the pot juices. Makes at least 6 servings.

Zestfully yours,
Carolina Sauce Company

PS: You might be wondering why my recipe calls for canned tomatoes with no salt added, and reduced-sodium Worcestershire sauce. No, I am not anti-salt or especially concerned about my sodium intake (within reason, of course). Because of the lengthy cooking time required for this recipe, I find that the flavor and texture of the finished dish are better if the lower-salt products are used. Otherwise you risk ending up with dried-out or grainy meat, or with too salty of a flavor. Plus, it's safer to err on the side of under-salting while cooking this dish, because you can always add more salt before serving or even at the table.

PS: Looking for more crock pot recipes? Be sure to visit our Crock Pot & Slow Cooker Recipes board on Pinterest.

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