Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Best. Pot. Roast. Ever.

Usually when it comes to food, there's the two out of three rule: cheap, yummy, easy—pick two and call it good. But when it comes to pot roast, you really can have all three. Pot roast is inherently simpler to make than stew, in which the meat has to be dredged and seared, and the concoction can cook only so long before it disintegrates (you have to watch it). With pot roast, you assemble your ingredients, toss them into the crock pot, set the timer, and ta-da! You have supper. It even has the decency to make its own sauce.

And disintegration? No problem and part of the fun, actually. Lastly, chuck roast is a common, el cheapo cut of beef--perfect for making pot roast. Now, there is the concern about blandness. I've been served bland pot roast many a time (and I would never complain--home-cooked food is inherently good for you--food made with love has to be healthy, right?), so I sought to jazz up the bland factor with a few simple add-ins and I think it worked. My hubs said this is the best pot roast ever. I think so too (the bacon and smoked paprika give it a certain something extra) and I hope you will agree. No need to tell everyone how easy it was to prepare. Let them fawn over you. And smile, knowingly.

Best. Pot. Roast. Ever.

3 medium Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into largish cubes
5 or 6 organic carrots, peeled, sliced at extreme diagonals about two inches deep
1 medium sweet onion, halved and cut into quarters
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper, or to taste
3 cloves of garlic, whole, peeled (no need to crush)
1 tablespoon beef stock concentrate ("Better than Bouillon" brand is excellent)
3 or 4 pieces bacon, cut into inch-long pieces (no need to cook)
1 chuck roast, 2.5 to 3 lbs.
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon corn starch added to 1 cup water, dissolved

Add the veggies to the crock pot first. Plop the whole chuck on top of it. Add the other seasonings and the corn starch-water mixture. Set the crock pot to six hours on high or eight hours on low. Halfway through the cook time, turn the roast--if you are there. (If you are away from home, no worries.) When it's finished, move the chuck to a cutting board, slice out the bones (make a dog happy with those), and cut the now illegally tender beef into largish chunks. Stir to coat everything with the rich, brown sauce, and serve over rice.

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