[63] Italian-Style Pot Roast

Cover of Cook Once, Eat Twice

Confession time:

“Michelle”:http://www.metacookbook.com/archives/66-Cherry-Pie-For-Michelle.html got this recipe before anyone else did. She specifically asked for an easy recipe in a recent e-mail. Since I’d just made this pot “roast” and it’s companion recipe, they were right on my mind. And, truly, they are easy. When she asked me to post about the cherry pie it was so my readers would know that even someone who makes a lot of “fancy” meals pulls out a can from time to time.

Well, y’all, this is that time. I wanted a slow-cooker recipe for last Friday, because I tend to be out in the afternoons during prime “cooking prep time”. Frankly, while I can still get a meal on the table when I get home, the thought of just having dinner be ready whenever Bill and I were was sublime. However, as “I’ve mentioned in the past”:http://www.metacookbook.com/archives/83-43-Meat-Sauce,-Bolognese-Style.html, mornings are not my best time for cooking. So jars and cans and things from the freezer are a lot more likely to come into play.

h2. Ingredients

2 tsp minced garlic (It’s fine to use garlic powder, but I don’t know the conversion.)
1 tsp salt

1 tsp dried basil

1 tsp dried oregano (We used ground dried.)

1/4 tsp red pepper flakes

1 boneless beef bottom round roast or chuck roast

1 large onion, quartered then sliced thinly

1 1/2 c tomato-basil OR marinara pasta sauce

2 15 oz cans white beans, rinsed and drained

1/4 c fresh basil or parsley (This is sort of a garnish)

h2. Instructions

Mix together garlic, salt, basil, oregano, red pepper flakes, then rub all over the roast. Cut the roast in half.

Put half the onions in the bottom of the crockpot, put half the roast on top of that. Then the rest of the onions, then the rest of the roast. Pour the pasta sauce over the top, then cover and cook on LOW 8 – 9 h.

Remove the roast from the pot, then tent it with foil to keep warm. Turn off the crock pot for 5 min and keep uncovered. Allow the fat to rise and skim off whatever rises in the 5 minutes. Then turn it to HIGH, dump in the beans and cook for 15 – 30 minutes; until the beans are warm.

Slice up the roast, serve it with beans and basil/parsley on top. Once you’re done with dinner and the remaining roast has cooled some, slice/shred it into bite-sized pieces and refrigerate until tomorrow.

h2. Cooking and Consumption Notes

h3. Cooking

The goal here was SIMPLE, and boy did I get it. Thankfully. I’ve had a few cookbooks that seemed simple and either failed to be simple to cook or were too simple tasting.

If you use fresh garlic, as I did, note that it won’t stick to the roast well. While I know many foodies consider garlic powder to be an abomination unto the lord/flying spaghetti monster/cast-iron skillet, I just can’t get too fussed about it. This may be why I’m a “foodie” and not a foodie1. Or something. Anyway, garlic powder will be a bit more bitter and slightly stronger, and you’ll likely want to use less of it, but it will mix much more easily with the rest of the rub. Hell, given the lack of garlic taste in this thing, maybe a stronger kick is needed. Go to town with ye-old-garlik-powder

There’s no reason given in the book why you’re supposed to cut the roast in half. I’m going guess that they test cooked in a round slow-cooker, and so that’s how it would fit. If you’ve got a large-ish oval one (like one of mine is), this step is completely useless. Just toss half your onions in, the roast on top of that, and then top the roast with the onions and the sauce.

Not much fat will rise to the top during the 5 minute “rest”. Accept this now and just do your best. Given the amount of fat that rose off my leftover sauce (to be later used in minestrone soup), I suspect you’ll want to do what you can here, rather than ignoring it. But I won’t judge you for skipping this step, because it’s pretty minimal.

For beans, I did use canned, oh yes I did. One can white, one can kidney. Because that’s what I had on hand. Needless to say, it worked fine. I suggest giving it the whole 30 min “cook”, though. We only gave it about 20 minutes, and the beans could have used some extra heat. This is especially true because your beef will cool off some in that time, even with the foil tent, and it’s nice to be able to amp that up.

h3. Consumption

The tomato sauce mostly stayed on top of the roast, which was a little unexpected. So it kind of “reduced” and made a thick glaze on the meat while the water part dripped down toward the bottom of the cooker. I think I’d put the sauce in the bottom to start with if I cooked this again. This is especially true because the “glaze” wasn’t really a glaze and was easily knocked off the meat to plop into the liquid below. It was just weird, and resulted in neither the meat or the liquid “sauce” having much tomato taste. Boo.

The recipe calls for about a million beans. We had just tons of them leftover. They are also to become minestrone at some point. I suggest making it with just one can, and seeing how that goes for your bean tastes.

A pretty solid dish, for what it is. It’d be unfair to compare it, flavor-wise, the the lasagne from a few weeks ago, but it wipes the floor with time-spent. This is totally a week-night meal, especially if you have a removable crock from your slow-cooker. Then, if you want to set it up the night before, refrigerate and just start cooking it in the morning with no morning investment, you really can. Super easy.

fn1. Actually, I suspect the fact that I entertain recipes like this one at all is the reason I’m “only” a “foodie”, and the willingness to use garlic powder is just canned-icing on the from-mix-cake. 😉