Although there are as many recipes for Yankee pot roast as there are American cooks, every pot roast enthusiast knows a true Yankee pot roast features dark, fork-tender beef swimming in a fragrant, vegetable-studded sauce. While individual tastes differ, preparing Yankee pot roast in the slow cooker is undeniably one of the simplest and most reliable ways to make a basic version of this dish. Enjoy this version as a no-frills, no-fuss take on the New England classic or alter it with the vegetables and seasonings of your choice.
Tie the chuck roast firmly every 1 1/2 to 2 inches with lengths of kitchen twine. Dry the roast with paper towels and season it well with salt and pepper.
Heat 2 tsp. of the vegetable oil in the skillet until it just begins to smoke. Then, brown the roast on all sides for about 10 minutes. Remove the roast and put it into the slow cooker.
Heat the remaining 2 tsp. of vegetable oil in the skillet. Saute the onions and carrots with 1/4 tsp. salt for five minutes or until the vegetables are softened. Add the garlic.
Stir in the wine or 1 cup of beef broth, bring to a simmer and cook for one minute. Scrape up any browned bits from the skillet and pour the liquid over the top of the beef roast in the slow cooker.
Add the 2 remaining cups of broth, crushed tomatoes, thyme, bay leaves and red pepper flakes to the slow cooker. Use a spoon to distribute the ingredients evenly around the roast.
Cover the slow cooker and turn to the low setting. Allow to cook undisturbed for nine to 10 hours, or leave on the high setting and cook for six to seven hours.
Remove the roast, place it on a carving board and cover it loosely with aluminum foil.
Use a large spoon to skim fat from the surface of the liquid in the slow cooker. Remove the bay leaves and turn the slow cooker to the high setting. Blend the cornstarch with 2 tbsp. of cold water in a small bowl or container, add to the liquid and allow to thicken, stirring, for about five minutes.
Cut the kitchen twine off the roast. Slice and serve with the vegetables and liquid from the slow cooker.
Avoid lifting the slow cooker's lid to peek at the pot roast -- every time the lid is removed, you'll lose 15 to 30 minutes of cooking time.
You can brown the chuck roast and saute the vegetables a day in advance, then refrigerate both in separate containers. When you are ready to cook the dish, simply add the chilled ingredients to the slow cooker and continue with the recipe.
If you can't find a 5- to 6-lb. boneless beef chuck roast, substitute two 3-lb. boneless beef chuck roasts.