Roast cooked in the slow cooker becomes so tender that it falls apart on the plate, eliminating any need to carve it. Instead, serve lumps of the roast with the accompanying potatoes and slather the whole dish in gravy. Slow cooking is ideal for this rustic dish, and relies on the moist cooking method of braising. The liquid should partially cover the meat and potatoes, but not submerge them. Keep the heat on low because high heat can toughen meat in the slow cooker.
Unwrap the roast. Salt it generously. Refrigerate the roast for several hours so the salt permeates the roast. This extra step adds flavor and juice.
Remove the roast from the refrigerator. Pat it dry with a paper towel so it browns well.
Heat oil in a large skillet or spray the skillet with nonstick cooking spray. Place the roast in the skillet and cook it until both sides are evenly brown. Browning a roast before placing it in the slow cooker ensures better flavor and texture.
Scrub and cut the potatoes into 2 inch cubes. Peel russet potatoes; red or gold potatoes can be cooked with the skins intact. Place the potatoes in the slow cooker and set the roast on top of them.
Season the roast and potatoes with any desired seasonings, such as thyme, rosemary, pepper or garlic.
Pour a little red wine in the skillet you used for browning the roast. Simmer the wine and use a wooden spoon or spatula to scrape the bits of beef off the bottom of the pan. Continue simmering until the wine reduces and becomes slightly thick.
Pour the wine over the beef and potatoes in the slow cooker. Add some water to the skillet and bring it to a boil. This water will collect all the remaining flavor in the pan. Pour the water over the roast and potatoes.
Cover the slow cooker and cook the roast on low for 8 to 9 hours, or until the meat is falling apart. The USDA recommends that you cook beef to an internal temperature of at least 145 degrees Fahrenheit, but the roast will likely reach 180 F, using this method.
- Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker Cookbook; Beth Hensperger
- Meat: A Kitchen Education; James Peterson
- Well Prepped: An Ingredient Trio Every Cook Should Know
- Food Safety.gov: Safe Minimum Cooking Temperatures
- For even more flavor, saute onions, carrots, celery and garlic in a skillet and add them to the roast with the potatoes. Onions, celery and carrots form the basis of many sauces and stocks and are known as mirepoix in French cooking. When the pot roast is done, you can serve the vegetables with the potatoes or puree them and combine them with the juices to make a gravy.
- Another option for making gravy -- which you'll definitely want for this dish -- is to make a roux by browning flour and butter together in a skillet. Whisk in the juices from the pot roast and stir until thickened.
Julie Christensen is a food writer, caterer, and mom-chef. She's the creator of MarmaladeMom.org, dedicated to family fun and delicious food, and released a book titled "More Than Pot Roast: Fast, Fresh Slow Cooker Recipes."