Yep. We have officially reached what I like to refer to as the “Pot Roast Weather” time of year. When there’s a chill in the air, and my toes are cold, there’s nothing better than a cozy, warm plate of comfort food to make the world right again.
This is an Italian inspired spin on traditional pot roast that my family really enjoyed, and the fact that it is a simple slow cooker meal helped me to enjoy it even more.
The first lesson of today is: Never underestimate the power of a couple of slices of bacon. To begin this recipe, I sizzled up some bacon that I’d diced up until it was nice and crisp.
The bacon would be added into my sauce eventually, but the bacon grease would be used to help cook down my veggies a bit before adding them to the slow cooker.
Once the bacon had cooked up nice and crisp, I removed it and then added some chopped onion, minced garlic, carrots, oregano, and tomato paste to the pan.
I gave the mixture a good stir, making sure that the tomato paste was distributed evenly, and then I let the veggies cook until they were just starting to brown up, about eight to ten minutes more. Then, I deglazed the pan with some red wine.
As the veggies were cooking, I took my five-pound beef chuck roast and cut it into two smaller roasts. Cutting the large roast in half just helps the meat cook a little more consistently. I wanted the meat fork tender, but I didn’t want it falling apart in my sauce, so I tied each roast with some twine, and sprinkled them with salt and pepper.
Once the veggies were done, I added them to my slow cooker along with a large can of crushed tomatoes, some chicken broth and a couple of bay leaves. Then, I nestled my bundled little roasts down into the sauce.
Side Note: Have you discovered Slow Cooker liners yet? Oh my gosh. Whoever invented these is my new best friend. Talk about easy cleanup!
Once the roasts were settled and content, I put the lid on the Crock Pot and walked away for the rest of the day.
When everyone was home for the day and we were ready to eat, I removed the roasts from the sauce, and let them rest for a little while, as I skimmed the fat from the sauce, seasoned it a bit more and added some chopped parsley.
I served our pot roast over creamy Parmesan polenta, but you could absolutely serve mashed potatoes with it, or even pasta. Whatever floats your comfort food boat.
The beef was deliciously fork tender, and the braised carrots and sauce were perfectly delectable. Plus, as an added bonus, it made enough for me to freeze for a second “on the fly” meal.
My daughter, Avery, who insisted she hated pot roast as I was getting the table ready, and got squirmy when I asked her to try some, had a hard time containing her smile when she did indeed try some and figured out that she liked it! (For those of you keeping track, Avery now likes both pork AND pot roast. We are slowly, but surely, moving away from the “Just Chicken Fingers, Please” kid. Merry Christmas to me!)
SLOW COOKER ITALIAN STYLE POT ROAST
Adapted from America’s Test Kitchen
- 6 slices bacon, chopped
- 2 onions, chopped
- 5 carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
- 6 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tsp. dried oregano
- 2 Tbsp. tomato paste
- ½ tsp. red pepper flakes
- ½ cup dry red wine
- 1 (28 oz.) can crushed tomatoes
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 (5-6 lb) boneless beef chuck roast, cut in half, and tied with twine
- salt and pepper
- ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
- In a large skillet, crisp up the bacon over medium heat. Transfer the bacon to your slow cooker, but leave the drippings in the pan.
- Add the onions, carrots, garlic, oregano, tomato paste and red pepper flakes to the pan. Stir to combine, and cook over medium-high heat until the veggies have softened a bit and are just beginning to brown, 8-10 minutes.
- Stir in the wine, scraping up any browned bits. Add the veggie mixture to the slow cooker.
- Stir the tomatoes, chicken broth and bay leaves into the mixture in the slow cooker.
- Season the tied roasts with salt and pepper, and nestle the meat down into the sauce.
- Cover, and cook on HIGH for 5-7 hours, or LOW for 9-11.
- Transfer the roasts to a cutting board. Tent with foil, and allow to rest for 10-20 minutes.
- Let the sauce settle for a bit, and then spoon off the fat from the surface. Remove the bay leaves, and stir in the parsley. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Remove the twine from the roast, and slice the roasts. Spoon the sauce and veggies over the roast to serve.