So it seems I’ve settled into a winter food/crockpot rut over the last few weeks. I feel like I’m hibernating like an alligator (apparently they are sleeping now – I did not realize that alligators hibernate). And do you know what? I’m 100% okay with both the sleeping alligators and my delicious delicious crockpot streak. This week’s glorious bounty: the Pot Roast.
Nothing says Sunday Night Family Dinner like an enormous, steaming pot roast dripping with gravy. It doesn’t matter how many friends or family arrive unexpectedly, somehow pot roast always seems to feed everyone, with leftovers for lunch! It’s like the Mary Poppins carpet bag of dinners.
Since going Nightshade free, I’ve been experimenting a lot with various ways to cook the pot roast that evoke the same aroma and the same atmosphere as those pot roasts from home. The ever-ready gravy packets are full of ‘starches’ and ‘spices’, so finding something that would work the same is not easy. This is where the Cream of Mushroom Soup from my last post comes in! I mentioned I was going to keep it in the fridge for a couple recipes, and this was one of them.
If you aren’t a mushroom soup fan, you can really use any ‘cream of’ soup you want, celery, chicken (mixing meats? You monster!), broccoli, even asparagus. If you’re Nightshade Free, you’ll want to make it yourself and stay away from canned soups. You can find my Cream of Mushroom Soup recipe here, and it is so easily adaptable, you can replace the mushrooms with anything you wish.
The soup adds a creamy richness, and mixed with the roast and vegetables as they’re cooking in the slow cooker, makes an ah-mazing almost-gravy.
Just a quick aside, when I was starting to cook my own meals, I found the meat counter to be incredibly intimidating. All I know was that there were a vague set of rules for what cut of meat can be used for what, and when half of them have ‘roast’ in the name, it can be hard to choose the right one. Between round roast and rump roast and chuck roasts, not to mention sirloin, it can be a challenge! But honestly, I usually just grab the roast that’s the right size for what I want and is on sale. A 3lb roast will make about 6 servings with veggies, so I know it will make the two of us 2 dinners and a lunch. And really, after 8 hours in the slow cooker, they are all amazingly tender and delicious!
First, we want to do a bit of prep by cooking all of our veggies in a frying pan. The best vegetables to go with a roast, in my experience, are root vegetables. While potatoes may be off the list, there are a plethora of other amazing root vegetables available! Turnips, parsnips, rutabagas or yams and of course sweet potatoes are all excellent additions to this recipe. We want earthy, wintry vegetables (I told you, hibernating!), so carrots and onions are also delicious.
In order to get the maximum flavour out of the vegetables, we’re going to cook them in a frying pan first to really release the juices and the flavour. If you want a more in-depth explanation as to why this happens, I won’t go over it here but you can read it in my Slow Cooker Chicken and Vegetable Soup post.
Then, you’ll brown all the sides of your pot roast in the frying pan.
Then place it in the pot.
The reason we’re putting the roast in on top is twofold, one, so all the delicious meat gravy drippings end up on the vegetables, and two, vegetables tend to cook slower than meat, so this way they are placed directly on the ‘cooking surface’ of the ceramic pot.
Now dump your mushroom soup over the roast and veggies. (Important note: If you’re using homemade soup from the freezer, make sure it’s defrosted completely before you put it in the crockpot, otherwise it will separate during the cooking process.)
Lastly, add a dash each of salt and pepper over the top. Ohhhh mannn, it looks and smells so good and still has 8 hours to go! This is going to be torture!
Set that baby on Low and cook for 8 hours. You can put it on high and cook for 4 if you want, but the secret to a good roast (like good ribs!) is to cook it for a long time. The longer it cooks, the more tender it becomes.
Once the 8 hours are up, pull the roast onto a cutting board, cut up and serve. Make sure to spoon some of the juice from the bottom onto the meat and veggies!
This will practically fell apart, it’s so tender! Enjoy!
- 1 3 lb pot roast
- 2 cups
- Cream of Mushroom Soup (http://halifaxbloggers.ca/isaynomato/2015/01/26/cream-of-mushroom-soup/)
- 2 sweet potatoes , diced
- 4 carrots , diced
- 1 onion , diced
- dash of salt and pepper
- OPTIONAL: 1 each of turnip , rutabaga, or parsnip
Chop potatoes, carrots and onion into small, bite-sized pieces, and cook in a frying pan until slightly soft, about 5 minutes. Transfer into slow cooker.
Brown the outsides of the pot roast in the same frying pan, and then place in slow cooker on top of veggies.
Pour the cream of mushroom soup over the roast and veggies, add dash of salt and pepper, and cover with lid.
Cook for 8 hours on Low (preferred), or 4 hours on High.
Serve and enjoy!