In my previous post Crock a Roast, I used a top round roast. Although the techniques used to make the roast were OK, the meat itself came out tough. A coworker who had done butchering work in a past life recommended I use either a chuck roast or bottom round – with chuck roast being preferred. The top round is too lean for the way I’m cooking it but the chuck roast has good marbling throughout.
While I’m not an avid fan of fat – I decided to try the chuck roast. Am I glad I did! It turned out beautifully. Here are the steps:
- Step 1: Chop the vegetables. Today I used carrots, Vidalia onions and potatoes. Put them into the crockpot. TIP: Vegetables go into the bottom of the crockpot – meat goes on top.
- Step 2: Season the roast. I prefer to keep it simple and let the flavor of the meat shine through. I use salt, pepper and garlic power. I oil the roast and then rub the combined seasonings on the meat prior to putting it into the pan to sear.
- Step 3: Sear the roast. Select a pan into which the roast just fits; this helps sear the edges. Heat the pan and add the meat. Let it cook for about 3 minutes on each side. Make sure you sear the sides and ends as well. You will have a nice brown color on all sides when you are finished. TIP: Use a large meat fork to hold the roast up to sear the edges.
- Step 4: Add liquid and cook. Add 1 cup of lower sodium beef broth to the crockpot and place the roast on top of the veggies in the crockpot. Set the temp to low and the timer for 6 hours.
- Step 5: Make the gravy. About twenty minutes before the roast is done, gather the ingredients for the gravy. This gravy is actually called ‘Quick Brown Sauce’ from the Joy of Cooking cookbook. I leave out the wine and port which gives me a sweeter gravy – you can adjust as you want. I use the cooking liquid from the crockpot as the broth base for my sauce. When the crockpot is done, remove the roast and veggies to a large serving dish and pour the cooking liquid into a measuring cup – you need about 2 cups for the gravy.
The ingredients are flour, sugar, butter, onions, olive oil and thyme. The recipe calls for vegetable oil; I prefer olive oil. In the picture you see 2 cups of the cooking liquid from the crockpot.
- Step 6: Following the recipe (I halved it), you will make a roux on the stove. Melt the butter and cook the onions for about 3 minutes, add the flour and cook until it is brownish – about 5 minutes. Whisk in the cooking liquid and cook until it thickens. Strain out the onions if you wish. Because I halved the recipe and left out some liquid, I had to adjust the amount of flour until the gravy was as thick as I liked.
- Step 7: Serve. TIP: I didn’t eat this at all this day – I packed it into individual lunch containers for the freezer. It made 9 servings so I estimate it would save me about $90 by eating this for lunches at work instead of going out.
Some alternatives to my method:
- Substitute other vegetables – I use celery instead of potatoes. In that case, serve with a side of noodles or make mashed potatoes
- Use the cooking liquid as-is instead of making a gravy
- Use store bought gravy instead of the cooking liquid
Let me know how you do on this…