Anyone else have a white flag of surrender waving re: cabin fever? I feel like I just got done with Motherhood Olympics, a contest where your only goal is survival, and your hurdles include a husband on a weeklong business trip across the country, a snow storm with 2 snow days from school and a stomach flu shared by one and all including the momma. Translation: you will not be leaving your house for 8 days. Seriously I am not proud of how much you can beg/yell at your kids to please stop talking to you for a minute.
BUT….now that we are all feeling better I am trying to find the sweet spot in the heart of Winter with cozy easy meals. So let’s start with a classic…pot roast. But let’s make it SUPER easy…with a crock pot.
I know a lot of you ladies and gents love a good Lipton Onion Soup + Roast treatment for pot roast, and I have done it. But something about this flour coating on the roast + homemade red wine gravy on the top does it for me. Plus nothing beats all the fresh herbs cooked low and slow with meat.
You start by putting flour, salt and pepper on your roast, then browning it in a pan. (Don’t forget to save these pan drippings to make the gravy on top! )
Then you layer it with yummy veggies….
And let it cook on low for 8 hours (4-6 on high if you are in a pinch but low & slow makes it fall apart tender).
You can pull out the meat and let it rest when it is done cooking, then slice it.
If you have a chance to make mashed potatoes they soak up this yummy gravy really well. If not, just grab some from the store pre-made (along with a bottle of red wine) and add some chives. No one will know the difference and you will feel like you outsmarted the world.
I also love that there are usually leftovers to make beef stroganoff or beef and barley soup with. Or a yummy sandwich the next day.
Carry on you warriors of winter. Spring will come, but until it does, I hope this warms your bellies.
Crock Pot Pot Roast (printer version here)
One 4-pound beef chuck roast
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for coating
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 medium carrots, cut into 2-inch pieces
3 stalks celery, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
1 medium onion, cut into 1/2-inch wedges
3 cloves garlic, mashed
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup red wine
3 cups low-sodium beef broth
3 bay leaves
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 cup loosely packed parsley leaves, chopped
Sprinkle the roast all over with 2 1/2 teaspoons salt and 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper. Coat in flour and shake off any excess. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the roast to the skillet and cook until golden brown on all sides, about 8 minutes, turning as needed. Transfer the roast to the insert of a 6-quart slow cooker, along with the carrots, celery, onions and garlic.
Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the skillet over medium heat. Add the tomato paste and stir until the oil begins to turn brick-red, about 1 minute. Add the flour and wine and whisk until thick (it’s OK if there are some lumps). Add the beef broth, bay leaves, thyme, allspice, 1/2 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper and bring to a simmer, whisking, until the gravy is smooth and thickens slightly, about 4 minutes.
Pour the gravy into the slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours. The roast and vegetables should be tender.
Remove the roast and let rest for a few minutes. Discard the thyme stems and strain the vegetables, reserving the gravy. Toss the vegetables with half the parsley and season with salt and pepper. Stir the remaining parsley into the gravy and season with salt and pepper. Slice the roast against the grain. Serve the meat and vegetables on a platter, moistening them with some of the gravy; serve the remaining gravy on the side.
Source: The Food Network