Thursday, March 23, 2006
The perfect pot roast
Slow-Cooker Pot Roast with Caramelized Onion Gravy
The Essential Eating Well Cookbook Copyright 2004
1 4-pound boneless top or bottom round beef roast, trimmed of fat, twine on
(I didn't trim or tie my roast)
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 large onions, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
½ cup brewed coffee or 1 teaspoon instant coffee granules dissolved in ½ cup boiling water
I used brewed coffee
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons cornstarch, mixed with 2 tablespoons water
1. Season beef with salt and pepper. Heat ½ tablespoon oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add beef and sear until well browned on all sides, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a 4-quart slow cooker.
2. Add remaining ½ tablespoon oil to skillet; reduce heat to medium. Add onions and cook, stirring, until softened and golden, 5 to 7 minutes. Add garlic and thyme; cook, stirring, for 1 minute more. Stir in coffee and vinegar; pour onion mixture over beef.
3. Cover and cook on high until beef is tender but not falling apart, about 4 ½ hours. Transfer beef to a cutting board, tent with foil and let rest for about 10 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, pour juices from slow cooker into a medium saucepan. Skim off fat. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the cornstarch mixture to the pan. Cook, whisking constantly, until gravy has thickened slightly, about 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper.
5. Remove twine from beef and carve. Serve with gravy.
Makes about 12 servings, with 4 cups gravy. Per serving: 174 calories, 6 G fat, 67 mg chol,
4 G carbs, 32 G protein, 0 G fiber, 99 mg sodium
I was skeptical about this recipe. I was sure the meat would be tough since the roast I used (I can't remember if it was bottom round or some kind of rump roast or is there even a difference?) is one without a lot of fat running through it. I usually roast it at a high temperature and serve it medium-rare. But this meat was perfect. Tender but not stringy. I've never had such a perfectly cooked piece of beef come out of the slow cooker. I cooked this the night before and when it was time to serve it, I heated and thickened the gravy on the stovetop and I sliced the beef and wrapped it in foil and heated that in the oven.
I couldn't make my mind up about the gravy. When I took it out of the slow cooker I wasn't thrilled with it (I didn't season it with salt and pepper until I reheated it). But I was congested and my taste buds weren't performing at their peak so it was hard for me to judge it. When I ate it with the beef, I felt like it should be sweeter but that's only because I'm used to sweet gravies since most of the stews I've been making have some brown sugar added to them. In the end, I decided I really did like the gravy, it was just more 'sophisticated' than I'm used to but that's a good thing. We really need to get away from the sweet stuff.
This is one of my new cookbooks, from Eating Well. I think I'm going to like it. It's a bit fancy, but not over the top.
Question of the Day: Do you own a slow cooker? How often do you use it?