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"...besides love, independence of thought is the greatest gift an adult can give a child." - Bryce Courtenay, The Power of One

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Sunday, February 3, 2008

Crockpot Roast

My kitchen is in chaos. The new love of my cooking life is installed and happily chilling in there. I took some pictures to commemorate the occasion, and as soon as I unearth the camera dock, I am posting them because I know you're just desperate to see. The front remained pristine for a whole sixteen seconds before the magnets, art, bulletins, and other various stuff began covering it up, but I can still see the cool steel shining through. Ahh.

To help get the old unit clan, I pulled out the crock and started it heating this morning - that's one of the nice aspects of a crock pot, you don't need to put leftovers in a container. If there're enough of them, you can just leave 'em all in the crock and put it in the fridge.

I am now enjoying my much delayed and very much appreciated lunch. So. Hungry. That's why the kitchen is in chaos - I got too hungry to wait any longer, and really? The kitchen's always in varying states of "Holy crap, what happened in here???" It's just worse than usual right now.

Here, have a recipe, because I love to cook and share what I've made, but chances are if you're reading this, you're not here with me...so sharing the recipe is the next best thing.

Warning - if you've read the Cinnamon Roll entry, you know that my recipes usually don't have measurements, but rather include a lot of the terribly technical and precise "some". Just remember that.

Crock Pot Roast
-1 Chuck roast, of a size to fit nicely in the crock. I used a three-plus pounder last time.
-1 mediumish onion. I used a white one this time, but yellow is fine, too. Sweet ones aren't as good, I think, but it's your dinner.
-Some fresh garlic. Yes, fresh. You'll thank me. If you can't get any (what, you live in Outer Mongolia or something?? Geeze, even the Huns had garlic!), then garlic powder will suffice.
-Some fresh thyme, if you can get it. Otherwise, the dry stuff will do.
-Some sage. Again, fresh is nice, but the dry, rubbed variety does fine, too.
-Some salt. I like sea salt. You use whatever makes you happy.
-Some pepper. I like to grind mine fresh. Whatever floats your boat.
-Some clean potatoes. I used the little Yukon Gold ones, fingerling or baby, that come in a little net bag in useful amounts, but you can cut up some big ones of your favorite variety if you want to work that hard. I don't.
-Some baby carrots (I use one small bag), or big carrots washed and cut into small pieces.

There, that's the ingredients list. Now for the hard part. Nah, not really. That's another nice thing about the crock pot. It's low maintenance. Let's get going!

Cut the onion in half from root to tip. Peel it before or after, whatever is easiest for you, but peel it!! Place one half cut side down and slice thinly from root to tip. Toss about half of the slices in the bottom of the crock. If you like oniony goodness, use all the slices and then slice the other half for later.

If you're using garlic powder, head on to the salt-and-pepper step. Otherwise, peel some garlic. I use a lot. Really, a lot. Last time I made this, I was in a hurry and used less, but it was still about eight cloves. Sometimes I do a whole bulb. I have a deep love for garlic. However many cloves you want to use, peel 'em. Now comes a technical bit - you can slice them, smash them, crush them, dice them, or insult them until they're egos bruise, it's up to you. Me? I usually sort of squash them so they're still whole-ish. Drop half of them in the bottom.

If you're using dried herbs, head on to the salt-and-pepper step. Otherwise, pick out a few sprigs of thyme and fling on in with the onions and garlic. Do the same with some sage leaves.

Here we are at the salt-and-pepper step, rejoined by our powered/dried/non-fresh ingredient using friends. Hey, I understand, sometimes you just don't have stuff on hand, and it's mid-winter, and you're snowed in. It's OK!! Liberally salt and pepper your roast all over. Give it a massage with the stuff, if you like. Make friends with it, it's going to feed your family! Coat that bad-boy. If you're using garlic powder - and sometimes I do, even when I have fresh garlic happening, too - sprinkle it on, now. Same with the dried herbs. Let 'em rip! When your roast is dressed for the party, place it on top of the onions and other stuff in the crock. Push it on down, wedge it in there. In a perfect world, there's no big gap between the meat and the onions, or the meat and the sides of the crock - it's snug and cozy in there with its fragrant friends.

Now scatter the rest of your onions and garlic on top. Add some thyme and sage if you're using fresh.

Your crock should be about one third to one half-full (We're cooking - there's no pessimism in crock pottery!).

Brace yourself, it's getting complicated again! Dump the potatoes on top. Dump them all, or as many as you want, but make sure you leave room for the carrots. You don't have to use potatoes at all if you don't want - you could boil them later and mash them with some of the garlic cloves fished from the cooked roast drippings (See? I told you you'd thank me!) or roast them in the oven or whatever. It's your dinner. I'm lazy - I put them in the pot.

Dump the carrots on top, careful not to overfill the crock. The lid needs to fit right, or you'll have a dry roast. That's a tragedy not worth contemplating.

Put a lid on it, turn it on high, and walk away. No, don't add any liquid!! Put a lid on it and walk away now!

There. All done. Go to work. Home school your child. Go shopping all day for a bed, a television, and a refrigerator. Take a nap or two. Just leave the crock pot alone. It's a professional, it know what it's doing.

If you are home and you are fearful, after four or five hours you can turn it to low. I don't. It's up to you.

Doesn't your house smell yummy? Mmmm....

Just before dinner time, take off the lid. Is it bubbling away? There should be a lovely dark broth, and the potatoes and carrots should be steamed into submission. Usually I don't advocate soft-cooked veggies, but this time it's OK. The meat should be falling to pieces, totally relaxed, mellow in its tasty hot-tub.

To serve this, take a fork and grab chunks of roast. Plonk them on the dinner plate, and then add some potatoes and carrots. Voila! This is fine by itself, or with some steamed green beans sauteed in garlic, or a salad. Also, rolls or corn bread. You can butter the veggies if you want, but they shouldn't need it. If you used fresh garlic, you'll have these soft, white, lumps of flavor-wonder floating around in there - snag a couple and smush them in the potatoes or some of the roast while you're eating. Bliss!! Now go kiss your sweetie. Kidding!! Do feed your sweetie some of this roast, though.

You can make a gravy from the liquid in the crock, or save it for the next time you're making soup.

This isn't like a traditional pot roast that's been seared and placed in the oven, but it's a dandy meal anyway. Enjoy!!

1 comment:

foolery said...

I do it pretty much the same way, Kyddryn, except that I like to pan-sear it first. And it works SO well with a pork shoulder roast, too.

I am so hungry right now I can't stand it.