Saturday, May 4, 2013

Weekend Cooking..Italian Pot Roast

Last week, I decided to make pot roast.
Now that might not seem like a big deal, but I don't really like pot roast. Or at least I didn't.

My mother used to make pot roast on a regular basis when we were kids, in her cast iron dutch oven. And while I loved the gravy, which was wonderful on some noodles, which I also love, the meat, however, I was not that fond of. Sorry mom, God rest her soul, but I thought it was rather dry and tough. But so long as there was that gravy and noodles, who could complain?

Then I was reading one of my favorite cookbooks, Slow Cooker Revolution by America's Test Kitchen.
Yes, them again. Get over it. :-)
And they had a couple of pot roast recipes. But here was the different. They used chuck roasts, not the round roast my mother used. So I tried it.
And I liked it.
A lot.
Fall apart tender. Tasty. With a rich gravy.
And in the slow cooker, very easy.

Italian Pot Roast
adapted from Slow Cooker revolution
2 (2 1/2-3 pounds each) boneless chuck roasts, tied  with butcher twine
2 medium onions, chopped
4-6 carrots, cut in 2 inch pieces
3-4 parsnips, cut in 2 inch pieces
6 garlic cloves
1 cup dry red wine
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons dried oregano leaves
2 bay leaves
1 (28 ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
6 small red skin potatoes, cut in half
3/4 cups low sodium beef broth

Season roasts with salt and pepper. Brown roasts in a skillet on all sides in 1 tablespoon of oil. Put roasts in slow cooker.  In your skillet, add remaining tablespoon of oil. Cook onions, carrots, parsnips, tomato paste and garlic until lightly browned. Add wine, scraping up any brown bits in pan, then red pepper flakes, oregano, and bay leaves. Turn the heat to high and simmer until wine is reduced by half. Add tomatoes and bring to a boil.

Pour over the roasts in slow cooker pot. Add beef broth and the . Cover and cook on low for 8 - 9 hours or high for 6 - 7 hours, until meat is tender. Remove meat, skim fat from liquid, and puree until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
Serve with mashed potatoes, noodles or polenta. 

There is meat in there with the noodles, believe me.

Yes, I made some changes from the original recipe, mostly because I did not want to go to the store again. They soaked and added porcini mushrooms...and they cooked 8 ozs. of bacon, used the fat to brown the meat and veg and added the bacon into the pot.
Now I love bacon and I love mushrooms, so if I had remembered to get them, they would have been in there. And if you check the original recipe, you will see I reversed the amount of the liquids, more wine, less broth.

Also, I added more vegetables. Which, with the lack of porcini, might make it less Italian but my mom always added potatoes, so I did too. And I had a few parsnips in the frig and they seemed perfect to add, so in they went. If I had not forgotten them too, I would have added some baby onions too..a shame.
Yes, I need to start making a list.
And take it with me.

Most important of all, I think, is that I cooked it in two parts.
I followed the directions above and set it to cook overnight in the crock pot. Then in the morning, I removed the meat and veggies and poured the remaining liquid into a separate container and put them all in the fridge. Then come dinner time, I could take the fat off the top of gravy, so it was not at all greasy, poured it in back into a big pot, thickened it with some flour if needed , test the seasoning and put the meat and veg back in to reheat for a couple of minutes.
The ultimate comfort dinner...and even best left over the next day.

This is my contribution this to this week's Weekend Cooking.
"Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend."
Be sure to check out the other entries this week. As always, hosted by Beth Fish Reads.


  1. Caite, sounds yummy and looks delicious! Thanks for sharing the recipe. Happy Weekend!

  2. Oh you can talk about ATK any old time you want. I have this cookbook, by the way, and have made this recipe. It is amazing. Everything in that cookbook is amazing. Now if only I could get my slowcooker back. See, my beloved All-Clad slow cooker insert, which was non-stick, began to flake, so I returned it to the manufacturer to get a new one. I did that, oh back before Christmas. And what do I discover? The insert is on backorder and is STILL on backorder. A couple of days ago I called them for about the fourth time and threw the biggest fit on earth, until they agreed to send me an entire new one. How I've lived for six months without a slow cooker is a tough question to answer.

    1. oh my, what a tragic and sad story. But happily your hissy fit won out!

  3. Never question ATK! I love them. I haven't made this recipe (though I own the cookbook) -- am marking it now as a must try.

  4. Hm, I've never liked pot roast either. I have this cookbook - it sounds like I need to check out the recipe.

  5. This looks and sounds delicious. I never liked my mother's pot roast, and would have preferred noodles too! She didn't make it very often, so maybe she didn't really like it either. ;)

  6. We never ate pot roast when I was growing up (my Dad didn't like it), but my husband loves it so I have experimented with various recipes over the years. This one sounds like a winner and I will have to try it. The best one I have found so far is an indian one from Aarti Party on the Food Network. It was DELICIOUS!

  7. there's nothing better than a pot roast! I make one similar to this one, and - it just tastes good! Happy you rediscover (and reinvent) the pot roast recipes!

  8. Ok, this sounds really good. Good idea to do it in 2 parts too. Cheers

  9. Wow, my husband and sons would love this. I'm pinning this recipe.

  10. I'm going to look for a chuck roast as I also find the round roasts somewhat dry. Thanks.

  11. ps. use a thermometer and you won't kill your yeast, I learned the hard way.

  12. I love any kind of roast. This recipe does sound very good. I've never made a roast with all those ingredients.
    Here's My WC


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