There is a great scene in Wedding Crashers where a middle-aged, pajama-clad Will Ferrell yells to his mom (who is in the kitchen) from his seat in front of the TV, “MA! The meatloaf! We want it NOW!” Whenever I make the retro dishes that RJ loves so much — Meatloaf, Beef Stroganoff, Mac n’ Cheese, Pot Roast, I always think of that scene. Something about being that faceless mother figure with a boy who only eats meat and noodles. Strange, I know. Anyhoo… this pot roast is full of retro goodness, complete with slow cooker appliance and a can of Campbell’s soup. I may be more than a little hypocritical, given this previous post and my known distaste for processed food products, but for some reason I just really wanted to try this recipe. And it came out really well. I feel shame…
I have a couple versions of pot roast in my arsenal, but this one is great for the slow cooker. The tender meat and the beefy-tomato sauce basically epitomize comfort food, especially when draped over fresh linguini pasta (from Dave’s). Even my recalcitrant husband ate up all of his carrots since, as he said, they were the perfect size. Finally, the swirl of balsamic vinegar added right before serving added just the right amount of acidic zip to wake up the palate. I highly recommend this recipe for two reasons: dinner #1 and dinner #2 (aka Leftovers). Dinner #2 involves stirring shredded leftover pot roast into a homemade tomato sauce with red wine and lots of garlic. A healthy dose of parmesan cheese and a side of garlic bread are all that’s needed to round out the meal (for RJ anyway — I would recommend some salad or greens as well!). Here’s a look at that ragú on cheese ravioli:
Easy Pot Roast with Rich Tomato Gravy, adapted from The 150 Best Slow Cooker Recipes
3-4 lbs. beef pot roast (cross rib, rump, or chuck roast)
1 Tbs. vegetable oil
2 onions, thinly sliced
3 stalks celery, peeled and thinly sliced
3 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. dry mustard
1/2 tsp. dried thyme leaves
1 tsp. salt
1/4 to 1/2 tsp. cracked black peppercorns
2 Tbs. flour
1 can (10 oz.) condensed tomato soup
1/2 c. condensed beef broth (undiluted)
1 Tbs. Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbs. packed brown sugar (optional)
2 Tbs. balsamic or red wine vinegar (optional)
Pat roast dry with paper towel. In a skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add roast and cook, turning, until brown on all sides, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer beef to slow cooker insert.
Reduce heat to medium. Add onions, celery, and carrots to pan and cook, stirring, until vegetables are softened. Add garlic, mustard, thyme, salt and pepper and cook, stirring for one minutes. Sprinkle mixture with flour and stir. Add tomato soup and beef broth and stir to combine, cooking until thickened. Stir in Worcestershire sauce.
Pour sauce mixture over roast, cover and cook on Low setting for 10 to 12 hours or on High setting for 5 to 6 hours. Remove roast from slow cooker and place on serving platter. Stir in brown sugar and vinegar, if using, to pan juices. Pour sauce over roast or serve in a separate sauceboat.
If you want to plan ahead you can cook the vegetables and sauce the night before, and store it in the refrigerator. The next morning, brown roast (this step may also be skipped if you are really pressed for time, though the browning really adds flavor), put the meat in the slow cooker, then pour the sauce over the beef.
Another option would be to cook the whole recipe the day before you’re serving and store the sauce and meat together in the fridge. The next night, slice the roast and place slices in a casserole dish, covered with the sauce. Bake in a 350 degree oven until warmed through (or simmer on the stovetop until piping hot).