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ISO: slow-cooker pot roast (GF) recipes, please

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  • LJS Aug 15, 2011 09:34 AM
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Seems like every slow-cooker pot roast recipe calls for cream of mushroom soup and/or onion soup mix. Not keen on either of those ingredients, though I have no objection to adding mushrooms, onions and any root veggies that would work. Also, I am big-batch cooking these days and a portion of this roast will head to the freezer of our Celiac daughter who is expecting any day now.

Do you have a favourite recipe? even if it does call for regular flour at some point, I can adapt!

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  1. GF=Gluten Free?

    No need to use flour or any processed ingredients at all, I think. And I've always sort of thought Pot Roast is one of those things that doesn't really need a recipe, sort of like a sandwich.

    I always use a boneless Chuck Roast. Not the best shape for carving, but by far the best flavor and texture for Pot Roasting. Brown if off well (I use a non-stick skillet) and place in Crockpot. To the skillet add onion, carrot, celery and garlic to taste -- I like a lot. For a four-pound chuck roast I would say two large carrots, two ribs of celery, one to four large onions and five or ten cloves of garlic and maybe two or three (or ten. Or twenty) shallots if you have them. You may need to add some oil if the roast hasn't rendered out much fat -- I use chicken or bacon fat but you could use any lipid you like. When caramelized, add to Crockpot. Deglaze pan with 1 quart of your own home made chicken or beef stock, or use any store bought low-sodium brand you like. Some people like to also use up to a cup or two of wine of either color -- if you want to do so, do this first before you add the stock so the alcohol will cook off, as it won't do so in the Crock Pot. When everything has reached a rolling boil and the pan is clean, add to crockpot.

    Note that you don't need much liquid in the Crockpot as the roast will give off a lot of its own juice and you don't want the gravy too soupy. The roast does not need to be covered in liquid at this point.

    One thing to note is that all the recipes that call for soup or soup mix contain a lot of salt, so you'll need to add salt to taste to compensate when not using these ingredients. But be careful not to oversalt before all your gravy reduces, as it can get too salty. Salt a little at the front end, then later you can reduce your gravy if it's too thin, and then add more salt if necessary.

    If you like it tomatoey -- some people do and some people don't -- you could add some tomato paste or a can of tomatoes or even some V8 juice to the crockpot now. Here's where you might add whatever herbs you like -- maybe some thyme or bay leaves or whatever you like. Certainly some black pepper. Cook on low for 8 hours.

    If you want to cook veg and potatoes as sides to eat with the roast, add some boiling potatoes, peeled whole shallots and large chunks of your chosen veg (carrots? Turnips? Parsnips? Your choice) to the Crockpot an hour or so before serving.

    To thicken the sauce, I just remove the roast and any "eating" veg before serving, and just use a stick blender or a Cuisinart to blend the gravy with the veg you sauteed at the beginning. Alternatively, you could thicken with cornstarch or rice flour. But taste it first. If it's too thin but the flavor is good, thicken it. If it's too thin and the flavor is bland, reduce it.

    Carve and serve as normal.

    5 Replies
    1. re: acgold7

      Very useful! just one follow up question...where do you stand on the better-the-next-day question? In my traditional oven or stove-top variation, this is the case. Thanks, acgold!

      1. re: LJS

        Sure, always better the next day. But fine the first night as well.

        For next-day use, you can refrigerate the whole batch, and skim the fat and slice cold, then reheat in a 300F oven for an hour or so.

      2. re: acgold7

        Follow-up to acgold: I should have trusted your timing. MY brand-new slow cooker recipe book had a recipe for pot roast in it...I decided (and it was convenient) to use THEIR reccomendation of 12 hours at low instead of your 8. Result? delicious sauce, but definitely over-cooked beef. Still salvageable and I will do this again...BTW, I used potato starch blended into the sauce with my stick-blender to create the gravy from left-over juices, veggies et al and it was superb. That blend of veggies (and loads of garlic) really works well.

        1. re: LJS

          So when you say overcooked...did it just fall apart too much or did it get dry? Did you use a chuck roast? Chuck should stay moist because of all the fat and collagen. Glad to know the blending trick worked; I use it all the time because I like to avoid the flour if possible and also try to sneak some veg into the kids when I can... think I learned that trick from Mom.

        2. re: acgold7

          I do pretty much the same thing, except I add the carrots and potatoes at the beginning because I like the soft texture w/ the roast(perhaps a southern thing, I tend to like my veggies well cooked). The pureeing of the veg makes a nice gravy. I also use pureed steamed carrots to add to chili to thicken and add a bit of sweetness.

        3. After trying many, many pot roast recipes, I have come up with this one:
          Take a chuck roast. Cut some cloves of garlic into slivers. Cut small holes in the pot roast and insert the garlic slivers - how many will depend on the size of your roast. Season both sides of the roast with Tony Chachere's (or your favorite meat seasoning blend, or salt and pepper). Brown roast briefly in a skillet. Put roast in crockpot with one cup of beef stock/broth and a couple of shots of worcestershire sauce. Cook all day.
          I usually thicken the resulting gravy a bit. This is great served with mashed potatoes.

          2 Replies
          1. re: lawhound05

            Thanks: I am not familiar with Tony Chachere's (and will watch for it).

            1. re: lawhound05

              A bottle/can of beer can be used instead of wine or broth. Dark is nice, but any kind will do.