What a Crock! – Pot Roast

Now that fall really is here, I am going to try using my crockpot more often.

This weekend I made pot roasts. Yes, you read that right, roasts – plural!

I had originally intended to make pot roast last week. On Wednesday, I made a big long list of errands, hauled hubby along and made a trek into the closest town that has a shopping mall. I really should learn my lesson, because the grocery stores end their sales on Wednesdays, and they always seem to run out of the very thing(s) I go there to buy! This happened at two different grocery stores for completely different sale items I wanted to pick up; one being pot roast.

My disappointment was later lifted when I sat down after dinner with a cup of tea to peruse the stack of new weekly flyers. I am not sure what it is about that little plastic bags of flyers and the local paper, but I always look forward to them and just love relaxing on the couch and leafing through them ALL. Anyway, I was quite pleased to see my local grocery store was having the same sale on pot roast that I had previously missed out on at that other store, so I popped over Saturday evening and picked up three of them.

I can’t believe how easy it is to make delicious pot roast.  Up until a few years ago, our pot roast came out of a plastic pouch heated up in the microwave. I know those pre-cooked convenience dinners are pricey, but they were oh so good! YUM!!

I made my first pot roast last winter, after a friend was nice enough to give me some pointers. I admit, I really had no idea what cut of meat to use or what to do with it to get it to turn out so nice and tender.

I grew up in a house that did not serve all of the traditional “comfort foods”. There was never stew or soup simmering on the stovetop, nary a pot roast or Shepherd’s Pie in the oven.  In fact, I think the first time I tasted Shepherd’s Pie was in our high school cafeteria. I am not sure why, but my mother just did not seem to like those types of meals. Maybe they gave her bad childhood memories! LOL  To give her credit, she did work full-time and on weekends she sometimes cooked really good roasts (beef or pork), with mashed potatoes and gravy. 

So, I am sure you are on the edge of your seat waiting to find what the secret ingredient for delicious pot roast is…. It’s Lipton Onion Soup mix! Oh, I bet you knew that already…

My pot roast regimen:

  • For the bottom layer, I toss in a couple of cups of carrots (peeled & sliced, or use baby carrots) and about the same amount of potatoes. I use new potatoes (white, red or a combination of the two) and leave the skins on. The skins are good for you, and besides I will do anything to avoid peeling potatoes. I was the designated potato peeler when we were kids, and we had the worst peeler. I swear it was once a medieval torture device. Okay, maybe not…
  • Feel free to throw in any extra root-type veggies you have on hand (I hear some people actually like turnips). The onion soup mix has quite a bit of onion, but go ahead and add some fresh chopped onion and maybe even garlic if you like.
  • Next step, is to place your roast on top of your veggies. At this point, many of you may be yelling “Wait! You need to brown the roast!”. Well, my recipe did not include this step and it turns out just fine. I did some extensive googling on the subject yesterday, and it would seem the browning is more for presentation. If you must, go ahead and brown your roast… but to me, it is just extra pans to wash and adds more time to making an “easy” meal.
  • Back to the roast… I read some variations yesterday that involved rubbing your roast with salt and pepper or various spices. I chose to sprinkle the top of the roast with some garlic powder.
  • Now you will need a package of onion soup mix and about 2 cups of water. You can sprinkle the soup on dry and then pour the water over top or mix the soup with the water first (my preference).   By mixing it with the water, the onions will start to rehydrate a bit. Try adding a few dashes of worcestershire for some extra flavour. My friend recommends substituting a bit of red wine, if you have some on hand.
  • Cover and cook on low for 8 hours. I always plan ahead to cook on the low setting to get the most out of the slow cooking process. You may need to vary your cooking time, but that seems pretty standard with most pot roast recipes. I did a quick search, and if you are in a hurry, you can cook on high for about 4 – 6 hours. If you don’t have a slow cooker, this can be done in the oven, by sealing everything in a foil “packet”.  I found several variations on this, and no two recipes seemd to have the same temperature and cooking time. Since I haven’t tried it this way, I’m not ven going to try and make a recommendation.

Pretty soon, your whole house will be filled with the aroma of onion pot roast…

Note:  I read that pot roast freezes very well, as long as you pack it with some liquid. Apparently, the veggies will not freeze well though.

Yesterday, I cooked three roasts stacked one on top of another (no veggies). Of course, I have an oval pot, so you might have to cut yours up if you wanted to do this. I put two packets of onion soup mix in a 4 cup measuring cup and made sure it was well mixed. I sprinkled one third of the dry soup mix on the first roast, added the 2nd roast, sprinkled another third of the soup mix. I mixed the last third with 4 cups of water and poured some of the liquid over the 2nd roast. Then I stacked the third roast on top and poured what was left over the top. This insured my top layer did not have dry onions sitting on the top, and they stayed put and didn’t get washed down to the bottom when I poured the liquid over. 

Once they were done, we removed all the bones and any large pieces of fat.  The meat was tender and juicy and just fell of the bone. We then put the meat and juices into separate containers in the fridge to allow them to cool overnight. We didn’t mix the juices with the meat, because there was a lot of fat that we want to remove, and it’s easier to skim off once it’s cold. Today we’ll divvy them up into ziploc freezer bags, and keep one serving out for dinner. Since I didn’t make veggies with the pot roast, I’ll probably make up a batch of roasted potatoes and onions in the oven.

By the way, hubby did a taste test on the roast and said it was “Delicious!”.

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