Braising Challenge: Slow Cooker Pot Roast with Tomatoes

I issued the Braising Challenge because Fall is the best time to break out the slow cooker and pot roast is a great place to start.  Nearly everyone likes it, it’s economical, it makes leftovers, and it cooks while you’re doing something else.  It’s also an ideal way to cook grassfed meats, which tend to have less fat than conventional meat.  A long slow bath in liquid makes the meat just melt.  I used a very flavorful grassfed chuck roast from Falling Sky Farm for this recipe.

I have made many different versions of pot roast but the sauce in this one is complex and delicious, perfect spooned on top of sour cream mashed potatoes.  Sound perfect? Let’s get started:

Slow Cooker Pot Roast with Tomatoes
Adapted from Epicurious
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3/4 pound carrots, peeled and sliced 1 in. thick
  • 1/2 pound turnips or parsnips, peeled and sliced 1 in. thick
  • 1/4 c. minced fresh ginger (optional, but good)
  • a 28- to 32-ounce can whole tomatoes
  • a 3-pound beef chuck roast
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/c cup dry red wine, such as cabernet
  • 2 cups beef or chicken broth
  • 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme, crumbled
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled

Get started the night before–pat chuck roast dry and season with salt and pepper. In a heavy skillet (cast iron if you have it), heat oil over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking and brown roast VERY WELL on all sides.  It should be dark brown.  Transfer roast to slow cooker and reduce skillet heat to medium.  Add onion to skillet and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until golden. Add garlic and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add wine and simmer, scraping up any brown bits on bottom of pan, 5 minutes.  Stir in Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, ginger, tomatoes, bay leaves, thyme, and oregano and simmer 5 minutes.  Add carrots, parsnips and/or turnips on top of roast in slow cooker, and then pour mixture simmering in pan on top.  Add broth.  You can refrigerate overnight or start cooking right away.  Cook on low 7-8 hours.  If you prefer to cook it on the stovetop, use a dutch oven and simmer for 2 1/2- 3 hours, or until tender.

Serves 4-6