I haven't posted an entree recipe in a while, and -- oddly -- I don't think I've ever posted a beef recipe. Well, if you're one of those people seeking a relatively effortless weeknight meal, today's your lucky day. I can't help with the political situation. And I certainly can't heal the economy. But I can do something about dinner.
Provided you have a slow cooker.
Local chef Jesse Ziff Cool's cookbook Simply Organic (Chronicle Books, 2008) has given me the first slow cooker recipe -- ever -- I'm actually excited to make again. And that's ironic because her Harvest Pot Roast is the only slow cooker recipe in her entire 248-page cookbook.
I got my slow cooker as a wedding gift from a friend and colleague back in 1994. But until last week, precisely 14 years later, I'd never really fallen in love with it. Why? Because slow cooker recipes can be awful. Many call for canned, processed ingredients, and those that don't often require irritating advanced prep. I mean, if I have to sear the meat beforehand or measure out 18 things, it's not such a time-saver.
This recipe's different. The only effort I had to exert was trimming the fat from the meat, chopping a few vegetables (onions, carrots, mushrooms, garlic) and whisking together three pantry staples (ketchup, Dijon, Worcestershire). Done. Nine hours later I had tender, juicy, beefy perfection.
I will say that even though I nibbled on the roast that evening as it cooled, I didn't serve it until 24 hours later. You certainly don't need to follow suit, but I like refrigerating dishes like this overnight and discarding the hardened fat on top. When I'm ready to serve, I just microwave the whole thing in the original, but de-fattened, juices.
Recipe for Harvest Pot Roast (Courtesy of Jesse Ziff Cool, Simply Organic, Chronicle Books, 2008)
Happily, I received explicit permission from the publisher to post this recipe verbatim. My only added suggestion is to transfer the roast, vegetables, and juices to a microwave-safe container, cool it slightly, and refrigerate it, covered, overnight. The next day, use a spoon to lift off and discard the layer of hardened fat that sits on top. Microwave until hot.
1 large onion, cut into thick slices
2 carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces
12 ounces mushrooms, quartered
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 can (14-1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes, drained
1 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 chuck roast (2-1/2 to 3 pounds), trimmed of all visible fat
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Combine the onion, carrots, mushrooms, garlic, and tomatoes in a slow cooker. In a small bowl, combine the ketchup, mustard, and Worcestershire sauce. Top the vegetables with half of the ketchup mixture.
Place the roast over the vegetables and sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Spread the remaining ketchup mixture over the roast. Cover and cook on low for 8 to 9 hours, or until the meat is very tender.
Let the meat rest for 10 minutes before slicing.