Monday, September 8, 2008

crock pot roast: salt & brown®

I don't know what got the ball rolling for this meal. It could have been Summer's husband, Daniel, musing about roast beef and yorkshire pudding the other day. It might have been the glimpse I caught on Tastespotting of some nice looking roasted red potatoes. It might just be that I'm a little excited by our recent fall weather, and I was in the mood for something hearty. It all came together when we were trying to come up with something easy to cook for today, since we knew we'd be baby-sitting my sister's kids. (It's her birthday. Happy birthday!) So, crock pot roast it is!


Speaking of Tastespotting, I tend to use it as my go-to for recipes instead of google now. It's great because I can just do a quick search, glance at the pictures, and click on something that looks good. GOD BLESS YOU, TECHNOLOGY. (I can't be held responsible for subsequent tastespotting addictions in our readers. It's not my fault, dudes.) I checked out a simple recipe and used it as a stepping stone for what I wanted to do. I'm perfectly comfortable throwing chicken into the crock pot, but when it comes to a large hunk of beef, I was feeling a little lost. Luckily, I was pointed in the right direction, and in typical Alice fashion, I slopped something together using a basic list of ingredients.


I quickly chopped up some (not too pretty- it's just going to turn to mush over the course of the day):


and tossed them together in the bottom of the crock pot.
I plopped a big hunk of tri-tip on top, and glugged in about half a bottle of red wine.
Finished off with a drizzle of olive oil and some salt & pepper, and set the crock pot to low for the next 7 hours. I love crock pots, guys.


As a side, I just did your standard oven-roasted potatoes. You know, diced red potatoes coated in olive oil & sprinkled with some rosemary & garlic powder, baked at 400ºf until crispy and browned. But then I got ambitious. My husband usually rolls his eyes a little when I mention crock pot cookery. I know, I'm making him sound like such a snob! "Ooh, blah blah! MY husband went to CULINARY SCHOOL, and he says this. Wah wah wah." I suspected that maybe he was put off by the "set it and forget it" style of cooking, like maybe he thought it wasn't good because it is lazy people food. I asked him why he isn't that interested in the crock pot, and he said that he thinks all crock pot food tastes the same. I hesitate to say he's flat-out wrong, though. It kind of... does. I mean, I think part of it is that when you roast meat in a crock pot, what you end up with is really tender meat and REALLY caramelized vegetables- the BROWN of salt & brown®, if you will. The only thing is, I AM TOTALLY OKAY WITH THAT. I think it's delicious, AND it makes my life a lot easier to put a roast together at 10 a.m. and just go about my business for the rest of the day. It's total housewife cookery, for sure. So, with that in mind, I decided to go ahead and just go all-out. While my potatoes were in the oven and my green beans were steaming, I poured most of the juice out of the crock pot into a bowl and set it aside, turning the crock down to "warm." I tossed together a quick roux (my first roux ever- this was also adapted from a passing glance at a stranger's blog post about gravy.) with just like, 2 tbsp of butter and a couple handfuls of flour, and whisked it over medium heat until it began to turn a nutty brown. At that point I started adding the reserved (and strained) liquid in small amounts, until I had a thick brown gravy. I added a couple liberal pinches of salt, cracked in some pepper, and lo, brown gravy was born. Spooned over the tender, shredded meat- the gravy made the dish. It took it from that "hey, this is pretty good" level, straight up to "MOM FOOD" territory. Totally awesome.


The only thing I was missing at the table were some dinner rolls. Luckily, I've found a really promising-looking recipe, and as soon as I pick up some eggs, I have big plans for rolls. I want to get a few practice batches out of the way before thanksgiving, since I decided to make rolls for everyone this year. Wish me luck!


cindy* said...

i am seriously thinking of investing in a crock pot. this looks like the perfect fall time meal.

The Fabulous One said...

I saw the first picture and was like "OMG SOUP TIME" and then I was like "Oh... OMG CROCKPOTS!" Becuase, I may not do meat, but I sure do love my crock pot.

AJ said...

I love my crockpot. And you can make some really tasty meals that taste like nothing you've had before. Stephanie at A Year of Crockpotting has a recipe for Vietnamese style chicken that is absolutely fabulous.

class-hero said...

Crock pots are amazing things, I do spagetti, chicken, cook the meat for tacos, beef roasts, pork roasts, soups, chili, etc. It's THE single best thing if your goal, at least meat wise, is tender, juicy meat.

I'm definitely going to try this recipe in a week-- I've usually used water and some gravy to cover the meat, as opposed to a red wine, but that sounds delicious.

Corn, I have also found, is tasty to toss into a roast-- I also somewhat prefer tossing cut potatoes (at the proper time, mind you: if tossed in too early they just dissolve, if too late you have half-raw potatoes) into the mix. Two to three hours before it's done is a good time to do that, at a rough guess.

I have to say I'm rather headdesking about the garlic, in a why DIDN'T I think of doing that?!?!

I also find that just changing the beef to pork can make for an equally tasty, delicious meal.

natxavier said...

The only liquid in the crock pot was half a bottle of red wine? Was that enough? I think I'm just used to soupier roasts that produce a good bit of beef stock.

Sounds delicious, though, I'm itchin' to pull out the crock pot now :D

Stephanie said...

I made this last night, and it was fantastic! I don't think I like the wine I used, but nevertheless it worked. You were definitely right about the gravy, it made the dish. I just recently found your blog, and I love your recipes, they are easy to follow and tasty!

Warthog said...


I love crock-pot cooking and this sounds delish!!! I have a roast in the freezer that I'll have to try... maybe with popovers.

My one disagreement is to use Tri-tip for a roast!!!! It is the best meat on the grill if cooked correctly to medium-rare! And it is super sliced cold as left-overs. I would never roast it.

A cross-rib roast is one of my new favorites. It has big areas of meat with little extra fat and no bones. It can be roasted medium-rare, or cooked till it falls apart.

Let me know if you need a fab, no-fail grilled tri-tip recipe. It was started on the Central California coast!