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About the Recipe
I try my hardest to cook from scratch and avoid processed foods when possible. My favorite Pot Roast recipe from the past included a brown gravy packet mix and Italian dressing packet mix…bummer!
So, I began to research how to create one without the use of those packets (full of MSG, sodium, and who knows what) or a “cream of something” soup, which is what 99% of the recipes online call for.
I realize there are many paths to an excellent homemade roast, but I have tested and tweaked this one MANY times over the years. This real food Crock Pot Roast, along with some Homemade Wheat Sandwich Bread to sop up the sauce, might well be my favorite comfort meal of all time.
Photo credit: My dad, Curt
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- 1 (8 ounce) can no-salt tomato sauce (sub: 1 cup fire-roasted crushed tomatoes)
- 1/4 cup dry red wine (recommended: Cabernet Sauvignon)
- 1 cup low sodium chicken broth or beef stock
- 2 tablespoon whole wheat flour (Gluten-free substitution: Use gluten-free 1:1 flour)
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning, crushed in hand
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, plus more to taste
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 tablespoons avocado or olive oil
- 1 (2-3 pound) chuck or rump roast, trimmed of visible fat
- Steak seasoning, to taste (sub: salt and pepper)
- 1 large onion, diced (1 – 1 1/2 cups)
- 4–5 celery stalks, leaves and all, chopped (1 – 1 1/2 cups)
- 3 garlic cloves, minced (or 1 1/2 teaspoons pre-minced garlic)
- 4–5 large carrots, chopped into 1/2-inch thick slices (2–3 cups)
- 1 1/2 pounds baby gold or baby red potatoes (cut into 1-inch pieces if they aren’t already this size)
- Optional: 2-4 stems of fresh thyme
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Make It Now:
(Note: You’ll find some shortcuts in the Cooking Notes below, if you want to save some time on these steps.)
- Mix the Sauce: In the slow cooker, whisk together the tomato sauce, red wine, chicken broth, flour, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper until combined. Add in the bay leaf.
- Sear the Roast: Pat the roast dry with paper towels and season on all sides with steak seasoning. In a large skillet (preferably cast iron), heat the oil over medium-high heat until it’s shimmery. Sear the roast on all sides in the hot pan, using tongs to turn it. This takes about 1 minute per side. Set roast aside on a plate.
- Sauté the Aromatics: Next, sauté the onions and celery just until tender, about 4 minutes. Add in the garlic during the last 30 seconds of cook time, so it doesn’t burn. Be sure to use a wooden spoon to scrape up the brown bits in the bottom, as this adds flavor.
- Combine and Slow Cook: Add the sautéd veggies, plus the carrots and potatoes and optional thyme stems, to the slow cooker. Stir until well coated in sauce. Nestle the roast down into the veggies. Cover and cook on LOW for 8-10 hours (or HIGH for 4-5 hours), or until the meat shreds easily.
- Shred the Meat & Serve: Remove the roast to a wooden cutting board and shred using two forks. Remove the bay leaf and thyme stems and discard. Gently stir the meat back into the veggies and sauce. Taste and adjust seasoning, if needed.
Freeze For Later:
Method #1 (Uncooked): (This method yields best results.) Skip Steps 1 & 2*. Follow Step 3 and set the veggies aside to cool. To a gallon-sized freezer bag, add the tomato sauce, red wine, broth, flour, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, and 2 teaspoons steak seasoning. Seal and shake/massage until combined. Add in the bay leaf, the roast, carrots, potatoes, and cooled veggies. Seal and massage the bag and make sure the potatoes are fully submerged in the liquid (they will turn brown if not). Freeze.
Method #2 (Fully Cooked): Fully cook and cool the roast (do not leave out of refrigerator or freezer more than 2 hours). Place leftovers in a freezer bag or freezer-safe container. Try to remove as much air as possible and seal and/or wrap it well before placing in the freezer.
*Note: You cannot partially cook a piece of meat and freeze it safely, so you’ll skip the searing step when freezing. It will still taste good.
Prepare From Frozen:
Method #1 (Uncooked): Thaw completely in the refrigerator (place in a dish to prevent spills). Add to the slow cooker, cover, and cook on LOW for 8-10 hours (or HIGH for 4-5 hours), or until the meat shreds easily.
Method #2 (Fully Cooked): To reheat, thaw for 24-48 hours in the refrigerator (preferred method) or in the microwave using the defrost setting. Then, warm over low to medium-low heat on the stove or in the microwave, gently stirring occasionally.
Where We Get Our Roasts: We get our beef from ButcherBox. The beef is grass-fed and curated from trusted farms. We highly recommend this service to source healthy meat–like uncured bacon, chicken, and wild salmon–and have used it for years ourselves. Read my honest ButcherBox review.
Shortcut Method: To cut down on time, try these shortcuts…
- Use prechopped celery and onions from the grocery store (look in the fresh produce area or frozen food section).
- Ask your butcher to trim off the visible fat from the roast.
- Skip Step 2 (pan-searing the roast). That step adds flavor but is not required.
- Instead of sautéing the veggies, add the chopped onions, celery, garlic, and 1 teaspoon oil to a microwave safe bowl and stir. Cover with a napkin and cook for 4-6 minutes or until very tender.