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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 the search for 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 researched and tested this one MANY times over the years. This real food 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 (sub: low sodium beef broth)
- 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
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 bay leaf
- 3 tablespoons avocado or olive oil, divided
- 1 (2-3 pound) chuck or rump roast, trimmed of visible fat
- Steak seasoning, to taste
- 1 large onion, diced (1 – 1 1/2 cups)
- 4 celery stalks, leaves and all, chopped (1 – 1 1/2 cups)
- 3 garlic cloves, minced (or 1 1/2 teaspoons pre-minced garlic)
- 3–5 carrots, chopped into 1-inch pieces (about 2 cups)
- 1 1/2 – 2 pounds baby gold or baby red potatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces (about 5 cups)
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Make It Now:
- In the slow cooker, whisk together the tomato sauce, red wine, chicken broth, flour, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, and garlic powder until combined. Add in the bay leaf.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Season the roast on all sides with steak seasoning and then sear on all sides in the hot pan. This takes about 2 minutes per side. Place roast in slow cooker.
- Next, 1 more tablespoon of oil (if necessary) to the pan and 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. Add these to the slow cooker.
- Add the carrots and potatoes to the crockpot. Stir everything around in the slow cooker, making sure all the veggies and meat are coated with sauce. Cover and cook on LOW for about 8 hours, or until the meat shreds easily.
- Remove the roast to a wooden cutting board and let it rest for about 10 minutes (or turn off slow cooker, remove lid and let rest). Then shred using two forks. Gently stir the meat back into the veggies and sauce. Taste and adjust seasoning, if needed.
Freeze For Later: Two methods:
- Uncooked: Follow Step 2 and set the veggies aside to cool. To a gallon-sized freezer bag, add the tomato sauce, red wine, chicken broth, flour, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and 2 teaspoons steak seasoning. Seal and shake and massage until combined. Add in the bay leaf, 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.
- Fully Cooked: Fully cook and cool the pot roast (do not leave out of refrigerator or freezer more than 2 hours). Place 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.
- 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 until the meat shreds easily.
- 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, gently stirring occasionally.