Comforting Slow Cooker Pot Roast

Comforting Slow Cooker Pot RoastGive me Comfort…
When I sat down yesterday to write this post, I came up with nothing. I was having a difficult time putting together a coherent thought. To say that I was distracted by Tuesday’s events would be a gross understatement—frankly, I wanted go back to bed. Since that was not an option, I chose to comfort myself with carbs.

There is something about the starchy and the cheesy that can make the most difficult of days just a tad brighter. Also, little slow-cooked protein can go a long way towards a positive attitude adjustment. The combination of the two has been my M.O. for the past couple of weeks.

In fact, over the weekend I made a Slow Cooker Pot Roast with mashed potatoes and gravy. (That’s a whole lot of comfort in a crock pot.) There’s nothing easier than pot roast and it’s a great way to have dinner done when you walk through the door at the end of the day…

Comforting Slow Cooker Pot Roast
Adapted from the Food Network

One 4-pound beef chuck roast
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for coating
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 medium carrots, cut into 2-inch pieces
3 stalks celery, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
1 medium onion, cut into 1/2-inch wedges
3 cloves garlic, mashed
1/2 cup dried porcini mushrooms
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup red or white wine
3 cups low-sodium beef broth
3 bay leaves
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1/2 cup loosely packed parsley leaves, chopped

Soak the porcini mushrooms in a shallow bowl with enough hot water to cover.

Prepare the Roast
Thoroughly season the roast on all sides with 2 1/2 teaspoons sea salt and 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper. Then coat it in flour, shaking off any excess.

Over medium-high, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large, nonstick skillet, and add the roast. Cook, turning on all sides, until golden brown (about 8 minutes).

Transfer the roast to a 6-quart slow cooker. Add the carrots, celery, onions and garlic. Chop the porcini mushrooms, and add to the vegetables. Strain the mushroom soaking water, and add to the crock pot.

Make the Gravy
Place the skillet back over medium heat, and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the tomato paste and mix well, until the oil begins to turn brick-red (about 1 minute). Add the flour and wine and whisk until thick (it’s fine if the gravy is not completely free from lumps).

Add the beef broth, bay leaves, thyme, 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, and a few grinds of pepper and bring to a simmer, whisking, until the gravy is smooth and thickens slightly, about 4 minutes.

Cook the Roast
Pour the gravy into the slow cooker, and cover. Cook on low for 8 hours, until the roast and vegetables are tender.

To Serve
Remove the roast and let it rest for a few minutes. Discard the thyme stems and strain the vegetables, reserving the gravy. Toss the vegetables with half the chopped, fresh parsley and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Stir the remaining parsley into the gravy and season with salt and pepper. Slice the roast against the grain.

Serve the meat and vegetables on a platter, moistening them with some of the gravy. And serve the remaining gravy on the side.

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