Making the Perfect Beef Roast

According to chef Mary Jane Miller, beef roasts turn out perfectly in a slow cooker. Here’s how:

  • For best results start with a room temperature roast (see frozen instructions below).  Season with salt and pepper.  Sear in a hot pan.  If you are in a hurry, you can skip this step–it just adds another layer of nice flavor and an attractive appearance.
  • Place sturdy root vegetables in the bottom of the pot.  Try carrots, onions, garlic, or parsnips.  Do not add potatoes at this point–the starch in them will turn grayish brown with long cooking.  Place the meat on top.  Put two bay leaves on the meat.
  • There is no need to add any liquid.  Cover and cook on low 8 to 12 hours or on high 4 to 6 hours. If you want to have potatoes with your pot roast, cook them in the microwave or boil them before adding–OR– add them for the last 2 hours of cook time.  20 minutes before serving add frozen green peas cut asparagus or other quick cooking green vegetable if desired.
  • For great bbq sandwiches, put sliced onions in the bottom of a slow cooker.  Top with a beef roast and pour about 1/2 cup of your favorite BBQ sauce over the roast.  Cook 4 hours on high or 8 on low.
  • For tacos or burritos:  pour over a cup of salsa and proceed as for BBQ
  • For ragu to serve over spaghetti or polenta:  pour over a cup of thick marinara and proceed as for BBQ–fresh rosemary or basil is a nice addition after it is cooked.
  • You can cook a roast from frozen.  Put about a half inch of water or broth in the bottom of the pot.  Add onions and garlic in the bottom if desired (other vegetables will be way too overcooked).  Drop in the frozen roast.  Season with salt and pepper and place a two bay leaves on top.  Cover and cook on high for 8 to 12 hours.
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