The ultimate one pot family meal – Slow Cooker Pot Roast! This beef pot roast is a little different to the usual – the braising liquid is thickened slightly so it’s more like a gravy rather than just watery broth. So it’s meltingly tender slow cooker roast beef, vegetables and potatoes smothered in gravy…YES PLEASE!
This pot roast recipe was originally published January 2018. Updated September 2018 for housekeeping matters. No change to recipe – I wouldn’t dare! 🙂
A POT ROAST – WITH GRAVY!
I wasn’t a fan of pot roast for most of my life. I just didn’t get it – the beef and vegetables were fine, but typically they are braised in just liquids that aren’t thickened in any way so the end result is like a watery broth.
Plenty of flavour in it, but when you pour it over the beef and vegetables, it doesn’t cling to it at all because it’s watery.
So I decided to change it and thicken the sauce using a touch of flour. So it’s more like a gravy. Now THAT’s a pot roast worthy of company, in my humble opinion!!!
CHUCK ROAST IS THE BEST CUT
I’m convinced that Beef Chuck Roast was put on this earth to be made into Pot Roast. Is there any better way to transform a good value cut of beef than than to turn it into a fall apart tender roast beef with flavoured loaded vegetables smothered in a gravy?
I think not!
Chuck roast can be purchased in large pieces that are or aren’t rolled. You want to use rolled chuck roast for Pot Roast, otherwise the beef ends up all warped. Supermarkets and butchers should carry chuck roast that’s already rolled, otherwise, you can roll it yourself and tie with kitchen string or ask the butcher to do it for you.
ABOUT THIS SLOW COOKER POT ROAST
The typical slow cooker pot roast involves searing the chuck roast (do not – I repeat, do not skip this step! Key for flavour base!) which is then placed in the slow cooker along with vegetables and beef broth plus sometimes wine, and some herbs for flavour.
The two little-but-big things I do differently for this slow cooker pot roast recipe are as follows:
- Deglaze the skillet after browning the chuck roast but cooking onion and garlic then adding red wine (or broth) so all the flavour left in the pan from searing the beef gets dissolved into the liquid used for braising; and
- Add flour to to thicken the braising liquid so at the end, it comes out like gravy rather than a thin watery liquid.
Because I make this pot roast in a slow cooker, this ends up with tons of sauce. You need enough broth for the beef to be mostly submerged in liquid, but because there’s no evaporation and the beef also releases juices, you end up with lots and lots of liquid.
Which means, in my version of Pot Roast, you end up with lots and lots of gravy.
Not a bad problem to have, hmm? 🙂
Also I just realised – this is a SLOW COOKER Pot Roast recipe, and yet I shot it in a casserole pan in the photo below. I don’t have a serving platter that’s deep enough to hold all the sauce, so I had to improvise, but looking at it now, it’s a bit misleading. Oops! – Nagi x
WATCH HOW TO MAKE IT
Sometimes, it’s helpful to have a visual so watch me make this Slow Cooker Pot Roast! Note: My slow cooker looks like a pressure cooker because it’s a multi function slow cooker (but no, it’s not an Instant Pot!).
Recipe VIDEO above. The ultimate one-pot family meal! Meltingly tender slow cooker beef and vegetables smothered in a gravy-like sauce (because I prefer that to just watery broth). I like to make this in my slow cooker but I've also added directions for pressure cooker, stove and oven.
- 1 - 2 kg / 2 - 4 lb beef chuck roast / rolled chuck (Note 1)
- Salt and pepper
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion (large) , cut into large dice
- 5 garlic cloves , peeled and smashed (Note 2a)
- 5 carrots , peeled and cut into 2.5cm/1" pieces
- 3 celery stalks , cut into 4 cm / 1.5" pieces
- 1 cup / 250 ml dry red wine (or sub with beef broth)
- 3 cups / 750 ml beef broth , salt reduced
- 1/3 cup / 50g flour (plain / all purpose) (GF - Note 2b)
- 1 tsp dried rosemary
- 1 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- 750 g - 1 kg / 1.5 - 2 lb potatoes , peeled and cut into 2.5 cm / 1" pieces
Pat beef dry with paper towels. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper all over.
Heat oil in a skillet over high heat. Brown aggressively all over - a deep dark brown crust is essential for flavour base! Should take about 7 minutes.
Transfer beef to slow cooker.
In the same skillet, add onion and garlic. Cook for 2 minutes until onion is browned.
Add wine, reduce by half. Transfer to slow cooker.
Mix together flour and about 1 cup of the broth. Lumps is fine. Pour into slow cooker.
Add remaining broth, carrots, celery, rosemary and thyme into slow cooker.
Cover and slow cook on LOW for 5 hours. Or 45 minutes in a pressure cook on HIGH. (Note 3a for Oven and Stove)
Add potato, slow cook on LOW for 3 hours. Or 10 minutes in a pressure cooker on HIGH. (Note 3b)
Remove beef. Rest for 5 minutes, then slice thickly.
Adjust salt and pepper of Sauce to taste. Serve beef with vegetables and plenty of sauce!
1. Beef chuck is a slow cooking cut of beef. It sometimes comes rolled and tied with string (like pictured in mine) - this is when the chuck is thinner. But it also comes much thicker, shaped like a normal roast cut, and this cut isn't required to be rolled and tied like mine. Both work great for this recipe.
The recipe has a wide range for the beef weight because this recipe makes so much sauce irrespective of beef size, because you need a certain amount of liquid to partially submerge the beef. The cook time remains the same because it's driven by beef thickness, rather than weight. Feel free to reduce / increase vegetables to your beef size, and also add other vegetables.
OTHER BEEF CUTS: This works great with brisket too. Blade Roast will also work but note that the beef is very lean so while it will be tender like chuck, it's not as juicy inside (which you can disguise by smothering with sauce).
2a. Smashed Garlic - just use the side of your knife and smash it using the palm of your hand. The garlic will burst open but remain mostly in one piece.
2b. Cornflour / cornstarch gluten free alternative: Mix 1 tbsp cornstarch / cornflour with a splash of broth, mix then pour in per recipe, in place of flour. Once beef is cooked and removed, check liquid thickness. If you want it thicker, mix 1 tsp cornflour with splash of water and add, heat liquid (residual heat may be sufficient) and it will thicken, repeat if you want thicker. Best to do it this way because cornflour thickening power is stronger than flour and the amount of liquid that comes out of beef differs. So start with less, then add more later - cornflour doesn't need cooking out like flour, as soon as it is added and liquid thickens, it can be consumed.
3a. OVEN: Lid on dutch oven or similar, 300F/150C for about 2 hrs (1 - 1.5kg / 2 - 3 lb) or 3 hours (2kg / 4 lb), then add potatoes then a further 1 hour until meat is tender.
STOVE: Add 2 more cups of water, simmer covered 2 - 2.5 hrs until meat is starting to be tender, turning meat once or twice. Add potatoes then cook another 30 minutes until meat is super tender and potatoes are soft. Keep an eye on water level.
3b. I add potatoes later otherwise I find they are so soft, they basically disintegrate. If you prefer to add potatoes in at the beginning so you don't have to worry about adding them later, use red potatoes because they hold up better to the long cook time.
4. The carrots and celery are VERY soft by the end. It's unfortunate, but a necessary sacrifice because having them in the broth for the whole cook time adds great flavour to the sauce.
5. Servings: I allow for 200 - 250g / 6.5 - 8oz uncooked beef per serving which shrinks with the long cook time. The beef pictured was a 2 kg / 4 lb rolled chuck.
6. Nutrition per serving.
Recipe originally published January 2018, updated September 2018 for housekeeping matters. No change to recipe - I wouldn't dare! 🙂
LIFE OF DOZER
When the homeless man at the dog park isn’t at his car (usually off tending to the park grounds – best groundskeeper EVER!), I tie food to the boot of his van. Pot Roast, in this case!
And this is Dozer, trying to figure out if he can reach the bag. #SHAMELESS