preparing a sunday roast, crockpot style

Turning the oven on on a steamy summer day just does not appeal to me. It never has, actually. Between the tiny space I {lovingly} call my kitchen and the fact that I have thus far refused to turn on the air conditioning results in a hot and bothered cook working in, essentially, a sauna.

So. What’s a girl to do on such a night?…

Crockpot, obviously!

We all know that I harbor a deep and profound love for said appliance {see here, for starters} and that it is, hands down, one of the hardest-working appliances in my kitchen. The hubs is probably a close second, as the dishwasher master for when I’m whipping up crazy concoctions and creations, but let’s leave that for another day, shall we?

What makes these crockpot meals so wondrous is all the prep work is done the night before. I had settled on making a roast, a venison {read: deer meat} roast, to be exact, because I was lucky enough to be gifted one by a lovely friend of mine. Living where we do, the hubs and I have several friends who are avid hunters, and that I was fortunate enough to score an almost 5-pound beauty was cause to celebrate. I kept this stowed away, wrapped tightly in my freezer, waiting for the perfect opportunity to cook this up.

The great thing about the following recipe is that it can be perfectly adapted to just about any cut of meat you prefer. I know that many people do not have the availability {or palette} for venison – I’ve done this particular dish with rump roasts, pork shoulders…really, any big cut of meat will work great. Using one that is still bone-in is even better, because as this roasts low and slow all day, the flavor from the bone is going to be released, adding an entire layer of flavor to the resulting cooking liquid produced.

Feel free to adapt the seasonings to your preference as well! I love a classic blend of herbs and red wine, but if you’re looking for something a bit lighter, use a good beef stock instead of wine. Thyme is a great, well-purposed herb to use in here, or you can go super simple {but still delicious} with a simple combination of salt and pepper, bay leaves, and just a touch of rosemary.

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And fear not, dears, if you’re cooking a roast large enough to feed a small army. The hubs and I hardly put a dent in the resulting dish, but what I love to do is shred the leftovers and freeze in snack-size bags. It makes the perfect portion for lunch…think sandwiches, folded into leftover pasta, or used taco-style.

This truly is a wondrous dish, adaptable to please, and just tasty! I hope you enjoy!

~~~

Sunday Roast, Crockpot Style

Ingredients:

1 piece of meat, roughly 3-5 lbs {or whatever will fit comfortably in your crockpot}

4 to 5 large cloves of garlic, left whole

assortment of mixed root vegetables {I chose a blend of large carrots and onions, but russet or sweet potatoes make a great addition, as does celery, parsnips…whatever you like!}

2 cups red wine {I use a good Cabernet Sauvignon}

2 cups low-sodium chicken stock

4 tsp. dried herbs, more or less to suit your taste {I used a mixture of oregano and rosemary, because I like how it complements the flavor of the venison}

salt and pepper, to taste

extra virgin olive oil

1 to 2 tsp. butter {for the gravy}

1-3 tsp. flour {for gravy}

 

To Prepare:

Begin by peeling and dicing your garlic and root vegetables, being sure to leave them in larger chunks so they don’t break down and disintegrate  during the cooking process. Add into the bowl of your crockpot, and season with salt and pepper. Drizzle all with olive oil, and toss to coat.

Prepare your meat – depending on the cut I am using, I like to go over the meat and trim off any excess fat {this is particularly important if using a piece of chuck roast, or something similar}. In this case, because I am using venison from a local hunter, I went and removed remaining pieces of “silver skin”…chewy pieces that don’t taste ideal. Pat dry, then season liberally with salt and pepper.

Optional step: depending on your time schedule, give the meat a good sear on all sides! I do this in a large non-stick skillet on my stovetop. Coat the bottom of the pan with a good dose of extra virgin olive oil, and once hot, add in your roast. Allow the meat to sit for several minutes on each side, flipping when brown. When we transfer this to the crockpot, you’ll want to scrape in the cooking liquid and bits up from the bottom of the pan – that’s flavor gold right there!

Once the meat is trimmed and seasoned, place atop the vegetables in your crockpot. Add in the wine and stock, making sure there is just enough liquid to almost cover the entire roast. Add in your herbs and mix well, making sure to really get that meat as close to the bottom as possible.

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Cook on low heat for about 8 hours {I set mine around 8:15-8:30am and let it cook away while I’m at work, returning at 5:15pm}. Drop the heat setting to ‘warm’ and remove most of the cooking liquid and the root vegetables, transferring into a bowl.

Make the gravy – in a medium saucepan, melt butter over low heat. Once completely melted, whisk in the flour and cook for several minutes, making sure that the raw flour taste is removed. Slowly add in the cooking liquid and set to high heat, whisking vigorously so as to avoid any lumps forming. Cook on high until mixture thickens and begins to slowly bubble. Add in the root vegetables, and puree with an immersion blender.

Serve with roasted vegetables {I had asparagus on hand, but mashed potatoes make a fabulous accompaniment}, a good crusty French bread for dipping, and a glass of red wine on the side.

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One thought on “preparing a sunday roast, crockpot style

  1. Pingback: Best Crock Pot Recipes on the Net (June 2014 Edition) | The Food Explorer

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