I love pot roast beef. It uses the cheapest cuts of beef (especially good with brisket) and cooks them in a way that results in a moister joint than you would get if you oven-roasted it. It also has the benefit of simplicity.
For some time I had been using beef stock for this, which wasn’t completely Paleo (since the beef stock was Oxo, full of gluten and similar joys), then I switched to a slow cooker and had two realisations:
- It was even easier to prepare because I could put it on in the morning and come back from all the day’s activities to a completed roast dinner; and
- I could make some beef stock at the same time.
Here’s how I go about slow-cooker pot roast.
Ingredients: (serves 2-3)
1kg joint beef (brisket works best in the slow cooker, although you could also use silverside but it is less moist due to the lower fat content)
1 small swede or turnip
- Start by preparing the vegetables. First peel the onions, cut the stalk ends off and then cut into quarters, leaving the root join on, to hold each quarter together (though trim off just enough to remove any actual roots). Discard the papery skin which you peeled off but retain the inside of the stalk ends.
- Chop the ends off the carrots and parsnips and retain with the inside of the onion stalk end. Cut the carrots and parsnips into 2 inch long pieces and, where the pieces are very fat, cut these in half or (as if often needed with parsnips) quarters along their length.
- Peel the swede and retain the peel with the carrot ends. Cut the swede into large chunks, about 1-2 inch cubed (to prevent it going too mushy). If your slow cooker is very small then you may want to consider holding back one of the carrots and parsnips and half the swede to make carrot, parsnip and swede mash instead.
- In a large frying pan, heat a large knob of lard (or use olive oil if you don’t have any lard) and quickly brown the joint of meat all over, letting it stand in the pan on each side for a minute or so before turning to the next side.
- Place the meat joint into the slow cooker pot.
- Next, put the carrot, parsnip and swede pieces and the onion quarters into the pan (not the retained stalks and peel) and brown for a few minutes, moving them about every so often to ensure they are lightly browned all over.
- Add the browned vegetables to the slow cooker pot, filling in the spaces with the retained peel and vegetable ends. Add a large handful of chopped fresh oregano or a couple of teaspoons of dried oregano to the pot.
- Pour over boiling water until the meat is just covered.
- Cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 4 hours. I tend to actually kick it off on high for an hour and then, when I’m going out, move it to low for the rest of the day, which can often be closer to 10 hours before we get round to eating, although in that situation I will drop it down to “keep warm” once I get home if we are past the 8 hour mark to prevent the vegetables turning to complete mush!
- When you are ready to serve, remove the joint from the pot and stand on a plate in a warm place for 5-10 mins. Meanwhile extract the big vegetable chunks from the pot and put into a warm dish – these are for eating with your roast.
- Strain the liquid (a tasty beef stock) into a large bowl or jug and pick any big chunks of vegetables out of the vegetable matter that is left which were missed when you were looking for them before. Discard the remaining vegetable mush of peel and stalks.
- When serving, we just spoon some of this beef stock over the meat and vegetables – we don’t even try thickening it to gravy any more since it just adds the moisture and flavour that we would want from a gravy anyway.
- After eating, pour the remaining beef stock into pots and store in the fridge (if you’re going to use it within the week) or the freezer.