Every time I use my crockpot, I can't help but wonder why don't I use this more often?
Is there anything better than doing a little bit of prep work in the morning, throwing it all into the slow cooker and having it ready at dinner time?
This recipe is a bit of a riff on the Maple-Mustard Pork Chops that I've made in the past. I like the combo of sweet maple syrup and the savoriness of dijon mustard, and I couldn't help but wonder how it would work with a pot roast.
I'm happy to say that it worked out just fine!
- "Come Fly With Me"...Frank Sinatra
- "American Pie"...Don McLean
- "That's Amore"...Lou Monte
- "Sittin' On The Dock Of The Bay"...Otis Redding
- "L-O-V-E"...Natalie Cole
- "All Of Me"...John Stevens
Slow Cooker Pot Roast
- 3 lb boneless beef chuck roast
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 large onions, sliced
- 1 14-oz can beef broth
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
- salt & pepper, to taste
For gravy: 1/4 cup cornstarch or flour, 1/4 cup beef broth
Gather your ingredients.
Despite my best efforts, I always forget something. The beef broth is missing from this picture.
Heat the olive oil in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle the roast with salt & pepper on both sides. Sear the roast on both sides, about 7 minutes per side, until well-browned.
While the beef is browning, prep your onions. Cut the ends off and peel them.
Slice them in half from top to bottom, and place them (flat side down) on your cutting board.
Slice them into half moons.
When the meat has browned, remove it from the pan--
--and place it into your crockpot. (I used a 5 1/2 quart crockpot.)
Place the sliced onions into the pot that you just browned the roast in. Adjust the heat to medium.
Stirring often, cook the onions for about 5-7 minutes, until they are softened and just starting to brown and caramelize.
While the onions are cooking, prepare your cooking liquid for the crockpot. Put the mustard, maple syrup and almost the whole can of beef broth (you'll want to save about 1/4 cup to deglaze the bottom of the pan when the onions are done cooking)..
Don't forget to keep stirring those onions! You don't want them to get crispy.
Add a splash of balsamic vinegar to your mustard/maple syrup sauce.
Whisk to combine.
Pour the beef broth that you set aside into the onion pan.
Stir and scrape up all of the brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Do not skip this step. The bottom of the pan is where all the flavor is!
Pour the onions and the pan liquid over the roast.
Add the mustard/maple syrup mixture.
Put the lid on the crock pot and cook on low for at least 8 hours, until the meat is tender and separates easily when shredded with a fork.
And here we are 8 hours later.
It passes the fork test!
I put the meat and the onions into a shallow dish and covered it with the crockpot lid (or aluminum foil) to stay warm.
And then I went to work on the cooking liquid. I did my best to get all of the onions out.
Then I let my gravy separator strain out the few onions that remained.
Now some people will tell you to make a gravy with all of the liquid that is left.
But what's left also includes the fat that has rendered during the cooking process. I just can't. Let's try to only use the fat-free liquid.
If you look at the liquid in the gravy separator, you can see that there is 3 cups of liquid. There is obviously a thin layer of oily liquid on the top, then there is a cloudy layer about 1/3 of the way down, and the bottom two thirds is the smooth, fat-free stuff.
It's that bottom layer that we want to make the gravy with. A gravy separator will easily pour the bottom liquid out, or you can try to spoon the top liquids out or use a turkey baster to draw them out.
Or if you're not as squeamish as me, go ahead and use the whole shebang.
To make the gravy:
Put the liquid into a small saucepan and bring to a boil.
Mix 1/4 cup corn starch (or flour) with 1/4 cup cold (to prevent lumps) beef broth. Pour about 1/2 of this mixture into the liquid in the saucepan. It's hard to predict how much you will need, it all depends upon the amount of cooking liquid that you are using, and the fat content of that liquid. It's best to only use 1/2 of the cornstarch/beef broth mixture, adding more if necessary.
Heat until thickened, whisking constantly. Add more of the cornstarch/beef broth mixture if you think the gravy needs to be thicker. Add salt & pepper to taste.
Uncover the dish with the meat & onions.
Douse it with the gravy!!
I chopped up some fresh thyme to sprinkle on top.