Recreating Grandma’s Recipe
My grandma used to make her pot roast for me, when I visited her, as a child. It was memorable and one of my favorite things to eat. Grandma didn’t really allow me to cook with her, and never handed down the recipe to me. But I was recently gifted a sizeable chuck roast and I thought I’d try my hand at recreating the flavor of my grandma’s pot roast. I remember it being salty, sour, sweet, herby, and savory.
I think I did a really good job of guessing at the ingredients and I was quite pleased with the results. Here’s what’s in it:
Meat: beef chuck rib roast
Veggies: onions, carrots, celery, small red potatoes, chopped garlic
Marinade: apple cider vinegar, dijon mustard, olive oil, ground thyme, paprika, salt, pepper, maple syrup, unsweetened ketchup, granulated garlic
Liquid: beef broth
Note: Yes, I did intentionally use two types of garlic. The granulated kind is for the marinade and the raw kind is to toss in with the veggies. I advise against using garlic powder, because it is too spicy and it might overpower the dish.
Using My Crock Pot
The pot roast needs to cook for a long time, because the chunk of beef is tough and it requires a lot of breaking down. I imagine that my grandma made hers in a dutch oven, which is the traditional method of cooking a pot roast.
I had a busy schedule, gearing up for the holidays, and I didn’t have time to sit around and babysit the pot roast, while it cooked in the oven. I decided to use my crock pot, instead, so this would cook as I went about my business.
I put this on, around 10 a.m.. Then, I went out to run errands. By the time I made it back, I was hungry. I had forgotten that I had this cooking, but when I came in the door of my apartment, the scent of the pot roast washed over me and it was heavenly. Having it for dinner was such a treat and I was glad that I outsmarted myself, LOL.
Searing in a Marinade
Searing is often recommended for prepping the meat, before it goes in the crock pot. It’s meant to help lock in the juices and add flavor to the meat.
One thing that often gets missed, though (IMHO), is seasoning before searing. Usually, people just toss the beef onto the oil, naked, and expect it to pick up the seasonings later.
I feel strongly that that’s a missed opportunity for flavor. So, what I like to do is season the beef and then sear it in the hot oil.
To that effect, I decided to create a marinade. I mixed it together and then rubbed half of it into the beef, allowing it to sit while the oil was heating up in my cast iron pan. The other half went into the crock pot.
Pro tip: when the beef is finished searing, remove the pan from the heat and place the beef in the crock pot. Then, pour a bit of beef stock into the pan to “deglaze it”. You can use a wooden spoon to help get the stuck-on bits of beef and spices off of the bottom of the pan. When that’s done pour the liquid (along with the bits and spices) from the pan into the crock pot.
You could use beef bone broth for this crock pot recipe, BTW, if you wanted to sneak some extra nutrition into this dish. It might not have as much flavor, so you may have to adjust for that, with the spices and other flavorings.
Warning: this is not a low-carb recipe. There are potatoes, carrots, and maple syrup in it. That being said, it comes out to be about 23 grams of net carbs, per serving, which is still low-carb enough, for me.
This pot roast recipe could be adjusted to be very low-carb, by using substitutions. For example, you could use your favorite low-carb sweetener, in place of the maple syrup. You could also use celery root, instead of the potatoes and carrots. If you haven’t had celery root, it tastes like a cross between a potato and celery. Or perhaps you could try turnips.
Maybe toss in some bright radishes for a pop of color and flavor? Don’t worry. The spiciness usually mellows out, when they’re cooked, and what you’re left with is a delightfully tasty little nugget. When I say little, I do mean little, because they shrink, quite a lot.
Pot Roast (Crock Pot Recipe)