So Cookware.com gave me a crock pot. How nice! Got it just a few days after I ordered it.
Say hello. This isn’t your average slow cooker. I represent the old school. My grandmother has one of these and my mom does too. I’ll show you why it’s special throughout this recipe.
When I see crock pot, I think pot roast. For years, my mom would start a pot roast on Sunday morning, and by 1 pm after church it was perfect. Everyone does pot roast differently so do what you want. Some like carrots and potatoes in there. I don’t like that. It leaves me too concerned about the cook time of the potatoes and carrots when I really just want the versatility of cooking the beef and onion however long I darn well please. Ok, so let’s begin.
We’ll start with a big piece of beef. Don’t ask me which cuts are better for pot roast. I’ve always heard london broils are best, but I rarely see them labeled like that in the store. This was a beef round roast. For the record, try to find some with more fat marbled in.
For a cut this size, roughly chop up about 2 onions and about 1/2 head of garlic.
Put quite a bit of sea salt on one side.
Add the beef to the VERY hot, well oiled crock pot and salt the other side.
This puppy is non-stick so don’t worry about the meat sticking. Cook it on high/medium high until each side is browned. It should un-stick itself once it’s cooked enough (nice rule of thumb for cooking meat).
Once you’ve flipped the meat, add the chopped onions and garlic.
Add about 4 cups of water right on top.
I don’t know exactly how much, just until it almost covers the meat… or about 2 of these. Don’t judge our plastic boot cup.
Take off the heat. Put the lid on, and put it on the base of the crock pot.
Crank it up to high heat. **Note: I started cooking at like 5 and I was REALLY hungry. So I ended up putting this back on the stove for a while to get it going faster. For a piece of beef this size though, you’ll need to cook this like all day… or at least 5-ish hours**
One nice thing about these crock pots is that you can unplug the power cord if you need to clean the base. Very clever.
About 30 minutes before you’re ready to start eating, start on your taters. Chop up a few red potatoes and stick them in a bowl.
Drizzle some olive oil on top plus your favorite spices. Here I added garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, salt and pepper.
Toss the taters and lay them out on a cookie sheet.
Cook on high broil until they brown (yes, broil, not bake).
I definitely wanted some corn on the cob. Cook that however you want. I just boiled mine.
Ok, so after hours and hours of cooking, your beef should look something like this. I tore it apart a little bit halfway through the cooking process to speed it up.
And my dinner on night #1 looked something like this. I wasn’t happy with the way it looked, as the juices were way too runny. However, it was like 10 pm by this time and I couldn’t wait another minute to eat.
So that night I put the lid on it (which comes with the crock pot) and stuck it right in the fridge.
The next evening, the beef looked like this. I needed dinner again so I went for round #2.I stuck in another boot cup’s full of water and put it on high heat on the stove. (By the way, you could have put this on the crock pot base for a while if you weren’t in a hurry.)
But after warming it up, I was still unhappy with the juice because it was too runny. I intentionally made a choice to break a habit of my mom’s cooking by NOT putting in Campbell’s Cream of Golden Mushroom Soup in. I try to stay away from artificial stuff in a can as much as possible.
Go ahead and take out the beef for a minute.
SO in order to make up for the lack of canned soup, I wanted to thicken it up a little. In a bowl, add about 1/2 cup of cold water and a few tablespoons of flour.
Pour it in the juice.
Whisk it and cook for a while till it thickens a tad bit. Add the beef back in.
Cook for a little while on low heat while you get your sides ready.
And serve again. Ahhh that’s much better. The “gravy” so to speak, is now thick enough to properly coat the beef.
So I put the lid on again and put it back in the fridge.
The next evening, it looked like this. I saw potential here, but I didn’t feel like eating the long strands of beef. I wanted something different and easier to eat.
So I took the beef out…
…and chopped it up. Then I put it back in the gravy along with another glass of water. Cook until it’s warmed up and mixed well.
By the way, see that gooey stuff on the side? Don’t ever throw that away in soups or sauces like this. Take a rubber spatula and just stir it back into the sauce. That’s the concentrate, baby! I can’t believe people throw that away!
While I was cooking the beef, I quickly made some mashed potatoes. (Let me know if you’d like to know a quick way to make them). Then I put the beef and “gravy” on top of the mashed taters. I actually had one more serving of this left over.
I think I’ve gone back and forth between present tense, past tense and instructions during this whole recipe. Sorry!
SO, a stove safe crock pot is one of the only ways you could have had the versatility to do what I did. 3 nights, 3 meals, all a little different. The ability to cook on high heat on the stove one second, and putting it on a slow cooking base the next second, into the fridge the next second without removing the food from the pan is pretty awesome. This is the reason I don’t like ceramic style slow cookers. You’re pretty limited with it.
I’ll be honest, I’m a pretty critical person and I was looking for ANYTHING to criticize on this slow cooker and I couldn’t think of one thing. They’ve had this style around for decades. It’s kind of like an old school mouse trap- if it works, why change it? You should definitely think about getting one of these things, especially if you have a job outside of your home or can’t be in the kitchen for long periods of time for one reason or another… which I assume is most of us! I hope to be using this more often to give you ideas on how to maximize its use. I also didn’t have one hickup with ordering it from Cookware.com AND they have it on sale.
Here’s the price breakdown:
- Beef Round Roast – $4.54
- 2 Onions – $1.86
- 1/2 Head Garlic – $.30
- 4 Servings of Pot Roast – $6.70
- 1 Serving of Pot Roast – $1.67
- 1 Red Potato – ~$.35
- 1 Corn on the Cob – $.20 (you can usually find them on sale for this cheap in the summer)
- 1 Meal: $2.22