We all have those days. You know the ones I’m talking about, those days where you have no desire to cook and can’t even bring yourself to think about searching for a recipe to try.
On those kind of days, there is nothing that I love more than to break out my handy dandy slow cooker. All I have to do is throw the ingredients together and let it cook quietly in the background for the next eight hours or so, and dinner is served. No fuss, no stress, just simple, delicious food.
Heck, if you want to be really lazy like me, line your cooker with a slow cooker bag or turkey bag. No clean up necessary. Serve dinner and then toss the leftover bag in the trash. No extra scrubbing necessary.
So, for one of my all-time favorite simple meals that can be made to serve anywhere from one to eight people-depending on the size of your cooker - I turn to my standby for a cheap and simple pot roast. This is a recipe that I've managed to piece together over the last few years, adding and changing ingredients as I see fit. The ingredients below will give you a solid base to build off of as you experiment with it. If you’re serving larger crowds, just increase the roast size and modify the ingredient amounts to match.
4-5 lbs roast (I usually use plain chuck roast)
2 cans cream of mushroom soup, condensed
1 package dry onion soup mix
¾ cup of red wine
¾ cup of beef or vegetable broth
2-3 Bay leaves
Coating for roast:
First off, if you’re using a liner, go ahead and use it now. If your liner tells you to shake a little flour inside it prior to use, follow those directions and then line your cooker.
At this point, I usually mix the mushroom soup, dry onion soup mix, wine, and broth together in a bowl and pour about half of the mix in the bottom of the slow cooker.
Next, in a resealable bag, place about a cup and a half of flour or so. Then, combine salt through onion powder in a small bowl, adjusting amounts to taste. Feel free to add or take away spices as tailored to your personal or family’s tastes. This is an incredibly forgiving recipe for substitutions and alterations.
Once all the spices had been combined, work them into your roast. Make sure to get into all the nooks and crannies for the most flavoring. Once that has been done, place the seasoned meat in the floured resealable bag and coat the roast in flour.
After the roast has been fully coated in the spices and the flour, heat a large saucepan over medium or medium high heat, adding in a portion of olive oil to heat with the pan. When the oil and pan are heated, carefully place the floured roast in the pan and brown on all sides. Be careful when turning as the oil does like to spatter, at least in my experience. When fully browned on all sides, placed the roast into the slow cooker.
If you like more onion and garlic, you can sauté some sliced onion and garlic in the used pan with a little more wine to de-glaze it and then add this to the slow cooker. If not, pour the remainder of the soup mix over the top, add in bay leaves, and set your cooker on low for about eight hours.
At the end of the cooking time, remove cooked roast to a pan to rest and cover with a foil tent for 15-20 minutes. Uncover and serve.
As stated before, this is a versatile recipe so try out different spice combinations until you find one you really like. I stumbled across the idea of using brown sugar randomly one day and it has had a spot in this recipe every time I’ve made it since. I’ve added cinnamon, paprika, parsley, oregano, thyme, you name it. It just depends what your personal preferences are, and whether or not you have picky eaters in your household.
Cook potatoes, celery, and carrots separately or add near the end of the cooking time. I’ve found that if these are added at the start of cooking, the result is a rather flavorless gravy.
Spaetzle and/or mashed potatoes go wonderfully with this recipe as a side for the gravy.
Honey glazed carrots are a perfect vegetable side to go along with this as well.
There will be quite a bit of leftover gravy most likely.
If you have leftover roast and gravy, use it the next day with egg noodles for a goulash.