Do you remember Sunday dinners from when you were growing up?
I sure do. It was the day that mom pulled out all the stops and spent the afternoon in the kitchen whipping up something magical.
This pot roast recipe is just what would have graced our table back then. Succulent and tender beef with big chunks of hearty vegetables – delish.
Now, it’s my turn to handle the holiday and family dinners. Cooking always was more my thing than it was for my mom, so I enjoy and savor every moment.
Recipes like this are my favorite. The aroma of sauteed onions, garlic, and fresh herbs always make the house smell fantastic.
Glade really should make a household scent that smells like home cooked meals. But, can you really recreate something like that? Probably not.
I’ll just keep cooking and get my aromatherapy the natural way. Besides, I’d be hungry all the time if my house smelled like that 24/7.
Cooking by the Numbers…
Step 1 – Gather and Prep Ingredients
Wash all produce thoroughly to remove any dirt or debris that may be present.
In a large, shallow bowl mix the flour, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper. Set aside.
Slice the onions and set aside. I used two onions, but mine were fairly small. If you have one large onion that should suffice – and if you’re not in the mood for a good cry, check out our article on saying goodbye to onion cutting tears.
I like to leave my garlic cloves whole for recipes like this. Be sure to crush them though, to help the garlic flavor to permeate the dish.
Cut carrots into 1/2-inch medallions and set aside. Baby carrots can be used if you prefer. These can save prep time as you can add them whole, without having to do any prep work for them.
Slice the red potatoes into quarters or eighths, depending how big they are, and set them aside.
I chose baby red potatoes for the simple reason that I don’t have to peel them, and I can easily and quickly quarter them. They hold up better shape-wise versus russets too, which can become mealy and fall apart in the slow cooker. With this in mind, feel free to use russet, Yukon gold, or any other variety you prefer.
Measure out the packaged or homemade beef broth and set aside. If you’re buying a package, reach for the low sodium version so you can control the amount of salt in your meal. If you have full sodium broth, you may want to decrease the amount of salt you add and season to taste if necessary before serving.
Remove the roast from the fridge and take it out of the packaging. Pat dry and set aside.
Clear a space on the kitchen table or countertop, get your slow cooker out, and plug it in. This recipe is perfect for Crock-Pots, Instant Pots, Breville Fast/Slow Cookers – you name it, just about any type of slow cooker can handle this dish.
If your cooker of choice has a sear setting, this will be a one-pot meal. If are searing in a pan, get that out now.
Step 2 – Dredge and Sear
Add olive oil to a heated pan, or your Instant Pot or Fast/Slow Cooker. Any slow cooker with a sear setting can be used to sear the meat first before setting it to cook low and slow.
Dredge your dry roast in the seasoned flour mixture and add it to the hot oil. Allow the roast to sear for 1-3 minutes on each side, keeping an eye on it to avoid burning the outside. The time that this will take will depend on the size of your roast as well as the temperature of your heating element.
Once each side has been seared, remove it from the pot and set aside.
By dredging the roast, we are creating a delicious flavored crust on the meat. The flour will also help to thicken the juices, making a fantastic gravy.
Searing the beef helps lock in the liquids, which results in a more tender and juicy finished product.
If you or a family member has celiac or is gluten intolerant, you can use gluten-free flour instead of traditional flour to make this recipe gluten-free and safe for everyone to enjoy.
Step 3 – Saute Veggies and Add Tomato Paste
Once the roast has been seared and set aside, you may need to add more olive oil to your pot or pan. Do so if needed, and either replace on the heat or return to the sear setting.
Once the oil is hot, add the onions and carrots. Season with salt and pepper, and saute for about 5 minutes until the onions are softened and translucent, stirring occasionally.
Add the garlic cloves and saute for about 2 minutes more. Now, add the tomato paste and saute for 3-5 more minutes.
We are building levels of flavor here by sauteing the veggies and allowing the tomato paste to “bloom.”
There should be a color change associated with the paste once it has bloomed. A darker red color will signify that the sugars in the paste have caramelized, and this will create a more flavorful sauce/gravy in the end.
Step 4 – Add Liquid, Deglaze, and Cook
At this point, you are ready to add the beef broth and deglaze your pan.
What in the world does this mean? Well, essentially, the liquid, when added to a hot pan, will help loosen any bits that have become stuck to the bottom during the sauteeing process. The release of the bits from the pan is called deglazing.
These stuck on bits are called the fond and they hold a tremendous amount of flavor. Pretty great, right? You can read more about deglazing and creating delicious pan sauces here.
When you add the liquid, use a spatula to scrape these bits off and incorporate them into the sauce in the slow cooker pot.
Once the bottom has been scraped clean, add the potatoes to the pot, followed by the roast and sprigs of rosemary.
Set your Instant Pot or other types of slow cooker to slow cooker mode on low heat, and cook for 6 hours.
Short on time and you just don’t want to bother with the searing and deglazing? No problem. You can make this dish as a “dump” recipe as well. Just prep your ingredients the same way, add them to your slow cooker, and go about your day. We won’t tell anyone that you skipped the searing portion.
The downside of this is that the final results will not taste the same. A dump meal will have much less depth of flavor, since you are skipping the extra steps develop the sugars and build those delicious layers of flavor. It will still be good, just not quite as flavorful and rich as the original version.
Worried about adding to an already busy morning routine? I frequently make recipes like this in the evening and let the slow cooker work while I sleep. Then, when I wake up my food is ready, and I can refrigerate it until needed.
Step 5 – Serve
When your one-pot meal is ready, you can serve this several ways. I like to serve it as is with the meat and veggies. The gravy is terrific too!
A fresh green salad and sliced crusty bread on the side makes a nice addition.
I also like to garnish my meals with fresh herbs. For this pot roast, chopped parsley and fresh rosemary is my first choice. Experiment and see what you prefer.
Did You Love This Meal?
Food has the ability to soothe and comfort like nothing else. And dishes like this are the epitome of what comfort food should be.
Warm and hearty with lots of substance, everyone loves meals like this. You just can’t go wrong with homemade comfort food after a long day of work and other responsibilities. Don’t you agree?
So, grab your fork and dig in. Don’t forget to leave us a comment and tell us what you think of this recipe too!
You know you need more slow cooker recipes! Try another beefy option with Tex-Mex Barbacoa.
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Photos by Leslie Morrison, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published by Shanna Mallon on January 16th, 2009. Last updated: December 29, 2019 at 5:18 am.
*Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.
About Leslie Morrison
Leslie is a food photographer and writer. She enjoys spending time in her kitchen and behind the lens of her camera and working on her food blog, Deliciously Plated (deliciouslyplated.com). When she isn’t working, she is spending time with her son and her husband.