Friday, September 20, 2013

The Crock-pot Pot Roast

Sorry, not many pictures for this one. There's nothing special to look at, anyway.

The recipe was this one: To Die For Crock Pot Roast.

My roast was about 3 pounds, rather than the 4-5 pounds recommended in the recipe. And I added potatoes, carrots, and onions, none of which are in the original recipe (despite the photo from the website). A number of reviewers on Food.com refer to how salty their roast was. Mine wasn't salty. In fact, it needed salt--and it wasn't very flavorful.

My mistakes:
  • To cut back on the saltiness, I cut back on how much of the dry seasoning mix I used. I rubbed my pieces of roast (I'd cut it into quarters before I started, so I could divvy it up easily for leftovers) with the seasoning mix. Then I added the half-cup of water the recipe called for. I added vegetables. Then I took another half-cup of water, added some of the seasoning mix, and poured that over the vegetables. The crock-pot (it's a 3½-quart size) was full to the top.

    Now I know that crock-pot cooking will tone down the seasonings substantially, so you need to use more seasoning than you think--or partially cook the meal, then add seasoning.

DSC04177

  • I didn't cut my vegetables small enough, and they took an eternity to cook.

For the leftovers, I thawed/heated the roast and vegetables (and the liquid from the pot) for each serving. Then I put everything back in the crock-pot with more of the seasoning so that the seasoning might flavor the food and so that the vegetables would be more thoroughly cooked.

The vegetables did eventually cook, and the seasoning flavored both the vegetables and the meat. It never became too salty.

But by the end, you didn't taste anything but the seasoning. Onions, carrots, potatoes, and meat all tasted the same--"seasoned".

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So how do you make a crock-pot pot roast with all the vegetables and get the vegetables to cook thoroughly and to taste like themselves? Do you cook things separately and then combine them? (That sort of defeats the purpose of a crock-pot, doesn't it?) Or is a pot roast just something that isn't going to work well in a crock-pot if you want your roast to have vegetables.

2 comments:

craftaceousperiod said...

I make my roasts a bit different--I like a bit more liquid with mine so a half cup of water would never work out for me. I cut up my onions and put some on the bottom of the crock. I put the roast on top of that. Then I add a few cloves of garlic (or a tablespoon or so of minced) over that. A layer of potatoes. Another layer of onions. I generally don't add carrots. Then I add maybe a cup of water. Sometimes more. Pop on the lid and cook.

Are you lifting the lid of the crock at any time during cooking? If you are, don't. Every time you lift that lid, it adds another 20 minutes to the time it takes to cook. Also, salt will slow the cooking time. So it could be that the mixes added some time to the overall cooking time of things.

I often find that my potatoes get done faster than I like. Sometimes I wait an hour before adding the potatoes. In my crocks the closer to the sides and bottom the hotter the heat, so I arrange things that might take longer to cook to the sides.

You can also make pot chicken--just like a pot roast only with chicken!

I prefer to cook meat with wet ingredients rather than dry mixes. You could make a tasty pot roast by using, say, a can of french onion soup instead of the mixes. Add some garlic (yeah, I'm into the garlic thing). Another thing I like to do is put in the roast and add a couple cans of crushed tomatoes. You come out with a nice roast, and the broth is a tasty soup on its own or with rice or on pasta!

deenbat said...

I cannot help with crockpot stuff, but I wanted to tell you something based on a flickr picture, and I wasn't sure when you'd see the comment over there, so I thought I'd put it here.

I noticed your shopping list includes a rubber spatula. I'm all for that, but I'd strongly suggest buying one that is cleared for high temperatures (it will be labeled as such - I bought mine at Wal-Mart). That way, if you want to cook with it on the stove top at some point, you can do so safely, without melting the spatula or having plastic poisonous stuff leeching into your food.