There are a few tricks to a really good roast. First, start with the best cut of beef you can get. Next, remove the roast from the fridge and bring to room temperature before braising. This usually takes about 1 hour. Pat the roast dry with paper towel before braising. And ALWAYS braise the roast in hot olive oil in a pan BEFORE oven roasting or putting in the slow cooker – this sears in the juices. Let roast rest for about 15 minutes after removing from oven or slow cooker before carving.
Since I got my slow cooker about 3 years ago, it is the only way I will cook a roast, because the result is pull apart tender. Low and slow is the key to really, really tender meat.
The recipe I use is really so simple.
After braising the roast in hot oil, I spray the slow cooker pot lightly with olive oil cooking spray. I place sliced onions on the bottom of the slow cooker pot, and place the roast on top of the onions. Next I press jarred garlic in oil onto the top of the roast, giving it good coverage. Then I add my vegetables in around the roast – I use what I have on hand and vary this a bit, but always I include a root vegetable – either potato, sweet potato, turnip or rootabaga. I may or may not include carrots (often do) or celery (rarely). Ideally I like to go heavy with kale because it is packed with nurtician and adds some really nice flavor to the meat while cooking. Even if you do not like kale, you need to try this – dont be afraid! I promise you will not taste “kale” when the food is served, instead just a really, really lovely, subtle flavor that also permeates the meat.
Once all the veggies and nicely tucked in around the roast, I sometimes sprinkle the top with a little dried basil or oregano (only somtimes) and then I ALWAYS top the roast with more sliced onion. And then, what is really key, is that I add a couple cups (or so) of either crushed tomatoe puree or whatever tomatoe based pasta sauce I happen to have on hand. You can also use canned tomotoes (diced, chopped or whole), or tomato juice, or tomato paste, but my personal preference is either crushed tomatoes or pasta sauce (using pasta sauce will usuually contribute some additional subtle flavor due to the seasonings in the sauce). The tomato sauce or puree is really key because it is very tenderizing to the beef AND it creates a beautiful gravy for the roast as the meat cooks and its juices blend with the tomato puree or sauce. I cook for about 6 hours on low. You can cook for 4 hours on the higher setting, but I prefer to go as low and slow as possible, because this is how you end up with pull apart tender meat that literally – I mean LITERALLY – falls off the fork.
Then sit back and enjoy!