I tend to cook fairly seasonally. In the spring, summer, and early fall, I go to the local farmers market to pick out beautiful locally grown fruits, vegetables, and herbs and then plan my meals based on whatever I bring home. In the late fall, winter, and early spring our local farmers market closes, and I am left with what I can find in grocery store’s organic section or, occasionally, what I can pick up at the year-round farmers market in Olympia.
Cooking in this way also follows my natural appetites. In the summer, my meals are lighter with fresher flavors and lots of greens. As summer fades, however, I tend to cook heartier foods with more warming, deeper flavors. I also cook lots of root vegetables, because that’s what is available.
Pot roast is the quintessential fall/winter meal. It features an affordable and fatty cut of meat and flavorful root vegetables. Because the fatty cuts you use for pot roast perform best under low, slow, and moist cooking conditions, the slow cooker is the ideal vehicle for a tasty pot roast.
I’m a big fan of browning meat and vegetables before putting them in the slow cooker. This just adds an extra depth of flavor. However, if you don’t feel like doing any browning, then just toss everything in the slow cooker raw. It will still be pretty darn tasty.
Spicy Slow Cooker Pot Roast
- 4 tablespoons fat, divided (I used rendered bacon grease for this one for a little bit of additional smoky flavor)
- 1 organic onion, sliced
- 4 organic garlic cloves, roughly chopped
- 1 three to four pound grass fed chuck roast
- Sea salt
- Fresh cracked black pepper
- 1/2 cup red wine (or beef stock)
- 1/2 cup homemade beef bone broth
- 1 teaspoon organic garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon organic onion powder
- 1 teaspoon organic ground mustard seed
- 2 tablespoons freshly grated organic horseradish root (or more to taste), divided
- 2 cups organic whole baby carrots
- 2 bulbs organic celeriac, peeled and cut into cubes
- In a large saute pan, heat two tablespoons of the fat over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until they begin to brown, seven to eight minutes.
- Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until it is fragrant, about 30 seconds more.
- Put the onions and garlic in the slow cooker and return the sauté pan to the heat. Add the remaining two tablespoons of fat.
- Season the chuck roast liberally with salt and pepper. Put it in the hot fat and cook it, searing it on all sides, four to five minutes per side. Put the chuck roast in the slow cooker with the onions.
- Return the sauté pan to the heat. Add the wine and stir, scraping any browned bits off the bottom of the pan with the side of a spoon. Add the beef stock and whisk in the garlic powder, onion powder, ground mustard seed, and freshly grated horseradish. Simmer for about three minutes to allow the flavors to blend.
- Put the baby carrots and celeriac in the slow cooker with the roast and onions. Pour the wine mixture over the top.
- Cover the slow cooker and cook on low until the meat is tender, eight to ten hours on low or four to five hours on high.
- Grate in the remaining one tablespoon of horseradish root just before serving.
- Optional: If you wish to turn the sauce into gravy, then ladle out the liquid from the slow cooker. Put it in a saucepan and whisk in 1/4 cup of arrowroot powder mixed with 1/4 beef stock. This will add about 28 grams of carbs to the entire recipe, so if you are eating low-carb paleo, you may wish to skip this step. For low-carb paleo, simmer the liquid in a saucepan over medium-low heat until it reduces and thickens, about ten minutes.