Monday, November 24, 2014

Slow Cooker Italian Pot Roast with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Kalamata Olives

Have I mentioned lately that I love my slow cooker?  Because I do.  It was about a month or so ago that I really discovered this, and lately my slow cooker (which lives in a cabinet with other appliances) has appeared on my counter more often than my food processor, blender, and espresso machine... combined.  I just love that you throw stuff in there and forget about it, and soon your house smells like food and it's time to eat.

Unfortunately for me, recently I am all about making meat in there, which makes everyone very happy but leaves me kind of hungry.  And can I be honest?  Sometimes having my house smell like meat cooking makes me want to vomit.  But hey, I do it because I love my carnivores.  And usually, slow cooking meat involves minimal meat-touching but has very successful results.  Therefore: slow cooker Italian pot roast with sun-dried tomatoes and kalamata olives.

One thing I struggled with for this recipe was the timing.  It needs to cook on low for 9 - 11 hours.  When on earth was I supposed to put it in the slow cooker?!  If I put it in before work, that would work, but the last thing I want to do is brown a roast in a skillet at 7 AM.  I could have done it the night before, I suppose, and put the meat in the fridge overnight to start cooking in the morning, but that would be dirtying a container with raw meat for no reason.  After work wouldn't suffice unless we felt like eating pot roast for breakfast (ew).  I finally decided to do all my prep work for it late one Friday night, and I cooked it overnight to have it ready for lunch the next day.  This meant waking up to a house that smelled like pot roast, which was absolutely repulsive.  You want to smell breakfast foods if anything on a Saturday morning, not beef and onions, but maybe that's just me.

Back to the pot roast.  You have to brown it, as I mentioned, which is not enjoyable, and then put it in the slow cooker along with wine, beef broth, and garlic, and dried spices like oregano, thyme, rosemary and basil.  Then you "nestle" (direct quote from the recipe... I love recipes with fun words like that) sun-dried tomatoes, pearl onions and kalamata olives around the roast, and go hang out for 11 hours.  Now, I am not a huge fan of sun-dried tomatoes, but they become more than bearable in this dish.  I know this because my mother absolutely hates them and I'm not sure she noticed they were in there.  They become super soft and lend some of their tomato flavor to the pot roast so that they aren't so overwhelming on their own.

This was basically a very easy and still impressive lunch, and my family loved it.  It was moist, flavorful with hints of saltiness and sweetness, and very tender.  In fact, it went over far better than the tiny brussels sprouts I had bought at the farmer's market the day before.  I made the mistake of admitting that most of them were full of tiny bugs and it took me an hour to clean the ones I was using.  Probably not the best way to get your family excited to eat their veggies.... oh well.  At least they had their meat.
My tablescape... ignore the tiny sprouts :)


slow cooker Italian pot roast with sun-dried tomatoes and kalamata olives
from Elly Says Opa

1 beef chuck roast (about 3 pounds)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup red wine (optional)
1 cup beef broth
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried crushed rosemary
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, sliced
1/2 cup kalamata olives, pitted and sliced
1 10-ounce bag frozen pearl onions


1) Season the roast liberally with salt and pepper.  Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high, and once hot, brown the roast on all sides.  Move to slow cooker.

2) Add the garlic to the skillet and stir until fragrant.  Add in the wine and broth, scraping up the browned bits.  Stir in the sugar, herbs, and salt and pepper to taste.  Pour the mixture over the roast.

3) Nestle the sun-dried tomatoes, olives, and pearl onions around the roast.  Cook on low for 9 - 11 hours.  Skim off the fat and heat on high, uncovered, to thicken slightly if desired.

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