Today’s delicious dish – Crock Pot Roast with Gravy
Over the years, I have tried a number of ways to cook a roast in a slow cooker. There’s the one with onion soup mix, the one with ranch dressing mix, the one with cream of mushroom soup, the one with beer . . . there seems to be no end to the creative uses of ingredients. However, none of these quite pleased me.
Then I hit upon my favorite combination – V-8 juice, red wine, and beef broth. After 11 hours in the crock pot, this does not taste at all like tomato. Instead, it creates a mysteriously savory, beefy liquid that makes perfect gravy with just a quick thickening up. If you get gluten-free beef broth (or make your own), and omit the Worcestershire sauce, this recipe is also gluten free.
Rump roast is a less tender, thus cheaper, cut of meat. However, the long and slow cooking provided by the crock pot allows the meat to become very tender and succulent. I prefer to buy boneless roasts, even though they are a little more expensive, but you should do as you please. For this recipe, you need about three pounds of meat, so you will have to guess how much you need if the roast has a bone in it. The amount of meat can vary without causing much trouble. If you were using a very large roast (and a very large slow cooker), you would probably want to double the amount of the other ingredients. You need to have plenty of liquid to make this work well.
If you don’t want to use V-8, you can substitute tomato juice, or even tomato sauce. I like V-8 best because it has other vegetable flavors in the background, which contributes to a better-tasting dish. If you don’t want to use wine, you could substitute more beef broth. I encourage you to try the wine, though – it adds interesting flavor and also helps to tenderize the beef. You don’t need to worry about the alcohol because it evaporates during the long cooking time.
The instructions (below) for making the gravy tell you to remove the insert from your slow cooker. If you happen to own one that doesn’t have a removable insert, you will need to put the liquid into a microwave-safe container and proceed from there.
Crock Pot Roast with Gravy
- Boneless Beef Rump Roast – about 3 pounds
- 5 ounce can (about 2/3 cup) V-8 Juice
- 1/2 cup red wine
- 1/2 cup beef broth or stock
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 4 Tablespoons (1/4 cup) cornstarch
- 2 Tablespoons cold water
Place roast in crock pot. Whisk together V-8 juice, red wine, beef broth, Worcestershire sauce, parsley flakes, and pepper, and pour over roast. Cook on low for at least 11 hours (or on high for about 5 hours).
Remove roast from crock pot. Trim meat as desired, discarding fat and any other inedible parts. Divide into 8 servings.
Stir together cornstarch and cold water until completely smooth. Remove insert from crock pot and whisk cornstarch mixture into liquid in crock pot until smooth. Cover and microwave for 3 minutes. Whisk and microwave for 3 more minutes. Whisk until smooth. Set aside until ready to serve. Before serving, taste for seasonings and correct, if necessary.
Makes 8 servings – each about 3 ounces of trimmed cooked roast beef and about 1/3 cup of gravy.
Nutritional information (per serving): 348 calories, 12.5 grams fat, 6 grams saturated fat, 50 grams protein, 6 grams carbohydrate, 1 gram sugars, 0 grams fiber, 113 milligrams cholesterol, 214 milligrams sodium
Cost per serving: $2.20
Preparation time: 11 to 12 hours
What happens next?
Cooked roast beef and gravy is so very good served as a straight-up leftover. I’ve had more than a few yummy lunches at work that were the exact meal, except that it is served in a microwave meal container instead of on a dinner plate.
Cooked meat and gravy will keep in the refrigerator for about 5 days. It can also be frozen, but be aware that any cornstarch-thickened sauce or gravy will get a strange spongy consistency after it is frozen and then thawed. This is easily remedied – just heat it up and whisk it well. I find it works much better to freeze meat and gravy in separate containers, so I can do what needs to be done to the gravy after thawing it.
Crock Pot Roast could be used in a soup or casserole, and you could always make a sandwich out of it. I can fool the leftover haters in my family by using 2 servings to make a tasty homemade beef pot pie – it seems like a brand new thing and no one says, “Didn’t we already have this?”
Another day’s delicious dish – Beef Pot Pie
The most challenging part of this recipe is making the pie crust. But it is worth the work, because it is very savory and wonderfully flaky. Unlike many pot pies, this one has both a top and a bottom crust – because that’s how I like it. If you want to reduce the fat and calories in this recipe, you could cut the amounts for the pie crust in half and just make a top crust. That strategy would save you (per serving) 149 calories, 7 grams fat, 4.5 grams saturated fat, 18 grams carbohydrates, and 268 milligrams sodium.
If you want to add onion to this dish, you will need to saute it until transparent. I would suggest that you use no more than half an onion. You could substitute mushrooms for part or all of the mixed vegetables. Mushrooms would also need to be sauteed until completely cooked. You need about 2 cups total of cooked vegetables to keep the proportions in this recipe working for you. Any vegetables will go well in this dish, but I love the variety in mixed vegetables. Be sure to dice the potato into small cubes – around 1/2 inch – to be sure it gets cooked through.
If you don’t have any leftover Crock Pot Roast and Gravy, you can still make this pot pie. Use about 6 ounces of cooked roast beef and about 2/3 cup prepared gravy instead, and you will have a great pot pie.
Beef Pot Pie
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon celery salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground thyme
- 1/4 teaspoon rubbed sage
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
- 5 Tablespoons cold butter
- 6 Tablespoons ice water
- 2 servings Crock Pot Roast
- 10 ounce bag frozen mixed vegetables
- 1 medium russet potato (7-8 ounces)
- 2 servings Crock Pot Roast Gravy (about 2/3 cup)
- 1 teaspoon beef base or beef bouillon granules
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 3/4 cup 2% milk
- 1 Tablespoon cornstarch
Turn on oven to 375 degrees.
Combine flour, salt, celery salt, thyme, and parsley flakes. Dice cold butter into flour mixture, then use a pastry blender to cut in until the mixture resembles fine crumbs. Sprinkle ice water over and mix well. If more water is needed, add it one Tablespoon at a time until dough comes together. Gather dough into a ball and knead lightly a few times. Divide dough almost in half, with one piece larger than the other. On a floured surface, roll out larger piece of dough and fit into a 9” deep dish pie plate, leaving extra dough hanging over sides. Flour surface again and roll out smaller piece of dough to fit on top of pie.
Peel potato and dice into small cubes – you should have about 1 cup diced potato. Dice leftover Crock Pot Roast into small cubes – you should have about 1 1/3 cups diced roast beef. Cook mixed vegetables by microwaving for 3 minutes – you should have about 2 cups vegetables. Combine meat, potato, and vegetables, and place mixture into bottom crust.
Warm Crock Pot Roast Gravy by microwaving for 2 minutes. Set aside. Whisk together beef bouillon granules, salt, pepper, milk, and cornstarch, and microwave 1 minute. Whisk, then whisk in warm Crock Pot Roast Gravy and microwave 2 more minutes. Whisk again, then pour over mixture in bottom crust.
Cover pot pie with top crust. Fold overhanging bits up and over and press together to make an edge. Flute crust and cut several vents in the top of the pot pie.
Bake for 45 minutes, until crust is nicely browned.
Makes 4 servings.
Nutritional information (per serving): 587 calories, 22 grams fat, 13 grams saturated fat, 34 grams protein, 62 grams carbohydrate, 7 grams sugars, 3 grams fiber, 99 milligrams cholesterol, 1387 milligrams sodium
Cost per serving: $2.00
Preparation time: 1 hour and 30 minutes