Crock pots have long been a staple in many kitchens, allowing busy home cooks to prepare delicious meals with minimal fuss. One of the most popular dishes to make in a crock pot is pot roast – a classic comfort food that’s both hearty and satisfying. With this easy pot roast crock pot recipe, you’ll be able to set your ingredients and go about your day, knowing that you’ll come home to a beautifully cooked meal.
- 3-4 lb beef roast (such as chuck, rump, or top round)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 cups beef broth
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 lb baby carrots
- 2 stalks celery, chopped
- 1 lb baby potatoes, halved if large
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme
1. Prep the roast and vegetables. Begin by seasoning your beef roast generously with salt and pepper. As it sits, prepare the vegetables: chop the onion, mince the garlic, chop the celery, and halve any large baby potatoes.
2. Brown the roast on the stove. In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Add the seasoned roast to the pan, and cook for about 3-5 minutes on each side, until all sides are browned. During this time, the goal is to create a delicious crust on the meat, which will then enhance the flavor of your pot roast in the crock pot.
3. Layer the ingredients in the crock pot. Start by placing the chopped onion and minced garlic at the bottom of your crock pot. Place the browned roast on top of the onions and garlic, to help it sit above the liquid for even cooking. Next, pour in 2 cups of beef broth and add 1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce for extra flavor. Then, arrange the carrots, celery, and potatoes around the roast, and tuck the rosemary and thyme sprigs in among the vegetables.
4. Cook the pot roast on low. Cover the crock pot and cook on the low setting for 8-10 hours, or until the meat is tender and the vegetables are cooked through. Avoid lifting the lid during cooking, as this can cause the pot roast to dry out.
5. When the pot roast is done cooking, you may choose to thicken the cooking liquids with a flour and water slurry, to create a rich sauce. Finally, serve the pot roast alongside the tender vegetables, and enjoy!
History and Curiosities
Pot roast as a dish has been a favorite of American households for many decades, and it’s easy to see why. In the early days of American history, settlers often cooked meat over an open fire or in large, sturdy pots. The cooking method typically involved slow roasting the meat with root vegetables, as these ingredients were readily available to the pioneers. As more advanced cooking methods developed, the crock pot (also known as a slow cooker) became incredibly popular in the United States during the 1970s, which set the stage for the marriage of pot roast and this simple appliance.
The key to a great pot roast is the slow cooking process, which ensures that even the toughest cuts of meat become tender and flavorful. This cooking technique reflects the resourcefulness of American cooks from the past, who learned to make use of less expensive cuts of meat and abundant root vegetables. Today, the dish continues to evolve, as modern cooks experiment with new flavor combinations and ingredients, while honoring the timeless simplicity and comfort of this classic meal.