Are You A Wizard

Crock pots invoke some kind of cooking magic. You put some stuff in, maybe open the lid and move it around a bit a while later, and hey presto! You've got a roast falling off the bone, or a giant pot of chili, or pulled pork, or stewed apples. And everyone loves you for it! And they make happy noises and say things like "______ is a great cook! I'm so lucky to live with him or her." And the best part is that they never notice your secret: you did almost nothing the whole time.

Anyway, I've made this a couple times now and the taste is hard to describe: you get roast beef that tastes utterly, totally, and completely like roast beef. It has the roast beef nature; it is completely roast beef and nothing else. It also makes fantastic sandwiches: try some thick rye bread and a couple slices of swiss cheese.

Get these:

Do this:

  1. Combine everything but the roast in your crock pot.
  2. Put the roast in your crock pot.
  3. Set to Low (around 200° F, 94° C) and leave it alone as long as you possibly can, around 12 hours or so.
  4. Turn over the roast once in a while, say, every four to six hours. While you're at it, spoon some of the juices on top.

You'll know it's done when you try to turn it over with a big spoon and instead of successfully turning it over you have a chunk of tender, juicy roast beef that you just cut with a spoon. Or the whole thing falls apart in a couple smaller chunks, like in Asteroids. Don't forget about the juices left in the crock pot! Turn it into gravy by removing the chunks of cooked vegetable, adding a couple tablespoons of cornstarch mixed with an equal amount of cold water, and stirring it in a saucepan over low heat until it thickens up.

Then make some mashed potatoes and stuff yourself full of delicious hot meats and starches.

As far as I can tell, this is "Italian" because it uses pepperoncinis and giardiniera. If you don't like either of those, don't let this turn you off of the recipe! When cooked the roast beef steals all their flavor for its own purposes. You can safely remove them when the roast is done cooking.

Variety is the Melange of Life

Of course, not everyone has Italian dressing mix hanging around, or maybe you don't want to buy any because the store only sells it in boxes of six packets or something. In that case, just use the following:

It'll taste a little different in the end but will come out pretty similar. In fact, as long as you've got the giardiniera, the pepperoncinis, and a cup or two of broth in there, you can toss in most anything to get variations on the theme. Cut up a big-ass onion, two or three carrots, and some celery! Use a few splashes of red wine and some shallots! Make a stew by cutting the roast into pieces and throwing it in with some barley and assorted vegetables! You get the idea.

Original recipe from Diane Rattray, posted to About.com.

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