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A bit of crock pot cookery

One of my most under-utilized kitchen appliances is my slow cooker.  It’s an unbelievably easy way to have supper ready when Lindsay and I get home from a long day and neither of us feel like doing anything more than throwing in a frozen pizza.  I think the problem lies in that I need to get it prepped the night before and throw it together before I head out to work.  I’ve got my mornings timed to the last minute so I can sleep as late as possible.  I know the obvious solution would be to go to bed earlier, but that never seems appealing to me.  Around a month ago, a friend was coming over to dinner after work and I needed to have something ready to eat basically when I got home.  Fortunately, I had swiped a roast from my folks over Christmas so I had a very easy out with the crock pot.  I don’t remember if I’ve mentioned this before or not, but Mom and Dad have a dairy farm up by St. Cloud and every year they save a steer for butchering.  It’s a much cheaper alternative to buying meat all the time at the grocery store.  Also, in my ever so humble opinion, it is a much tastier option as well as healthier, both because I know where the meat comes from and what the steer gets fed.  (For reference, it is probably closest to organic beef, or as my little sis labels them when she sells the calves, all natural, because she hasn’t gotten the certification).

I was looking for a beef roast recipe that works in a slow cooker.  Specifically I was looking for how long it needed to cook on which setting.  As a starting point, I referred to mini-cookbook that came with it.  And to my surprise, I found a recipe that sounded really good.  Naturally, I tweaked it to suite my tastes, but it was mainly the ratios that I adjusted and added some ginger since I had it in the fridge.

Ingredients:

  • 3 lb Roast
  • 2 tsp ground peppercorns
  • 1/2 bulb Garlic, minced
  • 3.5 Tbs Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1/4 C Soy Sauce
  • 3 Tbs Worcestershire Sauce
  • 2 tsp Mustard Powder
  • 2 thumb sized pieces of Ginger, minced
  • choice of Vegetables, cut large  (I used baby cut carrots, potatoes, celery, and onions)

Place the roast in the center of the slow cooker and arrange the vegetables around it.  Mix the rest of the ingredients together in a small bowl and pour over the roast.  Cook on High for 4-5 hours, or on Low for 8-10 hours.

I know, it's the same pic as a couple of posts ago, but it's the only decent one that I have.

I checked the roast when I got home (total cooking time of 9 hours) and the roast was amazingly tender.  All of the intramuscular fat and sinew had completely dissolved and the meat was literally falling apart as I took it out of the crock pot.  One thing that I would change is to add the veggies later on in the cooking process because after nine hours, they were a little bit mushy.  I guess turning them into a puree or mash would be an option too.  I’m not sure what to do about the dark tint all of the veggies took on because of the cooking liquid.  I guess either accept it as is or cook them separately.  The one thing the I did change when writing down the ingredients above is that I corrected a mistake that I made when I was reading the recipe initially.  I put in a full tablespoon of ground pepper instead of getting a tablespoon of peppercorns then grinding.  It tasted great, it just was on the peppery side.

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