1.5poundsYukon Gold potatoes peeled and cut into large chunks
Pat roast dry with paper towels, then season with salt and pepper all over. Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high, brown roast 3-4 minutes on all sides. Pour about ¼ cup of beef broth in your crock, then place browned roast in crock.
In the same skillet over medium heat, sauté onions until softened, about 4-5 minutes. Stir in garlic, tomato paste and Italian seasoning. Then, pour wine into skillet, scraping off any browned bits. Allow to simmer until reduced and thickened, 2-3 minutes.
Spread onion mixture over roast in slow cooker. Combine Worcestershire sauce and beef broth, then pour into the crock as well. Add fresh herbs, then cover and cook on LOW for 3-4 hours (please read notes on cooking times).
Open slow cooker and add vegetables around roast. Close lid again and cook on LOW for another 3-4 hours, until vegetables and meat are tender (please read notes on cooking times).
Remove vegetables and meat and keep warm on a serving platter. Discard herbs. Combine cornstarch and cold water and stir into juices left in crockpot. Cook without the lid on HIGH for about 10-15 minutes, until thickened. You can also transfer juices with cornstarch slurry to a pot and simmer on the stove for 5-6 minutes.
Tear meat into pieces, discarding any fatty tissue. Place back on serving platter, smother in gravy and serve!
Beef: I used a boneless chuck roast. Bone-in chuck roast works just as well. I actually prefer using bone-in meats in the crockpot. They tend to yield more flavor, better meat texture and better gravy consistency. But they just had the boneless at the store. I would throw in a couple of beef bones with a boneless roast, but people tend to freak out about it when I show it on videos and in photos, so I left them out for the blog ?
Worcestershire sauce: I always have a bottle in my fridge, but if you don’t, try using soy sauce instead if you have it. And buy a bottle of Worcestershire if you’re into comfort food ?
Red wine: I recommend a red wine on the dry side, and one you would also enjoy drinking. I used a Merlot here. A Cabernet Sauvignon or Pinot Noir would also be great.
Italian seasoning: This doesn’t actually make the roast taste like Italian food, ha! But it’s a great seasoning blend to use here for the variety of herbs in there. If you want to use something else (or don’t keep Italian seasoning on hand), try using a few different dried herbs such as parsley, rosemary, thyme and oregano. Go light on the oregano if you’re making your own mix, because that’s the one herb that does tend to make things taste more Mediterranean.
Tomato paste: I love the depth of flavor a little roasted tomato paste adds to a gravy. It will not make the gravy tomato-flavored, I promise. If you don’t keep tomato paste on hand, feel free to just leave it out. It will alter the taste of the gravy a little and make it less rich, but it’s still perfectly delicious.
Beef broth: I very much insist on sticking to beef broth here. Chicken or vegetable broth will not yield the same result.
Cornstarch: This is essential to thicken the gravy. Using flour as a substitute is very tricky, so it’s not something I would recommend if you can get your hands on some cornstarch. If you must use flour, please know that you’ll need to simmer the gravy for longer than the recipe indicates, and the results may not be the same.
Do not skip browning the beef or sautéing the onion. It adds a lot of extra flavor to the gravy you’re otherwise going to miss.
Make sure you allow the wine to simmer for a few minutes to reduce it and to cook away at least part of the alcohol. You want the concentrated flavor in the gravy, not just the actual wine.
If you don’t have the time available to add the vegetables at the halfway point, you could try adding them after waiting for just 2 hours. If that’s not an option either, you can add them from the beginning, but you’ll have to live with very cooked vegetables. OR prepare them on the stove or in the oven right before serving.
The cooking time depends a lot on how hot your slow cooker runs, and the exact size of your roast. I have a very new crock and it runs hot, so my roast is always done after 6 hours. If your slow cooker is quite old (they tend to run less hot), you may need to increase the cooking time by 1-2 hours.
I let the roast sit as the gravy thickens, then tear it into pieces once the gravy is finished. The meats stays hot and more succulent this way!