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like a smack in the head

Recipe: crock pot roast beef

Whoa. It’s spring. Even here in the Land of Ephemeral Summer, it’s bleeping spring. Talk about a mind fuck what with Daylight saving, another round of chemo, and the warm spell this weekend – I have awoken to a world that is now a lot… hotter. Not that I mind spring. Despite my love for winter, I actually embrace the arrival of all seasons because it’s a refreshing change. To be honest, spring here is really a warmer version of winter with nice big snow dumps paired with longer sunny days. Makes for great mountaineering conditions and who doesn’t love to ski some of that corn snow in the backcountry? Tap tap tap – waiting for the snowpack to get just right. Oh, my tele days are not over yet – not by a long shot.

And let’s not forget the bounty of spring produce. I get all excited in anticipation, although I’ll have to figure out which foods I can and cannot partake of because of my treatment. Still, a creative cook can make her way around some of those obstacles. Even though we’re still days off from the official start of spring (and in my neck of the woods it doesn’t feel like spring until May) I got started on my spring cleaning of sorts: closets, cupboards, paperwork, projects… While I was at it, I remembered that I had several recipes squirreled away for posting and some of them are “wintry” dishes. Best to get on those soon, eh?

Oh but first, more goodies in the post – a surprise from dearest, sweetest Anita of Dessert First! I have to say that food bloggers are some of the nicest people in the world. Add to that the fact that they also have teh best taste in food stuffs and you will never be more pampered and showered with love by a better person or persons.

i nearly peed my pants when i saw where the yummies were from!

Isn’t she a dear? What a complete delight to have these to look forward to after my treatment. Anita, you are the best! xxoo

Right. On to the recipe for crock pot roast beef, which I got while attending a funeral. People bring comfort food when someone dies, when someone is ill – a basic and kind gesture from the heart. I’ve made this recipe several times to take to others. I like that it was brought to me in a time of need and that I can pass it along to others in their time of need. That said, you don’t have to be dead or dying to enjoy it – it’s perfectly suited for squeezing in on the last chilly evenings of winter too.

a hunk o’ beef chuck

This recipe is so easy that if you can’t make it, you really shouldn’t be allowed out in public unsupervised. It calls for a slab of chuck roast, celery, onion, water, red wine, and soy sauce. The crock pot makes it ludicrously easier still.

celery and onion

As I’ve stated before, I am a huge fan of taking tough cuts of meat and slow cooking them into tender oblivion. It’s like that lead into gold thing, except this is much tastier and you will have more friends.

dump it all in the crock pot and set the timer to: delicious

Most people can’t help digging into the roast as soon as it is done, but I take it a few steps further. I strain the broth and refrigerate it for defatting (yes, this requires planning ahead). While the meat is still hot, I remove any fat and gristle. Shred or leave in chunks – fantastic either way.


The broth can be left as broth or turned into a fabulous gravy. For gravy: mix up a quick roux of butter and flour and then temper it a little at a time with the broth until you have the consistency desired. This gravy is amazing on mashed yukon gold potatoes. But, we ate the potatoes up before I got around to shooting the beef this time.

pleasantly heady pot roast

I should mention that the leftovers make some kick ass sandwiches if you are so inclined. Personally, I like to pair it with some melted Swiss. Jeremy loves dipping the sandwich into some of the broth on the side. It’s all good.

love the sandwich

Crock Pot Roast Beef
[print recipe]

3-5 lbs. chuck roast
1 cup water
1 cup red wine
1 cup soy sauce
1 cup celery, diced
1 cup onion, diced

Dump it all in the crock pot. Set to high for 8 hours. Dig in.

60 nibbles at “like a smack in the head”

  1. Susan at StickyGooeyCreamyChewy says:

    You can’t beat that pot roast with a stick! It looks fabulous! I’ve got a beautiful hunk of brisket chilling out in the fridge while I figure out what to do with it. This just might be the thing!

    Take care of yourself. :)

  2. Shoshanna says:

    I’m a first time visitor to your blog. I love everything from the beautifully framed photos to the delicious recipes that cater to a multitude of skill levels, and your witty and insightful commentaries! Most importantly, I really enjoyed reading your recipes for Chinese food! It gives me hope that someday, I can recreate all the delicious dishes that my grandma used to make.

    Brilliant website! It is fan-freakin’-tastic. :)

  3. Maya says:

    I love your site…I always look forward to seeing the pup!
    Everything you make looks wonderful Jen!

  4. Ginny says:

    Delicious! A perfect easy comforting dinner! I don’t use the slow cooker nearly enough! Take care of yourself!

  5. Sarah says:

    Yum…I am always afraid of my slow cooker, but I am going to have to try this out! Thanks!

  6. amanda says:

    This is the quintessential hearty meal. I normally don’t make pot roast in a crock pot, but the next time I am totally am going the crockpot way. Hope you enjoy those tasty treats, especially the ones from Miette. I have always wanted to try that place and I only live an hour away from it. Road trip :)

  7. Lucy says:

    First of all, those Recchiuti burnt caramel almonds are worth knocking over small children for. And I don’t even like almonds! So good!

    Second, the brisket looks fab but I was wondering how you might modify it for a slow simmer in a dutch oven. Or do you think you could just throw it in a 300 degree oven for a few hours?

  8. Judith says:

    I have to say, I’m a wee bit jealous. I live 12 or so hours northeast of you, up in Iowa, and while we also have that “big pile of snow interspersed with sun” spring, there is definitely no skiing. I badly miss skiing from living on the East Coast, and I was considering renting a car and driving to Colorado for spring break and a little break from my law studies – assuming that spring break would be the very end of the ski season. I had no idea that it’s the peak out there! Haha. Definitely not going to be able to pay those prices, but maybe one day. It all looks so beautiful :-)

  9. cindy says:

    Damn. That looks AMAZING. You’re right: time to crank out a few more winter recipes. And you know that ludicrously easy is just my style.

    Our magnolia tree is in full blossom, and all of the Berkeley hills smell like flowers, so it’s kind of hard to be pissed about the winter ending. I’ll come to terms with it better when I’m done with the ski trips I’ve got in the hopper.

    Lucy (Jen, do you mind if I add a few cents here?): Cooks Illustrated recommends a method that works well for a dutch oven. Brown the meat in a little olive oil, take it out, add a little more oil and sautee the vegetables. Add in the liquids, bring to a simmer, put the lid on the pot and put it in the oven at, I dunno, something like 300 for, I dunno, until it’s done. Not as labor-free as the crock pot but a good way to heat up a chilly house on a weekend afternoon.

    Glad you’re on your feet. Or at least on your butt within reach of a keyboard. And glad to know people are taking care of you.

  10. Deborah says:

    I swear it seems like in the food blogging world that people get on the same wavelengths without noticing – just earlier this month I posted about my crockpot roast beef and the sandwich that followed! This past week I have seen a few different people post about pot roast – it’s kind of scary!!

    Your pot roast sounds amazing!

  11. Christine says:

    I was thinking of what to make for St. Pat’s and this will be it. And afterwards, I will relish in the fact that I don’t necessarily require supervision in public :)

  12. Woolly says:

    your right, this is the one thing that even I can’t screw up… Looks amazing… oh and I made that chicken soup I was talking about… it finally worked out and I made a soup that you would be proud of!!

  13. White On Rice Couple says:

    Is your snow finally melting? :) Awww, too bad. :( (Yeah, we’re being jealous, meanie weanies).
    Awesome presents! We love receiving and giving gifts too, so we’ll send you some goodies too to show that we’re not all that mean.
    You’ve got a kick ass transformation of beef here, actually in two ways. All you need are some picked daikon/carrots, pate and soy and you’ve got a third dish: Vietnamese Pot Roast Banh Mi!

  14. Richard Bash says:

    Very lovely. Thanks. I am salivating over that. Tomorrow (Thursday) I will make the trip to the grocery store and try your suggestion. Be well!

  15. Graeme says:

    If you don’t stop producing these pieces of perfection and not sharing, I’m gonna stop reading.

    Be warned.

    ..Lol, no – I could never stop coming here.

  16. Kevin says:

    That pot roast looks amazing. The beef looks so tender and and “fall apart”.

  17. peabody says:

    Okay, I own a crock pot(a gift) and have never used it. I am going to give this a try. My beef loving husband will be loving you for the recipe.

  18. kathryn says:

    Hi Jen!
    Pot roast looks amazing. I made one once and didn’t use the soy sauce, only the wine and I didn’t like it. I will make it again and i am going to try it with the soy sauce and I bet that will make a difference!

    Would you send me an email with a shipping address for you? I may pop something in the mail for you, if I can find what I am looking for!!!

    Hope you are well and becoming stronger everyday…

    Klem. (hug in Norwegian)

  19. Lucy says:

    Cindy: Thanks for the method–I can’t wait to try it out!

    Jen: On an unrelated post, I tried the mac & cheese recipe last night. It was perfect!

  20. gaga says:

    wow, that looks good and super easy. do you think it’d work with a pressure cooker? i’ll have to give it a try.

  21. Joanne says:

    Saliva, dripping on keyboard. I’d turn that into a haiku if I wasn’t so distracted by thoughts of that roast beef.
    Yum and more yum

  22. KatieC says:

    This looks awesome. Makes my anemic salad seem like a pretty worthless lunch.

    I’ll be stopping off for the ingredients for this dish on my way home tonight. Not the wine, though; I already have plenty of that.

  23. Anita says:

    Aw Jen, I’m so glad you liked the package! You are totally amazing in my eyes for continuing to make such kick-ass food and take such awesome pictures even when you don’t feel 100%! So happy that I could brighten your day in some small way!

  24. LyB says:

    Gorgeous! Leftover roast beef sandwiches were my favorite as a child, my mom would make them for my lunch at school, mmmmm, so good! Thanks so much for the recipe!

  25. jenyu says:

    Susan – thank you, hon!

    Shoshanna – thanks so much. I hope you try out the Chinese recipes :)

    Maya – awww, thanks. The pup is being a bum now and snoring her brains out next to me!

    Ginny – I always try to find more recipes to use my cooker for… I only have a handful! thanks xxoo

    Sarah – don’t be afraid! Love the one you’re with, babe :)

    Amanda – oh, I know! I read about Miette long ago and when I saw the label I cried out for joy! Those cookies (maybe cream cheese jam cookies?) are to die for – they are sooooo good.

    Lucy – ha ha ha, that is a hilarious way to describe the almonds! They really are incredible. As for the beef – Cindy’s got ya covered. I know very little about dutch ovens other than… I have one (durrrrr).

    Judith – yup, our ski season here is pretty good, typically Dec to Mar is reliable, but in good years we can ski as early as Oct and as late as July!!

    Cindy – I have a soft spot for ridiculously easy recipes :) You know, where you guys live, it’s possible to have flowers blooming and still ski the next day. I guess it’s the same here. Boulder starts sprouting flowers and when I go home, it’s mud and ice and snow and… more tele! Thanks for answering Lucy’s question since I don’t know what a hell a dutch oven is. It’s a pot, right? So why call it an oven? wtf?! I’m on my feet now, but what is up with the friggin’ hot flashes, hello?!

    Deborah – comfort food. I’ll bet everyone is on the edge of their seats for spring too? Well, not everyone :)

    Christine – ha ha ha! Girlfriend, when we are done with our ARPs (are we EVER done?!?) we’ll both need public supervision for the lethal bods we’ll be sporting…. okay, maybe just you ;) xxoo

    Woolly – you gonna post that chicken soup? I posted one for ya!!

    WoRC – it melted, and then it snowed some more! :) Awww, you guys are too sweet. You don’t need to send me anything. Just promise me a rockin’ good time when I’m next in So Cal. I’m going to inhale sushi when my chemo is over! Oooh, that dish sounds AMAZING.

    Richard – yay!

    Graeme – you’re such a dear. I would never want you to stop visiting – I don’t have enough snarky commenters ;)

    Kevin – mmmm, fall apart is the best!

    Peabody – what a great way to inaugurate your crock pot. Hey – happy anniversary!!

    Kathryn – sweetie, you don’t have to send me anything – you know that, right? I hope you like the pot roast with the soy sauce (I think it might taste a little nasty with just red wine too!). xxoo

    Lucy – great! I’m going to spend the rest of my life running off those calories though :)

    Gaga – I bet it would. I don’t know anything about pressure cookers, but I’m sure it will be great.

    Joanne – haiku?! that’s awesome!

    KatieC – alright! I hope you guys like it.

    Anita – you are the absolute BEST, hon. Thanks for sharing a little bit of SF with me – one of my favorite cities ever :) xxoo

    LyB – oh, now I’m wishing I had more of that leftover for sandwiches. LOVE the sandwiches :)

  26. Gretchen Noelle says:

    This looks deliciously easy. I plan to try this some time. I bet it is just absolutely tasty! Thanks!

  27. Tartelette says:

    I don’t have a crockpot (nothing against them, it’s just a cultural difference I think) but I’ll give this a try in the Dutch oven or clay pot. Looks delicious. Anita sent me a load of the cookies and almonds after my surgery and it made the recovery that much sweeter!!! Hope you are doing well. Although I complain that here we don’t have winter or fall, I get excited when I see the magnolias and plum trees blooming!

  28. jenyu says:

    Gretchen – it’s a total hit and so easy! I hope you love it!

    Tartelette – I’ve done this once in a normal pot on the stove top and it works just fine. See Cindy’s instructions above for dutch oven :) Isn’t that Anita such a dear? She is incredible (and she lives in such a tasty city!!!). I’m doing so much better today – thank you. I see myself with 12 more days of freedom before the next cycle. I too can’t help getting excited about spring’s arrival, it’s really a beautiful and lifting feeling! xxoo

  29. Mrs Ergul says:

    So do I not have a crockpot. and this is also my first time here :) nice to meet you. i shall try it with a normal pot and when i get my own crockpot i will sure be delighted by the difference. by the way, if i use a normal pot on stock, do i still leave in on ‘high’ fire for 8 hours? I guess not but I need to be sure :)

  30. jenyu says:

    Mrs Ergul – I think if you use a normal stock pot you want to bring it to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer and cover it. Let it simmer for… 2-3 hours making sure it doesn’t boil over. Check it and when the meat starts to fall apart, you’re done. Good luck!

  31. Anyone Miss Me? « Sweet N Savory says:

    […] for those of you who made it this far….I want to give you a link to one of the best pot roast recipes (if you can even call it a recipe) I’ve ever made/tasted/seen.  Jen, over at use real […]

  32. Kalvin Coleman says:

    This is the best recipe that I have ever made, I love the favor of the meat and the broth is out of this world. This will be the only way I cook roast beef for now on.

  33. jenyu says:

    Kalvin – so glad it works for ya!

  34. cohnsey says:

    wow! This looks amazing and so super easy! Thanks for sharing, I’m trying this out this week!

  35. jenyu says:

    Cohnsey – great! I hope you like the recipe. It is ridiculously easy :)

  36. Katie says:

    This recipe looks fantastic – I’ve just dragged the old slow cooker out of retirement (something about the cool air and the perpetual rain we’re having in th uk calls for slow cooking, and lots of it) and am also consciously trying to cook celery where possible, its so tasty cooked, hmm. i love your blog and your strength. good luck without your appendix! x

  37. Katie says:

    Do i not even brown the meat?

  38. jenyu says:

    Katie – thanks! You could brown the meat if you like. I have never done so (I’m lazy), but I think it would only enhance the flavor, not detract from the roast in any way. Go for it! :)

  39. Ginger Makela says:

    Tried the pot roast recipe today — turned out just delicious. My husband and I drove up to Nederland from Boulder to enjoy the blazing Aspens and then returned home to the pot roast. Great Sunday.

  40. jenyu says:

    Ginger – thanks! Glad you enjoyed the colors. They’re getting pretty lovely now!

  41. wonderment » Blog Archive » Self-Control says:

    […] for breakfast. I had a sandwich for lunch made of left-over pot roast (you simply have to try Jen’s recipe – I linked to it a few weeks ago and we made it this weekend and it was awesome!) and a slice of […]

  42. Jenny says:

    This is an awesome site. I have prepared several recipes from your list and they have ALL been a fantastic hit! I hope I can try them all!!

  43. jenyu says:

    Jenny – thanks, so glad you are finding it useful!

  44. Becca says:

    This is an awesome recipe! I’m on a low carb diet and I’m constantly looking for new stuff to eat. This is the most delicious pot roast I have ever had. I added some whole carrots, fresh mushrooms and green beans and it is amazing! Thanks so much for such a beautifully crafted post and the best pot roast in the WORLD!

  45. jenyu says:

    Becca – that sounds awesome. So glad you like the recipe. It’s a keeper, for sure :)

  46. HoneyB says:

    I made this roast today. My home smelled heavenly and the roast was SUPER flavorful! Thanks!

  47. jenyu says:

    HoneyB – yay! It’s a terrific (and easy) recipe :)

  48. wonderment » Blog Archive » Don’t worry, Korben kept us safe says:

    […] came over to our house for Easter dinner, which was awesome. I made Jen’s Crock Pot Roast Beef, which got rave reviews, as always, and some veggies. Everyone else provided the other stuff, and it […]

  49. Kelly says:

    I love, love, love this recipe! It’s so easy, and turns out perfect every time. I made it again for Easter this past weekend, and my family loved it. It definitely out-performs any other roast. This time, I seared both sides of the roast before putting in the crock pot, which is a nice addition, if you have the time, but totally not necessary.

    Thanks so much!

  50. jenyu says:

    Kelly – Mmm, that’s a great touch and awesome bit of advice. Thank YOU! :)

  51. Summer says:

    Trying this tomorrow…busy college student and I’m just going to set that crock-pot on and hope for the best! Lots of guests flying/driving to see my roommates and I so I hope I don’t mess it up. Like you said I’d have to be an idiot.

  52. Megan says:

    Mmmmm! Finally I have discovered a crock pot roast beef recipe that meets my husband’s approval! I made this tonight for the first time and will put it in my top 10 “go to” recipes. So simple, yet so tasty! Now, what to do with the leftovers….BBQ beef sandwiches, pasties……Thank you!

  53. Mrs Ergul says:

    Do you think this is a pressure cooker convertable recipe?

  54. jenyu says:

    Mrs. Ergul – definitely, although I haven’t tried it yet.

  55. Amy says:

    If I make this without the celery & onion will it still taste good? No one in my family will eat the celery or onion. I don’t need to season it any?

  56. jenyu says:

    Amy – I’m going to recommend you use the celery and onion. They cook down to practically sauce and the flavors are melded with the soy sauce and wine into something pretty awesome. Most of the people I know who don’t like onion and celery hardly notice it in the dish.

  57. Lisa says:

    This pot roast has become one of our staple meals. So little effort with so big a payoff–love that! Sometimes I throw in a little package of “beef blend” fresh herbs, but it’s great with or without extras. I used to add some potatoes and carrots near the end of cooking, but now I make roasted potatoes with rosemary to go with the roast. Since I am allergic to onions (yes, it’s devastating) I substitute chopped carrots and add some asafoetida instead, and the roast is still wonderful.

  58. Meals Under 30 Minutes | Bigger Than the Three of Us says:

    […] 8. The best ever Crockpot Roast Beef – Use Real Butter […]

  59. Lisa says:

    Been using this recipe since you posted it years ago…makes the house smell like a fine dining restaurant and has even been placed as a hot ticket item at our Thanksgiving! So easy and soooo delicious!

  60. Lisa says:

    I forgot to mention earlier, I was searching this recipe as Id forgotten whether is was high or low for 8. When I found your original blog post, i realized this was the first special meal i made for my then boyfriend, now husband! Still our favorite!

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