Recipe: Summer Crock Pot Roast

I’ve been rattling off the basics of this crock pot dinner to people for about two years now, but always forgot to take photos along the way and didn’t want to post this meal without proof of how yummy it looks.  Forget the taste… this dinner just looks tasty.  Add some crusty bread, a fluffy snowstorm, a warm fire, and this meal becomes the start of…. oh, wait… it’s JUNE!   I’ve been using this recipe as my favorite winter pot roast dinner for my crock pot, so I thought I would see how it would work if I “summer-ized” it by switching out the deep red wine I usually use and replacing it with white wine…

Summer Pot Roast

As it would happen, this dinner was really good with white wine!  Nothing like having an experiment go well, eh?

Ok… let me tell you about this simple dinner.  I started with a large bulk roast that I picked up on a huge sale at my local grocery store.  I honestly don’t remember what cut it was or just how much I had… I just remember that it was almost half of the original cost and “looked like a pot roast” to me.

I pulled out my crock pot and started the assembly of dinner before I left for work one morning.  I sliced up four golden potatoes into quarters, length-wise, and then added one thick sliced vidalia onion.  I separated the onion pieces and placed the veggies into the bottom of my crock pot before placing the frozen roast on top.  I had a quarter bottle of James River Cellars Chardonel and a quarter bottle of James River Cellars Gewurztraminer white wines in my fridge, so I poured the  ends of both bottles over the meat and potato/onion mixture.  I doused the meat liberally with garlic salt and some freshly ground pepper before I turned the crock pot on for 8-hours and left for work.

When I came home that evening, the house smelled wonderful.  I’d forgotten to add garlic to the roast, but it still smelled really tasty.   Now was my chance to finish the meal and pull everything together. I ladled out two cups of liquid from the pot and, using a whisk, blended in 3 Tablespoons of flour.  I poured this back into the crock pot and stirred in about a half bag of frozen peas.  After letting this cook for a few minutes, I realized that I needed something bright to make this dish really shine, so I quickly cooked some baby carrots in the microwave before stirring them into the thickening stew as well.  A quick taste of the broth gave me the chance to adjust the seasonings before dinner, then I let the crock pot work it’s magic for another 10-15 minutes.

To plate this meal, I carefully removed the roast from the stew and gently shredded the beef.  I ladled stew into a shallow bowl for each of us and added a portion of meat to top off our summer dinner.  If I’d had some crusty bread (or had taken the time to pick up bread sticks or make crescent rolls) this meal would have been over-the-top good… I wouldn’t have had to resort to using a spoon to sop up the ends of the stew!  This is another meal that will continue to taste wonderful as you warm up bowls over the next day or two, so feel free to make extra to share.  Your friends and co-workers will thank you!

Recipe: Italian Pot Roast

Here’s one of my favorite recipes for a chilly winter’s evening.  It’s great on a night where you don’t want to have to think about dinner and all you want to do is come home to dinner with the family.  This is a simple recipe to make for as many people you’ll be feeding… from two on up to as many as you can fit in your kitchen.  Feel free to play with the ingredients as well – it’s the idea of the recipe rather than the specifics.  Use The Force and create your own version of this delicious meal… then sit back and enjoy the compliments!Italian Pot Roast


2 ½-pound London broil

1 t salt

½ t pepper

1 t extra virgin olive oil

2 onions, sliced or chopped

½ -pound fresh mushrooms, sliced

4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped

1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes

1t dried basil

½ cup dry red wine (Suggested: James River Cellars’ Cabernet Franc, Merlot, or Meritage)



  1. Cut beef into large chunks, then sprinkle with ½ t salt and ¼ t pepper.  Heat oil in large stock pot over medium high heat and cook until browned, about 6 minutes.
  2. Remove beef.  Add onions, mushrooms and garlic to pot.  Cook, stirring occasionally until the vegetables begin to brown and soften, about 6-7 minutes. Add tomatoes, basil and wine along with remaining salt and pepper.  Cook until mixture begins to thicken, about 5-6 minutes.  Replace the beef in the stock pot and place in oven, at 250 degrees.  Cook for 4-5 hours.
  3. Remove beef once fork-tender and keep warm.  Cook all remaining ingredients on stove-top until thickened, 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Serve beef and sauce with mashed potatoes and a crisp, green salad.


Note:  Can use Crock pot and cook on high for 4-5 hours OR on low for 6-8 hours