Monday, March 4, 2013

Pot Roast A L'Orange in Crock Pot

One of my favorite kitchen tools is my crock pot. I plan a crock pot mean for when I know for sure I'll be too busy to cook after picking up the girls from school.

That's every Monday.

My girls have piano lessons immediately after school every week, which means by the time we arrive home, there's not much time before I have to get dinner on the table. Enter: my crock pot to save the day! [insert halleluiah chorus sound effect here!]

Today I posted my love for my crock pot on Facebook:

Several of those comments came from friends asking for the recipe and where I come up with my recipes, so I thought I'd share both here.

I have a few crock pot/ slow cooker cookbooks in my library, however, I haven't consulted them in a while because many of the recipes call for cream of mushroom or chicken or whatever soup and I just don't buy those. As I explained to one commenter I try to limit my processed food purchases to those with 5 or fewer ingredients on the label and all must be ingredients I could easily find to use in my own kitchen or at least identify, such as added vitamin C for example.

So where do I get my recipes? Good ol' Google Search is where I get my inspiration. I check out a few recipes of something I might want to try, make my own tweaks - or more changes - and then give it a whirl. Tonight's Pot Roast a l'Orange was originally inspired by a recipe my Dad makes out of his old Betty Crocker cookbook. Basically he uses orange juice concentrate as a base for the sauce and sweet potatoes instead of white potatoes in the pot with the roast. So that's where I began.

And here's where I ended up:

Pot Roast a l'Orange in Crock Pot

3-5 lb. bottom round or lean chuck roast (or other beef pot roast of your choice); bone in is best, but I had boneless today

salt & pepper
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. ground ginger
3 Tbls olive oil
zest of 1 orange, then remove skin
1 whole orange, skin removed (from above)
2 C vegetable or chicken broth, homemade is best; I always have some in my freezer
1/4 C maple syrup
1 C cranberry pomegranate juice (read the label and only get 100% juice)
1 medium onion, chopped
2 large sweet sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-2" chunks
3 ribs celery, cut into 2" chunks
3 parsnips, peeled and cut into 1-2" chunks
1 bay leaf
1/4 C corn starch dissolved in about 1/3 C water (called a slurry)

  1. Heat oil in large, heavy skillet. Season all sides of roast with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and ginger. Brown all sides of meat. Meanwhile, put zest through cranberry pomegranate juice into a Vitamix or other high power blender and blend until orange is completely incorporated.
  2. Add onion and sweet potatoes to the crock pot. Nestle meat on top. Add celery and parsnips on top and around meat. 
  3. Deglaze pan by adding about half the orange mixture and scraping up the browned bits from the pan (those bits are called "fond" in case it ever comes up in a game of Trivial Pursuit, and they are full of rich flavor). Pour sauce from pan as well as all remaining sauce over meat to come up to the top of the meat. I needed a little water to get to the level I wanted. Tuck bay leaf into liquid and season with salt and pepper. Cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 6-7 hours.
  4. About 20 minutes before serving time, remove lid and stir in corn starch slurry. Cover and allow mixture to come to a boil. 
  5. Carve meat, it will be falling apart deliciously, and serve with veg on the bottom, meat on top, covered generously with sauce. Enjoy!