Like many of you, I grew up eating pot roast on a (very) regular basis. And while I will always love my mother's old-school version, I felt it was time for a little upgrade. I've nixed the usual ingredients (which weren't very flavorful or exciting) and replaced them with Dijon mustard, maple, and balsamic for delicious take on a classic.
- 2 1/2 to 3 pounds beef chuck roast (see Recipe Notes)
- 4 to 5 slices bacon, diced (or neutral cooking oil)
- 3 large onions, peeled and sliced into half moons
- 1 1/2 to 2 cups chicken stock
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Fresh thyme, for garnish
Pat the beef dry with paper towels and season generously with salt and pepper.
Set a large Dutch oven or heavy skillet over medium-high to high heat. If you're slow cooker insert can be used on the stove, then use that instead. Add the bacon and cook until some fat starts rendering and it begins to turn golden. Push the bacon to the sides and add the beef. Sear both sides until golden brown, about 10 minutes per side, and transfer all the meat to the bowl of the slow cooker.
Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat. Reduce heat to medium. Add the onions and cook until starting to soften, about 5 minutes. Pour in a few tablespoons of chicken stock and bring to a boil, scraping up any of the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Pour the onions and pan juices into the bowl of the slow cooker.
In a separate bowl, whisk the remaining chicken stock, Dijon, balsamic vinegar, maple syrup, paprika, salt, and pepper until combined. Pour the liquid mixture over the roast. Close the lid and cook on LOW heat until the meat falls apart and is meltingly tender, about 8 hours.
Transfer the roast to a serving bowl or platter and cover with foil. Pour the cooking liquids into large saucepan and bring to a boil. Cook until the gravy is reduced to desired thickness. Cut the roast into chunks and pour hot gravy over the top. Serve with creamy grits, egg noodles, or mashed potatoes and/or oven-roasted carrots.
To make this on the stove: Prepare the meat and vegetables for the pot roast as directed, then place all the ingredients in a Dutch oven. Cover and simmer over very low heat (or in a 325°F oven) until the pot roast is tender. Cooking time will be reduced, so begin checking the roast after about 2 hours.
•Beef chuck from the shoulder area is the ideal meat for a pot roast. Cuts of beef chuck can go by many names: 7-bone pot roast, blade roast, chuck-eye roast, boneless chuck roast, shoulder pot roast, mock tender, flat-iron roast, and cross-rib roast. Choose whichever one has the size and shape to suit your needs. I tested with a 2 1/2 pound 'boneless chuck roast.