An Italian American who loves to share food and travel adventures
Sunday Roast – Cold Weather Comfort
October 5, 2016 August 18, 2020
Growing up in an Italian family, Sunday dinners were always special and shared with extended family whenever possible. At one time in my younger life my grandparents lived with us and would invite their friends, cousins, etc. and we’d have a houseful of people. My uncle Mike would get out his accordion and play music until late in the evening. And the party went on. Sad to think those days are over.
Well, even without knowing who would show up on Sunday, there always seemed to be enough food and wine to go around. Today’s recipe is a compilation of many roast beef recipes I’ve tried over the years. It isn’t a recipe I use when I want to make Italian roast beef for slicing because this recipe lends itself to more of a chunked beef style. What I like about it is the roast beef falls apart in chunks so it is versatile to use in ragu sauces, BBQ beef sandwiches, that type of thing — besides just eating it as is — a great moist, meaty roast beef with tomato gravy sauce. The ingredient list may look overwhelming, but don’t let that scare you off. You basically chop and cook – easy.
• 1 carrot chunked (could add more if using carrots as part of the vegetable serving for the evening)
• 1 celery cut into small chunks (add the leaves and/or celery root for added flavor)
• 2 cups red wine (1/2 red & 1/2 white is okay too)
• 2 bay leaves
• 1 Tablespoon fresh oregano (can use dried)
• 1 Tablespoon red pepper flakes (or small chopped red pepper - I use fresh whenever I can)
• 1 Tablespoon Kosher salt
• 2 28-ounce cans whole peeled tomatoes (San Marzanos are my favorite, other varieties work fine too. I use 1 can of tomatoes and 28 ounces of fresh tomatoes from the garden when I can.)
• Olive oil
Sauce: Add a few tablespoons of olive oil to a large heated fry pan. Add onions, cook about 2 minutes. Garlic is then added along with all the tomatoes and juices canned and/or fresh. Then add wine, oregano, pepper and bay leaves. Season with pepper and salt. Bring the sauce to a simmer for a few minutes then transfer to crock pot.
Meat: Season the roast with salt and pepper. Place in heated fry pan with olive oil and sear on both sides (about 2 minutes). Remove roast from fry pan and add to crock pot. Add carrots, and celery to fry pan to brown (about 3 minutes). Then add them to the crock pot. Add a little water to match the level of the roast if you need to, however, you do not have to cover the roast with liquid. Optional: I also added a couple of pork ribs to the pot - not necessary - just what I like to do sometimes to mix things up a bit.
Hang in - you're almost there! Put the cover on the crock pot and set it for about 6 hours on high. You know the cooking power of your crock pot, so adjust time if you need to.
When finished, check meat for tenderness. Remove the bay leaves before serving. At this point you can chunk the roast beef (I dare you to try and slice it. Mine just falls apart nicely in chunks). Serve with a generous ladle of the tomato gravy. Oh so good with a warm chunk of bread.