The recipe today is great for those of you who get home at 5:00pm famished, and with a family asking "What's for dinner?" You could assemble this in the morning, or you could assemble everything the night before. The ceramic part of my crock pot is removable so I would put everything except the roast and the broth into the crock pot bowl the night before and stick it in the fridge. In the morning, add the beef and broth, place the ceramic bowl into the crock pot base, and plug it in.
Crock Pot Roast with Simple Pan Gravy
1 beef chuck roast (2.5 - 3 pounds)
2-3 large baking potatoes, diced into medium pieces
3-6 oz baby carrots (about 20 or so)
1 celery rib, chopped
1 small yellow onion, roughly chopped
1 Tablespoon whole peppercorns
2-3 cups beef broth
About 8 oz of broth from the finished roast
1 Tablespoon butter
1 Tablespoon flour
salt and pepper, to taste
1. Put the peppercorns in a plastic zip-top baggie and give them a good whack. Just enough to crack some of them. Place all of the "Pot Roast" ingredients in a crock pot/slow cooker, with just enough broth to cover the roast. It's OK if all the vegetables are not submerged.
2. Cook on low 8-9 hours, or on high for 5-6 hours.
3. For the gravy - After cooking, remove the roast and vegetables from the broth and place on a serving platter. Remove the broth from the crock pot and skim the fat, if desired.
4. Place about 1 Tablespoon of butter into a hot skillet. When the butter is melted, add the same amount of flour (I use whole wheat flour and it works just fine). Mix the flour into the butter and let it cook for just a minute or two. No one else in my family likes gravy so when I make it just for myself, I only use 8 oz of broth, and I have about half leftover. Eight oz would probably be enough to serve 2-3 people, as long as they don't smother everything in gravy. :)
5. Add the broth and whisk continuously over medium heat until the mixture bubbles. Once it bubbles, whisk for 1 or 2 more minutes, until it reduces and thickens. Remove from heat and sprinkle with a little salt. You can add a little pepper as well, but the peppercorns used during the cooking give it a nice flavor.
6. Place gravy in your favorite gravy boat and serve with the roast and vegetables, and maybe some nice wheat bread with a little butter, or with applesauce. I'm Dutch - we serve applesauce with just about anything! :) Should serve about 3-4 people, depending on the size of your roast. In the picture below, there is 6 oz of cooked beef and about 1/3 of the potatoes (used 2 large potatoes). And I'm not big on carrots, so I only took 4.