How to Cook a Tender Roast in a Crock Pot Without Water

Although you don't need to add water to the slow cooker for a Crock-Pot roast, you do need some liquid to create steam.
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Although you don't need to add water to the slow cooker for a Crock-Pot roast, you do need some liquid to create steam, according to the University of Minnesota Extension. Plus, adding some sort of liquid — such broth, wine, tomato juice or beer — gives a pot roast recipe extra flavor.


Ingredients for a Pot Roast

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  • 2 1/2 pounds of tender beef:‌ The best cuts of beef for a pot roast is a chuck roast, according to the Cattleman's Beef Board and National Cattlemen's Beef Association. You might find this under a number of different names, including arm chuck roast, 7-bone chuck roast, cross rib chuck roast, chuck tender roast, chuck eye roast or blade chuck roast. All of these can be used in a pot roast recipe.
  • Root vegetables:‌ A pot roast recipe traditionally calls for carrots, onions and white potatoes, although you can use sweet potatoes as in this easy beef pot roast recipe from Purdue University Extension Nutrition Education Program.
  • Braising liquid:‌ Slow cookers work by creating steam that braises the meat until it's tender, which is why you can't make a roast in a slow cooker with no liquid. You will need between 2 and 2 1/2 cups of liquid for a slow cooker pot roast; this recipe from the National Onion Association calls for tomato juice, beef broth and red wine.
  • Seasonings:‌ Don't forget to add salt and pepper to your Crock-Pot roast. You can also add chopped fresh thyme leaves and rosemary to boost the flavor.
  • Flour:‌ If you want to thicken the juices from the pot roast, you'll need to combine the liquid with flour.

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Instructions: Slow Cooker Pot Roast

  1. Prepare the beef:‌ Trim any extra fat from the roast. Place it in the slow cooker, and season the beef with salt and pepper.
  2. Add the vegetables:‌ Arrange the carrots, onions and potatoes around the beef.
  3. Pour in the liquid:‌ Add 2 cups of liquid to the slow cooker. It can be a combination of beef broth, tomato juice and red wine.
  4. Add the herbs:‌ Sprinkle the roast, vegetables and liquid with rosemary, thyme, salt and pepper.
  5. Cook for eight hours:‌ Put the cover on the slow cooker and set it to low for eight to 10 hours.
  6. Thicken the liquid:‌ Around 15 minutes before the roast is done, combine a half-cup of beef broth and 2 tablespoons of flour. Whisk thoroughly until combined, and pour it into the slow cooker. Continue to cook for 15 minutes on high.


Pot Roast Gravy Variation

Instead of thickening the liquid in the slow cooker pot roast, Purdue University Extension Nutrition Education Program suggests making gravy once the meal is cooked.

  1. Drain the liquid from the slow cooker into a measuring cup:‌ Let the liquid sit until the fat has floated to the surface. Use a spoon to remove the layer of fat and discard.
  2. Make a slurry:‌ Combine a half-cup of beef broth and 2 tablespoons of flour and whisk well to combine.
  3. Cook the gravy:‌ Pour the remaining liquid from the measuring cup into a small saucepan. Add the flour mixture and stir to combine. Cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture has thickened slightly.




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