Pot Roast


Last night we entertained several friends and decided to keep things simple. It was going to be a busy day for me and the forecast was for a chilly night. So I turned to my slow cooker to free me from the kitchen. I thought a pot roast would be perfect. For a recipe, I turned to Martha Stewart’s collection of one-pot recipes, one of which called for beef chuck roast that didn’t need to be browned before braising. Even better–more free time. The recipe along with a video is also available here online.

I particularly like this recipe because, without any herbs and a minimum of seasoning, it really lets the flavor of meat shine. My only changes to the recipe were the addition of a bay leaf, a few more carrots and potatoes as well as a slightly larger roast than called for. I also opted for 8 hours on low rather than 5 on high since I think it makes for a more tender roast.

I served the meat with egg noodles tossed with chopped flat leaf parsley and olive oil.

Our guests must have enjoyed this dish as much as we do as there were no leftovers whatsoever.



1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch
3/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
3 tablespoons tomato paste (I recommend the Italian imported paste in a tube.)
1.5 pound small Yukon Gold potatoes, scrubbed and halved
3 large carrots, quartered and cut into 2-inch pieces
1 medium yellow onion, cut into 1/2-inch wedges
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 bay leaf
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1 beef roast (3 pounds), preferably chuck, trimmed of excess fat and well tied
4 garlic cloves, mashed to a paste


In a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker, stir together cornstarch and 2 tablespoons broth until smooth.(I prefer to make this slurry in a small dish and then add it to the cooker.) Add remaining broth, tomato paste, potatoes, carrots, onion, bay leaf, and Worcestershire. Season with salt and pepper and toss.


Season roast with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and rub with garlic.


Place on top of vegetables. Cover and cook on high until roast is fork-tender, 5 hours (or 8 hours on low).


Transfer roast to a cutting board; thinly slice against the grain. Place vegetables in a serving dish; skim fat from pan juices, then pour through a fine-mesh sieve, if desired. Serve roast and vegetables drizzled with juices.

Wine Pairing: Cotes du Rhone, Syrah

Spaghetti and Meatloaf


Yes, you read the title of this post correctly. Meatloaf, not meatballs, was served with spaghetti. What’s more, the meatloaf was leftover. We’re both fans of this most comforting of comfort foods, so much so that I generally make one once a week. Because I’m generally preparing dinner just for two, we often have at least a half loaf left over, from which we typically make sandwiches or use to serve with fried eggs.

But last night I thought I would use the meatloaf as a substitute for meatballs in a red sauce. I cut the leftover loaf into 1½ cubes, which I then cooked in a plain tomato sauce for about 30 minutes.

The recipe for the sauce was Marcella Hazan’s Tomato, Butter, and Onion. Place an onion cut in half along with a 28-ounce can of San Marzano tomatoes (crushed) and their juice, 5 tablespoons of butter in a heavy-bottomed sauce pan. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cook at a slow simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. When done remove the onion.

My meat loaf is a combination of recipes, but is made from ground dark meat turkey or beef, diced pancetta, bread crumb, parsley, garlic, cubed feta cheese, raisins, eggs and milk and seasoned with salt, pepper, and cumin. I think however that you could substitute almost any meat loaf you like.

After adding the cubed meat loaf to the sauce, cook for 30 minutes stirring occasionally but be careful not to break the cubes. When done, transfer to a large skillet.


Just before serving, place the cubes of meat loaf on warmed serving plates.


When the pasta is just shy of al dente, transfer it to the skillet and toss with the sauce and some grated cheese, either Parmigiano-Reggiano or Pecorino Romano.


Transfer the sauced pasta to the plates with the cubed meat loaf.


Not a fancy dish; but on a chilly winter weekday night, it provides loads of comfort and joy.

Wine Pairing: Montepulciano d’Abruzzo