May 23, 2010

Slow-Cooker Italian Shredded Beef

Now might be the point at which I say something like "I'm not planning on turning this blog into a food blog..." but that would be silly, since I seem to think about food constantly, and so that occupies a lot of my blogging as well.

We relied on our slow cooker this past semester for preparing meals that would be ready when we were ready to eat. There are a few obvious advantages of slow-cooking for the busy student/worker/person. I shall enumerate them.

  1. It allows you to shift the preparation time of your meal 7-10 hours prior to eating.
  2. It reduces your time spent cooking because, after prep, the cooking occurs largely unattended.
  3. Leftovers are often of the type easily frozen for quick meals on other weeks.

Disadvantages:

  1. Generally speaking, seafood is out of the picture unless you're just preparing a base and throwing in the seafood at the last minute
  2. If you like your meat browned, you have to do that during the prep.
  3. Some ingredients get really mushy, so recipes are important at first.

Another disadvantage, not related directly to the slow-cooker, is that my kids won't eat a lot of the things I prepare in it. So, it was a surprise when they liked this Italian Shredded Beef recipe.

Shredded meat is a great slow-cooker staple, and not just beef. Pork roasts cook wonderfully in the slow cooker. For those avoiding red meat, chicken thighs are terrific. I'm still working on the perfect chicken thigh slow cooker recipe, and considering adapting Lebanese chicken stew for the crock pot.

In any event, here is an example of how simple and good a slow-cooker recipe can be. I give you the recipe as it was given to me, and tell you that you should really modify it for your tastes. I am not a big fan of rigidity in recipes. I change them depending on mood. In the mood for paprika? In goes the paprika. In the mood for spicy? A few dashes of Frank's or Tabasco. Prefer sherry to water? I won't tell. This recipe is a great starting point.

Slow-Cooker Italian Shredded Beef

5 pounds chuck roast
3 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon basil
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 package Good Seasonings Italian salad dressing mix

Trim excess fat from roast. Place roast in crock pot. Boil water (or heat in microwave) then mix water with all seasonings and pour over roast. Cover and cook on low 8 - 10 hours.

Remove meat, allow to cool slightly and shred, discarding any fat. Return shredded meat to broth in crock pot and cook on high until heated through, 15 minutes to 1/2 hour.

Use a slotted spoon to serve meat on large buns or rolls.

This recipe, or one like it, can be found many places on our dear Internets. Like here on allrecipes, where they include a bay leaf.

Posted by James at May 23, 2010 12:08 PM
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Comments

I used to use the crock pot strictly for stews. It wasn't until a few years ago that I tried it for roasts. Now I wouldn't do a pork roast any other way.

Posted by: Julie at May 23, 2010 9:03 PM

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