The fall harvest season is my favorite time of the year. I love that every surface in the kitchen and dining room is covered in fresh garden produce, the dehydrator is always running, and canning jars are all. over. the. place. Open windows allow a light breeze to travel through the house, and I am wearing sweaters and putting a pinch of cinnamon in my morning coffee.
It’s almost like a switch flips. That first cool, breezy, end-of-summer day makes me want apples, cinnamon, squash, and slowly stewed meats with root vegetables.
This pot roast is a great way to use up some of those end of season tomatoes. I often use the slightly over ripe tomatoes and the the ones that have started to get a soft or moldy spot on one side… of course, I cut the bad parts off and only use the good. The acidity from the tomatoes helps tenderize the meat, and as the tomatoes cook they release their liquid for the meat to cook in.
The finished pot roast has a very light and subtle tomato flavor. I like to scoop up some of the cooked tomato pieces from the bottom of the pot to dress each serving of pot roast with.
And I always, always, always serve pot roast smothered in fried onions. They’re just too good not to.
As for the other accompaniments, any combination of root vegetables is always a good choice. I think most people like to throw their vegetables into the slow cooker with the meat, but I don’t do that. I much prefer the brown, caramelized, concentrated flavors of oven-roasted vegetables. It does make an extra pan to clean, but it’s always worth it.
Especially if Karl does the dishes.
Because of the light tomato flavor, sautéed zucchini goes really well with this pot-roast!
End of Summer Tomato & Herb Pot Roast
3lb beef chuck roast
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 Tbs pastured lard, or other cooking fat
4 cups roughly chopped tomatoes, any variety
1 sprig each fresh rosemary and sage
3 sprigs each fresh thyme and parsley
3 cloves garlic, minced
Season the meat evenly on both sides with salt and pepper and set aside.
Turn your slow cooker to high and add in the chopped tomatoes, herbs, and minced garlic; they will form a nice bed for the meat to rest on in the slow cooker (affiliate).
Heat a cast-iron or other pan over high-heat (affiliate). When the pan is screamin’ hot, add in the lard and when it is melted carefully place the roast into the pan. Allow the meat to sear for several minutes, or until brown on the first side. Flip the meat and sear on the second side until brown. Really make sure it gets dark brown here, don’t skimp on this step. Transfer the meat to the slow cooker.
While the pan is still very hot, add 1/2 cup water to it; it should bubble and sizzle. Use a spatula to scrape up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan and into the water. Pour this liquid from the pan into the slow cooker on top of the meat.
Set it and forget it. Cook on high for 4-5 hours, or until the meat falls apart easily.
To make oven-roasted vegetables, this is what I do:
Cut the veggies in slightly larger than bit-sized pieces and place them all on one big sturdy sheet pan (affiliate). I don’t mix them on the pan, but rather, try to keep them in separate ares of the pan (in case one veggie cooked waaay faster than another, I can easily remove that veggie from the pan). Then I drizzle a generous amount of olive oil onto the veggies and use my hands to toss them around and makes sure each one is coated. A light sprinkle of salt and into the oven at 400 degrees F. I check on them after 20 minutes, and then every ten minutes after that. Carrots tend to burn on the bottom before they show signs of browning on top, so don’t let them fool you. Cook all the veggies until they are wonderfully golden brown.
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