Joe's Crock Pot Roast

By popular request, trombone player Joe Jackson presents his scrumptious pot-roast recipe:

1 Chuck Roast
1 Cup Celery, cut to one-inch pieces
1 Cup Carrots, cut to one-inch pieces
3-4 Medium Sweet Onions
1 Package Lipton Recipe Secrets Onion Soup Mix
1/2 Cup Water

Nothing puts everything right in world quite like a slow cooked pot roast. We do a little work in the morning, set the Crock Pot for a long day of cooking, and as our families come home they are rewarded with a savory smell and the promise of a spectacular dinner that is nutritious as it is satisfying. High in protein, long in taste, but no processed sugars or grains. The vegetarians in your house won’t dig it, but you can stir fry some seitan tomorrow to win them back.

Quality of ingredients goes a long way here; I prefer getting pasture-raised beef and organic vegetables. The stuff at Whole Foods is really good. Their chuck roast is generally grass-fed, which means the cows walked around a pasture instead of being raised in a stall with grain, which makes the meat leaner. For the carrots, I prefer a bunch with the greens still attached. I don’t know if that makes it taste better, but somehow it makes me feel better to see real carrots in their whole form. I think it has to do with the pictures in the Peter Rabbit book my mom read me when I was little. For the onions, again organic, but nothing beats the taste of Vidalia onions, even if they aren’t organic.

Step one is to cut up the vegetables. I simply wash the carrots and do not peel them, giving them a rustic look. Cut the ends off the onions and then slice them in half from top to bottom, then peel off the outer layer before cutting into quarters.
Flash-browning the meat helps seal in some of the juices (though the whole pot roast is such a juice-fest in the end). Heat a frying pan to medium hot with oil, preferably coconut or olive oil. Pepper the meat, and then brown it all over in the pan, about a minute per side.

Add 1/2 cup of water to your Crock Pot set on high, and pour in the Lipton Recipe Secrets Onion Soup Mix and stir. Set the meat in the pot, and put the vegetables in on top and around the sides of the meat. Put the onions in so the cut sides are in contact with the meat. Cover and cook for at least 8 hours.

Once I tried adding fresh garlic to the milieu. I didn’t like it; I found the garlic tended to add a flavor dimension that overpowered the natural sweet and savory dynamic of the meat and veggies dancing together. Kind of like if Louis Prima had hired John Coltrane. Fresh garlic is the bomb, but it’s not always right in every environment.

When the roast is done, you can use a knife to cut up the meat while it’s still in the pot. Or it may just fall apart with a fork, like BUTTAH! Don’t forget to cut the string out, if the roast came with a string.

Once they’ve tried your pot roast, people will look at you with a new respect and appreciation. Everything in your life will begin coming together. Your computer will stop crashing, that bonus will come through, and your rash will clear up. Your trombone slide will be fast and smooth, and your mouthpiece…oh wait, none of you people care about that stuff.

The only problem with this pot roast is that it sets expectations high. There’s really no way to follow it, unfortunately. Well, no way except to take the gang to a Chaise Lounge show afterwards…