Merlot Pot Roast
1 tied fat trimmed boned beef chuck roast (3-3 1/2 lbs.)
fresh ground pepper
1 tablespoon butter or olive oil
3 carrots (about 1/4 lb. each ) rinsed and peeled
1 onion (1/2 lb.), peeled and chopped
2/3 cup chopped celery
3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 dried bay leaf
1 cup Merlot or other dry wine
1/3 cup canned tomato paste
1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
Horseradish smashed potatoes (recipe follows)
1 tablespoon minced parsley
1 to 2 cups watercress sprigs, rinsed and crisped (optional)
Rinse beef, pat dry, and sprinkle generously all over with fresh ground pepper. Melt butter in a 10-12 inch non-stick frying pan over high heat. When hot, add beef and brown well on all sides, 6 to 8 minutes total.
Meanwhile, cut carrots into sticks about 3/8 inch thick and 2 inches long. In a 4 1/2 quart or larger electric slow cooker, combine carrots, onion, celery, garlic, thyme, peppercorns, and bay leaf. Set beef on vegetables: add drippings. In a small bowl, mix wine and tomato paste; pour over meat and vegetables.
Cover and cook until beef is very tender when pierced, 8 to 9 hours on low, 5 to 6 hours on high. If possible, turn meat over halfway through cooking.
With 2 slotted spoons, transfer meat to a platter; keep warm. Skim and discard any fat from cooking liquid. Turn cooker to high. In a small bowl, blend cornstarch with 1 1/2 tablespoons water; pour into cooker and stir often until sauce is bubbling, 10-15 minutes.
With a slotted spoon, lift vegetables from cooker and arrange beside meat. Spoon horseradish smashed potatoes onto platter; sprinkle with parsley. Garnish platter with watercress. Spoon sauce over meat. Slice meat and serve with vegetables, potatoes, and sauce, adding salt to taste.
Per serving without potatoes: 314 calories, 40%(126 cal.) from fat, 34 g protein; 14 g fat (5.6 g sat.) 11 g carb. (2.3 g fiber); 256 mg sodium; 115 mg chol.
Pairs Well With
Serve with Horseradish Smashed Potatoes (see recipe). Prepare the smashed potatoes as soon as the beef is tender; the meat can continue to cook until they are ready.