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Monday, February 2, 2015

Slow Cooker Balsamic Beef

Slow Cooker Balsamic Beef
Just when I dared to dream that we were done with snow, it dumped a good twelve inches on us. I thought if I didn't put voice to my wish, that I couldn't jinx it. Wrong. It's just a good thing that I had a chuck roast waiting in the fridge, a crockpot waiting on the counter, and a husband willing to go outside and shovel while I "prepared" the food. Somebody drew the short straw there.

I love being able to just throw a big hunk of meat into a slow cooker, then douse it with some sort of flavorful liquid and seasoning, and magically open the lid 4 to 6 hours later to an almost complete meal. In the case of this beef, I did pour out the liquid to reduce it a bit; this concentrates the flavors and thickens it up a bit. You don't have to take this extra step, but I like adding thickened cooking juices back to the meat once it's been shredded with a couple of forks. In this instance, the vinegar adds a good tang.

I suppose being stuck inside isn't so bad, as long as you've got something good cooking up in the kitchen, with a warmth and smell that envelopes the entire house in a cozy blanket. Maybe I'm not quite done with snow for this season yet after all.

Slow Cooker Balsamic Beef
Let your slow cooker do all the work, then enjoy a pile of flavorful shredded beef atop a bun, rice, noodles, potatoes, or a sweet potato.
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Slow Cooker Balsamic Beef
by Heather Schmitt-Gonzalez
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 4 hours
Keywords: slow-cooker entree dairy-free nut-free beef

Ingredients (serves 4-6)
  • 1 (3 pound) boneless chuck roast
  • 5 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1/2 cup Balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • big pinch of crushed red chile flakes
  • sea salt
  • ground white pepper
Place roast beef into bowl of your slow cooker, and scatter the smashed garlic cloves around it. Whisk remaining ingredients together in a large, glass measuring cup; pour over the roast. Put the lid on, and cook for 6 to 8 hours (LOW) or 4 hours (HIGH).

Carefully lift the beef from the slow cooker into a bowl or dish with high sides. Let sit for a moment, then use two forks to gently pull the beef into large chunks and shreds. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Strain as much of the fat as you can from the cooking liquid, then transfer the liquid to a small pan over high heat to reduce by at least 1/3.

At this point, ladle a little of the reduced juices over the meat and toss to keep moist. If you like, thicken the juices with a bit of roux to make a sauce with a bit of body (or more roux if you want a gravy). Season with a few good grinds of black pepper...but don't add salt until you've tasted it and decided that it needs it (it probably won't).

Serve in sandwiches, over potatoes or sweet potatoes, rice, or noodles. Garnish with fresh parsley for a little pop of color, if desired.

-slightly adapted from add a pinch
Slow Cooker Balsamic Beef