If ever there were motivation for lugging the slow cooker out of the cupboard, this pot roast is it. Redolent of bacon, rosemary, and garlic and fortified with potatoes, it needs only a green salad and crusty bread for sopping up the savory sauce to make a hearty meal. Though the long cooking time is key to its meltingly tender goodness, there’s little maintenance involved. Start it in the morning, leave it to cook all day, and finish reducing the sauce that night. This recipe is one of many I look forward to trying in Kendra Bailey Morris’s “The Southern Slow Cooker: Big-Flavor, Low-Fuss Recipes for Comfort Food Classics” (Ten Speed Press, $19.99)
2 slices bacon, diced
3- to 4-pound boneless chuck roast, trimmed of excess fat
Salt and black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
1 cup beef broth, low-sodium or homemade
2 onions, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
2 russet or baking potatoes, peeled and chopped
5 cloves garlic, smashed
1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes with its juice
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 sprigs rosemary, plus more for garnish
1. Spray the inside if the slow cooker with cooking spray.
2. Heat a large Dutch oven or cast-iron pan on the stovetop over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook until crispy, about 5 minutes. Drain on paper towels. Pour off all but 1 teaspoon of the bacon drippings.
3. Sprinkle the beef with salt and pepper on all sides (go easy on the salt if using canned stock, which is already salty). Add the olive oil to the pan with the dripping and then, over medium-high heat, deglaze the pan with the beef broth, scraping up all the bits on the bottom of the pan. Pour the juices from the pan into the slow cooker.
4. Add the onions, celery, potatoes, garlic, tomatoes, tomato paste, and rosemary to the slow cooker. Finally add the bacon. Stir everything well, nestling the vegetables and rosemary into the broth. Cover and cook on low for at least 7 hours and up to 8 hours, until the meat is very tender.
5. Transfer the meat to a platter and turn the slow cooker to high. Leave the slow cooker uncovered and continue cooking the sauce for 45 minutes, or until it has thickened some. Return the meat to the slow cooker and continue to cook on high for another 15 to 30 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened a bit more.
6. Remove the rosemary sprigs and discard.
7. Season the sauce with additional salt and pepper, if needed. Plate the beef on a large platter and spoon the potatoes and sauce around and over the beef. Garnish with additional rosemary sprigs. Save any sauce for bread dipping.