So I will be totally honest. I am scared of large cuts of meat. More specifically, I am scared of roasts. They are big and they are thick and there is a lot that can go wrong when cooking them. I have only cooked two roasts in my life and they both, thankfully, came out quite tasty. I was very nervous about them both though. My comfort zone when it comes to meat products leans more towards patties or ground up. I like to cook with something small and manageable, and inexpensive. A really good roast can get a smidge on the pricey side of the grocery bill which is worth it if all goes well in the kitchen, but can be a very expensive mess-up if things don’t go as planned.
There are only so many things that I can do with ground hamburger or turkey before my family starts screaming at me for something different. Do you know what I mean? They see me cutting open the 1-pound cow-log and start rolling their eyes before I can tell them that we aren’t having Hamburger Helper for the 17th time this month. We’re having something different, something exciting . . . we’re having spaghetti with meat sauce! Cue the eye-rolling and sighs and pleading for the drive-thru. Don’t get me wrong. My family is a meat eating bunch . . . except for my son. If it isn’t chicken nuggets, he isn’t eating it. My culinary experimentation over the years, though, have lead them to want something new and exciting to emerge magically from the kitchen every night. Sometimes I just don’t have the time or patience for “new and exciting.” Sometimes I want to “just add water” and be done with the meal for the night.
The first roast I made was the typical skillet-seared, slow-cooked roast with onions, potatoes and carrots. My family loved it and has been begging since then for me to do another one. That was about 2 ½ years ago. I figured the success with that first one was just a fluke and didn’t want to tempt Fate or her over-caramelizing tendencies again. Basically, I have been reluctant to do another one because I didn’t want to serve my family burned shoe leather. Gross! Even gravy couldn’t make that go down easily.
On Superbowl Sunday my husband and I were in a small market that has an amazing meat section: very pretty cuts and very pretty prices. I found a 2-pound pork loin roast for a price that would not let me pass it up. In the store I googled “pork loin roast slow-cooker” to see if I could find a simple recipe that would be pretty fool proof. I did! Hooray! I took the roast home and followed the recipe almost to the tee and a few hours later I had my 2nd success with a roast. I was very proud of myself. That doesn’t mean I am not still leery of large cuts of meat. One day I know I will cook one that will come out so burned and dry that my family will immediately head for the drive-thru without a word. Until then, though, I have 2 roast successes under my belt and that makes me a happy home chef.
What I love about the recipes on the website is that other people who have tried that recipe can comment with their success, failures, and variations. After reading through the recipe I scanned the comments and found a couple of tasty variations for preparing my roast.
Amazing Pork Tenderloin in the Slow Cooker
1 (2 pound) pork tenderloin
1 (1 ounce) envelope dry onion soup mix
1 cup water
3/4 cup red wine
3 tablespoons minced garlic
3 tablespoons soy sauce
freshly ground black pepper to taste
Place pork tenderloin in a slow cooker with the contents of the soup packet. Pour water, wine, and soy sauce over the top, turning the pork to coat. Carefully spread garlic over the pork, leaving as much on top of the roast during cooking as possible. Sprinkle with pepper, cover, and cook on low setting for 4 hours. Serve with cooking liquid on the side as au jus.
After skimming through the comments I found someone who used beef stock as the bulk of their liquid in the slow cooker. My husband and I are not wine drinkers, so I substituted all of the wine and all of the water for beef stock. I also saw a comment from a couple of people who thickened the au jus with corn starch or flour after cooking the roast to make very flavorful gravy. I used corn starch so my gravy wouldn’t have that uncooked floury taste. I let the gravy thicken in the slow-cooker (set on high and uncovered) while preparing the rest of the meal
On the side I made some oven-roasted red potatoes. I quartered them, drizzled them with olive oil and kosher salt and baked them in a 400-degree oven for about 55 minutes, or until they were tender. I also served some pasta salad with fresh mozzarella, sun-dried tomatoes, artichoke hearts and olives. Though I would love to take the credit for making the pasta salad I can not. The bought that pre-made from the deli counter at the market. My husband was so pleased with how the roast came out that I didn’t hear one word from him as he was eating. No happy eating sounds, like “mmm” or anything. He was too busy shoving roast in his mouth. So was I though. He has already informed me that I have to make this again. Heathers roast (thanks to allrecipes.com) for the win!
If you have any special ways of preparing a roast I would love to hear it. Or if you have any other favorite recipes of any kind share those also. You can find me on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/heather.mcribbits or you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. With your permission I would love to share your favorite recipes with Froggyland.