Crockpot Chuck Roast

At first my friend didn't think he was hungry, but when he smelled the roast he changed his mind. After the first bite he asked what marinade I'd used. I didn't use any — I didn't even brown the roast before putting it into the crockpot! All the seasoning this meat needed was a little salt, onion, garlic, and a sprinkling of herbs.

A roast is simple to cook up, and the quality of meat from Morning Harvest farm makes this even more true. Usually I would increase the flavor by browning the outside of the roast in a cast-iron skillet before putting it into the crockpot, but this time I took a lazier route and didn't bother with browning. I put the raw roast in the bottom of the crockpot, then filled in the space around and over it with onions, garlic, and potatoes. Finally, I sprinkled salt, chives, thyme, and oregano over everything.

Quick tip: Slicing onions "across the grain" makes the cooked onion less stringy.

I used about seven small-medium red potatoes, chives, onion, and garlic all fresh from the most recent box; the thyme and oregano were dried (I received those herbs earlier in the spring). Exact measurements aren't necessary for this sort of dish, which makes it perfect for CSA ingredients since I never know exactly how much I'll have on hand. The long, slow cook time means that flavors are both subdued and fully integrated, so if I under- or over-season things the difference is hardly noticeable.

There's no need to add any cooking liquid: The roast produces its own as it cooks.

I set my crockpot to High for the first hour or two, then dropped it to Low until the roast easily broke apart with a fork, about seven hours after that. Starting the cooking process on High is optional. I like to do it so that the meat gets a head-start on heating thoroughly, especially if I suspect it isn't quite thawed out in the middle. The exact timing will depend on the size of the roast and how full the crockpot is. I usually plan for 8-10 hours total, since if it's finished cooking early I can switch my crockpot to the Warm setting until we're ready to eat. The roast only gets more tender and flavorful as it sits in its juices.

This meal turned out delicious, as is evidenced by my friend's reaction to it. And it couldn't be simpler! A little time in the morning putting things together, and then I basically forgot about it until dinnertime. Perhaps the best part was my kitchen staying cool since I used the crockpot instead of the oven, which is great in these hot summer months!

What are your favorite vegetables to add to a roast?

I personally dislike carrots, but I don't think a roast is worth cooking without onions — what are your preferences?