Slow Cooked Italian Pot Roast & Polenta


{Slow Cooker} Italian Pot Roast  |   {Slow Cooker} Creamy Polenta


Unlike my day in the kitchen yesterday, today called for me to be here…there…everywhere {but home}.  I started this pot roast in the slow-cooker before leaving this morning which means the house should be fragrant with the aroma of clove, allspice, onion, garlic, tomatoes & beef when I return home, with the children, later this afternoon.

I like this recipe because it is a refreshing change from the expected “meat & potatoes” version of pot roast.  The addition of cinnamon, cloves & allspice makes it a great dish for autumn and winter dining.

{Slow Cooker} Italian Pot Roast {Serves 4 to 6}

  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 3 whole allspice berries
  • 6 whole black peppercorns
  • 4 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 3-4 pounds beef chuck roast
  • 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 8 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3 celery stalks, coarsely chopped
  • 3 carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 1½ cups good red wine
  • ¼ cup cognac or brandy
  • 1 {28 ounce} can, crushed tomatoes
  • ½ cup Beef Stock, preferably, but a good chicken stock may be substituted
  • Salt & pepper
  • Chopped fresh parsley for garnish
  1. Combine the cloves, allspice and peppercorns in a mortar or spice grinder & grind to a fine powder.
  2. Heat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat and add the oil.  Season the meat, on both sides, with salt and pepper.  Add the meat and cook until browned on all sides.  Transfer meat to the slow cooker.
  3. Add the onion to the sauté pan and cook, stirring frequently, until lightly browned.  Add garlic, celery & carrots and sauté until lightly browned.  Add the ground spices & the cinnamon sticks and cook until fragrant.  Add the wine and the cognac {or brandy} to the pan and cook until liquid reduces by one-third.  Stir in the crushed tomatoes and broth.  Salt & pepper to taste.
  4. Pour the sauce over the meat in the slow cooker.  Cover and cook on low 8-9 hours.  Serve over creamy polenta {recipe follows} and garnish with the chopped, fresh parsley leaves. 

{Slow Cooker}  Polenta

  •  3 cups luke warm water
  • 1 cup polenta
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • Freshly grated Parmesan-Reggiano cheese {optional}

Spray the insert of the slow cooker with non-stick cooking spray or coat with softened butter.  Combine all of the ingredients in the slow cooker, stirring with a fork until blended.  Cover and cook on high for approximately 1½ hours {stirring once or twice} or until the polenta is creamy and tender.  Top with the parmesan cheese.

Both of these recipes were adapted from recipes found in The Gourmet Slow Cooker: Simple & Sophisticated Meals from Around the World, by Lynn Alley {Ten Speed Press, 2003}.

The Dinner Plate…

Two Hints:

{i}  the left-over pot roast {re-heated}, with a bit of the sauce, piled on a rustic roll makes a fabulous lunch for the kids to take to school;

{ii}  the left-over polenta makes a wonderful accompaniment to eggs for morning breakfast. Simply take the polenta, left-over from dinner, and spread in a small baking pan {to about an inch thickness} cover and refrigerate overnight.  In the morning cut squares, or circles, and toast, with a bit of olive oil, in a non-stick frying pan until golden brown.


Both slow-cookers in action today…one for the pot roast & one for the polenta.

{Note:  the dried white beans for tomorrow night’s Boston Baked Beans need to soak overnight…TONIGHT}

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