Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Work-a-Day Wednesday: Crock Pot Ranch Roast

You don't get any easier than this. Plus, it's my family's favorite way to eat a roast.

That doesn't mean it's perfect. The stuff that comes in the Ranch packets isn't exactly swimming in natural-from-your-garden-goodness. But it makes this roast mighty tasty and on certain days a 60 second assembly time is nothing to complain about.

A few notes:

-You can brown this first in a skillet if you've got the time. I think it makes it a little more flavorful and gives it a bit of a season-y crust (which I love). But if you don't have time, just cover the roast with Ranch powder, put it in the crock, and move on with your life.
-You can roast just the meat or add potatoes, carrots, onions, whatever to the crock. If you do add veggies, sprinkle some of the Ranch powder on them as well. We especially love it with the carrots.
-You can use a frozen or a fresh roast. If it's frozen, you'll have to be sure it gets a longer cook time--probably 8-10 hours on high if you want it falling off the fork. But keep in mind that crock pot temps and, thus, times vary a bit. The good news is that you can't overcook this thing. Well, I guess you probably could, but it would take you, like, 20, hours. So err on the side of too long.

Ranch Roast
serves 6
Prep time: 5 minutes or less
Cost: $11.00

1 three-four lb roast (we used beef, but pork works too)
2 packets Ranch salad dressing mix or 5-6 Tbsp Ranch powder
sliced carrots, onions, diced potatoes (optional)

Slather your roast with one packet of seasoning. If you've got the time, give the meat a quick browning in a skillet on medium high to high heat.

Throw it in the crock pot. Add more seasoning. It's going to seem like a lot; it's going to seem like a whole lot. Don't worry, that's going to give the meat a lot of it's flavor and the excess will sort of come off into the juices as it cooks, so you won't have a crazy salty concoction. If you've added veggies, be sure they get their share in the Ranch powder love. Again, be generous.

Add just a bit of water. You won't need a lot. Just enough to kind of cover the bottom of the crock--I'd say 1/4 inch deep should do you. Again, this might not seem like a lot. (And you may have been told that you have to do enough water to reach halfway up the slab of meat, but in my experience that just makes for way too many juices and a slightly less impactful flavor for the meat.) Remember the meat itself is going to release a bunch of juices as you cook it. Ditto any vegetables you put in with it. By the end of cooking time, my meat (which had been placed in just a few millimeters water) was swimming in juice and tender and lovely in every way.

Cook at least 6 hours on high or 8-10 hours on low (for a piece of de-thawed meat). Again, err on the side of too long if you want this falling off the fork, which we always do.

Come home starving and rejoice that you don't have to go to Denny's for dinner.


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