This is a “master recipe” inspired by one of my favorite chefs, John Ash. What that means to you is that it is open for interpretation depending on your tastes or what you might have in your pantry. I’m usually driven by “what’s on sale this week”. So, take the basics of this recipe and play with it, change it up from time to time. You just can’t go wrong with a big pot of slow-cooked meat!
What do I mean by “thick sliced” or “roughly chopped”? Well, a good rule of thumb to follow is that the longer you cook vegetables, the bigger they need to be. That being said, just put them on your cutting board and whack away a few times. You’ll end up with the right sized veggies.
4-6 lbs. beef tri-tip (sirloin) or boneless chuck roast
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 Tbsps. olive oil
2 onions, roughly chopped
3 stalks celery, thick sliced
3-4 carrots, roughly chopped
1/2 lb. cremini or shiitake mushrooms, quartered (optional)
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 tsp. hot red pepper flakes
2 cups red wine (optional)
4 cups beef or chicken stock
2-28oz. cans crushed or diced tomatoes with their juice
2 bay leaves
2 tsps. fennel seeds
3-4 Tbsps. chopped mixed fresh herbs, such as basil, parsley, thyme (dried, cut amount in half)
2 tsps. arrowroot powder mixed with 2 Tbsps cold water or stock (optional for thickening)
PREHEAT OVEN TO 375 DEGREES
PREHEAT CROCK-POT TO HIGH
Trim any excess fat from your beef and season all sides with salt and pepper. Heat the olive oil in a heavy-bottomed Dutch oven or casserole over high heat. Brown the meat well on all sides.
Remove the meat to a separate plate or directly into the crock pot (if using). Place the onions, celery, carrots, mushrooms and garlic in the pot and reduce heat to medium. Season the vegetables with salt and pepper, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables begin to color and the onions are translucent.
Add the tomatoes, stock, herbs of your choice, and wine (if using). Bring it to a boil and season with salt and pepper. Add the red pepper flakes here. Don’t forget the bay leaves! Stir in the arrowroot powder/water or stock mixture.
Return the meat to the pot, cover, and place in oven for 2 1/2 to 3 hours, or longer until meat is falling apart (poke it with a fork!)
Pour vegetable mixture over meat into crock pot. Cover and cook on high for 4-5 hours, or until meat is falling apart.
When done, remove the meat from the pot and set it on a cutting board. Slice or shred meat, discarding fat pieces or connective tissue that hasn’t cooked apart. Return meat to pot, adjusting seasoning as necessary. (you need to taste it, you will probably need a bit more salt and a little pepper).
Serve and enjoy!