Thursday, January 6, 2022

Make Ahead Slow Cooker Italian Pot Roast @LucyBurdette

LUCY BURDETTE: Maybe you’re tired of cookies and other holiday goodies, and need something hearty and old-fashioned for your next family and friends meal? I’ve got you covered. This recipe was adapted from one presented by Florence Fabricant in the New York Times cooking app. She prepared hers in a heavy pan on the stove. Other cooks baked the dish covered in a low oven for several hours. I chose to make it in the slow cooker. It's better if you cook it a day ahead, cool the meat in the sauce, and refrigerate overnight. Then you can skim off the fat, slice the meat, and reheat it in the oven along with the sauce. Serve with either cheesy polenta or mashed potatoes or macaroni and cheese and a green salad. Don’t get too fussy about the size of the vegetables—whirling them in the food processor works fine and is easy. 

3 large cloves garlic, peeled and chopped

1 (3-pound) rump or boneless chuck roast

2-3 tablespoons olive oil

1 large onion, peeled and chopped

2 carrots, peeled and chopped

2 ribs celery, chopped

½ cup red wine

1 14.5 oz can chopped plum tomatoes, drained

1 tablespoon tomato paste

¼ cup finely chopped fresh basil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1. Heat a tablespoon of the oil either in a heavy pan or in the slow cooker if you have a browning function. Add the meat and brown it well over medium heat. Remove it from the pan and save on a plate. 

2. Chop the garlic, onions, carrots and celery. Sauté them in the same pan until soft, adding oil if needed. Add the tomato paste and sauté that a few minutes. 

3. Stir in the wine, tomatoes, and basil, and cook for a few minutes. Add the meat back to the cooker and cook on low for 5 to 6 hours. Turn the meat a few times during cooking. Add salt and pepper to taste.

4. Refrigerate the meat in the sauce overnight. Several hours before serving, skim the fat off the top. Remove the meat from the sauce, slice it, and nestle the slices into the sauce. Reheat the roast in a 350 oven for an hour. 

5. Serve with mashed potatoes, polenta, or my personal favorite, macaroni and cheese.

In addition to Lucy's Key West food critic mysteries, she's written a thriller called Unsafe Haven! 

About Unsafe Haven
A chance meeting on the New York subway leads to the destinies of two very different women becoming intertwined with terrifying consequences in this nerve-jangling thriller.

Sixteen-year-old Addison is on the run. She's leaving her life on New York's streets behind for a new one with Rafe, armed with just his phone number on a scrap of paper. She's taking the subway to meet him in New Jersey. He'll take care of her. Or so she thinks . . .

Elizabeth Brown's world has fallen apart and she's thinking about her newly ex-fiancé. Until she locks eyes with a teenage girl while waiting for the train doors to open, and a bundle is thrust into her arms as she leaves the subway. A baby, wrapped in a dirty coat.

Elizabeth phones the number she finds in the coat pocket. Then wishes she hadn't. Someone wants Addison and the baby. And they'll do whatever it takes to get them . . .

In a major departure from her lighthearted Key West mysteries, Burdette invites readers into the world of a chilling thriller. (Unsafe Haven is) a page-turner highlighting the problem of exploited runaways.

—Kirkus Reviews

If you'd like a nibble before you buy, read the first chapter here. And if you'd like to read more about the genesis of the book, read this post from Jungle Red Writers.

Ways to buy your copy of UNSAFE HAVEN:

Book depository 


Barnes and Noble 


Severn House 

And if this is not in your budget (which I totally get,) you can invite your local library to order a copy!


  1. I agree--that sounds good!
    Cozy and easy in equal proportions.