Beef Chuck Roast in Tomato Gravy

A chuck roast is a relatively inexpensive cut of beef that is perfectly suited for slow cooking in an oven, a crock pot or a pressure cooker.  Growing up it was one of our regular Sunday dinners.  Ours was usually cooked in a brown gravy and served with mashed potatoes and a can of peas or corn or green beans.  There were no “exotic” vegetables at our house.  When my Dad was cooking for himself he would put a chuck roast in the crock pot with an envelop of French onion soup and a can of cream of mushroom soup.  Easy to make and the meat came out tender and the gravy was actually pretty yummy.  My husband loves anything with tomatoes so this recipe puts a little different twist  on a chuck roast.  I cooked the roast in a 300 degree oven for two and a half hours.


1.5 – 2 pound chuck roast

1 pint jar diced or stewed tomatoes

1/2 cup beef broth or red wine

1/2 cup catsup

3 T brown sugar

2 T Worcestershire sauce

2 T red wine vinegar

1 T chipotle in adabo sauce

3 cloves of garlic thin sliced

2 T olive oil

salt and pepper

1 medium onion quartered

3-4 carrots

3-4 stalks of celery

Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven, season the meat with salt and pepper and sear on both sides.

While the meat is browning mix the sauce ingredients; tomatoes, broth (or wine), catsup, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, vinegar, chipotle in adabo, and garlic,

I like adding the chipotle in adabo sauce because it gives the sauce a little smoky flavor and a bit of heat.  Depending on your personal taste you can add more or eliminate it entirely.

Once the meat has been seared on both sides remove it to a plate.  Line the Dutch oven with the vegetables and put the roast on top.

Pour the sauce over the meat and vegetables, cover, and get it in the oven.

Roast for 2-3 hours until the meat is tender and the gravy is thickened.  Turn the meat over a couple times as it is roasting.  Once the meat is done, slice and serve with a generous scoop of the smoky tomato gravy.

I served the roast beef and tomato gravy with potatoes mashed with sour cream and broccolini.

NOTE:  This roast can be cooked on low for 6-8 hours in a crock pot or 35-40 minutes in a pressure cooker on high pressure, allowing for a natural release.  I think I will do mine in the pressure cooker next time.

I like using chipotle in adobo but no matter the size of the can there is a lot left over.  I now buy the larger can, dump the entire can into my little food processor and pour it in an ice cube tray.  Once frozen, I bag the individual cubes in snack bags and store them in the freezer.  No waste and the cubes are easy to use.

When I was thinking back to the Sunday dinners of my childhood, I remembered our roasts being cooked in a blue and white speckled enamel roaster in the oven.  I assumed crockpots had not yet been invented.  However, I looked it up (I googled it of course) and found out Irving Nachumsohn received a patent for the device that became the crock pot in 1940.  It was invented to cook a traditional stew eaten by Jews in Eastern Europe on the Sabbath and was marketed as “Naxon Beanery All-Purpose Cooker.”  In 1971 the cooker was reintroduced by Rival under the name “Crock Pot” and gained popularity as more and more women joined the work force.  Women were able to start dinner in the morning before leaving for work and finish preparing the meal when they came home.  Our little bit of trivia for today!

Chicken and Ricotta Meatballs

One of the food magazines that I pick up regularly is called COOK.  It has a lot of recipes with ingredients that I usually have on hand or are easy to come by at the grocery.  And the magazine has beautiful food pictures!!  The January issue has a great recipe for meatballs made with ground chicken and ricotta cheese.  With a little planning it’s a meal you can have on the table in 45 minutes, and that included me grinding my chicken breasts in an old fashioned meat grinder!  A food processor would work.  Or purchasing ground chicken (or turkey) at the grocery would be even easier.  The meatballs look a little different than what we’re accoustomed to…my husband saw them in the sauce and said “dumplings??”.  But they’re light, moist,  and have a great flavor.


1 pound ground chicken

3/4 cup whole milk ricotta cheese

1/2 cup panko

1 large egg yolk

3-4 cloves of garlic finely chopped and divided

1/4 cup fresh basil sliced thin and divided

2 tsp kosher salt

4 T olive oil

1/2 cup white wine

28 oz of crushed tomatoes

fresh grated asiago and additional basil for serving

First things first.  If you didn’t purchase ground chicken you’ll need to do that.  Grind your chicken.  With the meat slightly frozen, cube it and grind.  I used chicken breast but I don’t see why you couldn’t use boneless leg or thigh meat.

Preheat your oven to 400.

In a medium bowl stir together chicken, ricotta, panko, egg yolk, half the garlic, half the basil, and 1 tsp salt.  Mix until well combined.

Use a 1/4 cup spring-loading scoop (I call it a cookie scoop) or a teaspoon and shape into 16 meatballs.  Place in a foil lined pan.  Drizzle with 2 T of olive oil.  Bake for 12 minutes.

While the meatballs are cooking get your sauce started.  In a heavy skillet, over medium heat, add remaining 2 T of olive oil and remaining garlic.  Cook for 1 minute and add the wine. Cook until the wine is reduced by half, 3-5 minutes.   Add the tomatoes, remaining basil and 1 tsp salt.  Bring to a simmer.

Once the meatballs are done add them to the sauce including any pan juices.  Cover and simmer over low heat for 10-15 minutes.

Serve with fresh grated asiago and garnish with additional basil if desired.  I served mine over a simple, creamy polenta.  It would also be good with angel hair or fettuccine noodles or served with spaghetti squash.

NOTE:  I made only slight modifications to the recipe in COOK.  I used fresh basil instead of fresh rosemary.  One, I didn’t have any fresh rosemary and two, basil just sounded better to me in this recipe.  I also used shredded asiago for serving rather than Parmesan.  I have a slight preference for asiago but either would be good.

My friend Jane made this recipe before I did and she gave it high marks so I was confident I would like it.  However, when you’re mixing the meat and cheese you may be a little skeptical about how its all going to come together.  But it does!

I have not made this with ground turkey but I cant imagine that it wouldn’t work.  To me, when you’re cooking, a recipe is a guideline and you’ll like it best when you take your personal tastes and preferences into account.