Thursday, 3 November 2011

Beef Pot Roast for Babies, Toddlers and Adults

Sorry to all US readers if this is inauthentic.  This is based upon a recipe I found in "Making the Most of your Slow Cooker" by Catherine Atkinson.

It's amazing that I've been cooking with slow cookers (crock pots) since I was a student in *ahem* 1996.  So that makes it 15 years.  If I type small it won't seem that long.  Anyway It's taken me that long to come up with a pot roast recipe.  Surely slow cookers are made for pot roasting right?

Well there are loads of great things about this recipe; it's a cheap cut of meat, it's tasty, it makes it's own gravy, needs very little attention and there is a great leftovers recipe... see tomorrow.  What's more because the beef is so tender, it's great for whizzing up for traditional weaners or giving in small pieces to baby led weaning babies and I think even babies and toddlers will love the leftovers too.  If you think about it, it's often the texture which puts kids off meat.  It must be hard if you think about it; most kids only get their first molars over the age of 12 months, maybe their second set by 2 years old but that's still only 8 'chewing teeth' until their much older!

I would imagine you could make this without a slow cooker but it would be much more faff and more inclined to be a bit dry I would imagine.   Just buy a slow cooker!  They're really cheap to buy and cheap to run!

Pot Roast Beef For the Whole Family - Makes 2 adult portions plus enough for 2 further adult portions as leftovers (see tomorrow's recipe).


850g Rolled Brisket of Beef (sometimes called a 'pot roast' joint in UK supermarkets.  You can use a bigger piece of beef to serve more, just make sure it fits into your slow cooker and don't go bigger than 1.2kg; 2.5lb.)
2 small red onions cut into small wedges
2 carrots cut into thick slices
2 tbsp olive oil
4 cloves garlic, peeled and left whole
1 small wine glass of red wine (optional, substitute for more stock for babies)
200ml stock (use homemade salt free stock or very low salt stock cube if serving to babies or toddlers)
2 dried bay leaves
A few sprigs of thyme
A few sprigs of parsley
2 dsp cornflour


Put your slow cooker on high.

Put the onions and carrots into a frying pan with half of the oil.  Fry on a medium heat until getting softened and slightly browned, add the garlic and fry a little longer.  Put into the slow cooker.

Heat up the remaining oil in the frying pan and brown the joint all over.  Put on top of the vegetables in the slow cooker.

Deglaze the pan using the wine (or use the stock if not using wine), i.e. scrape up any tasty bits from the bottom and, if using wine, boil for a few minutes to drive off the alcohol.   Add to the slow cooker with the hot stock.  Add in the herbs.

As you can see, my slow cooker is getting a bit worn out and it's a bit on the small side if Santa is reading...

Cook for 3.5 - 4 hours on high, then lower the heat to low and cook for a further 2-3 hours or until it's very tender.  I found 3.5 hours on high and 3 hours on low in my slow cooker was perfect.

Lift out the meat carefully (it might start to fall apart so use a big spoon, don't just skewer it with a fork!)  Cover the meat to keep it warm and leave to rest for 10-15 mins.

Strain the gravy into a sauce pan and discard the vegetables (if serving to a traditionally weaned baby on early stages of weaning you could puree some of the soft carrots, onions and beef together but probably best not to include the garlic in the puree!)

Bring the gravy to the boil.  Mix the cornflour with some cold water until it makes a paste and gradually add to the boiling gravy, stirring constantly until it's thickened to your liking.

Cut up the beef into chunks, it won't carve neatly however sharp your knife is.  Serve with vegetables.  I like to serve with jacket or mashed potatoes.  If you do too, cook two or three extra and stick them in the fridge... because the next recipe is cottage pie with the leftovers!


  1. Love a hunk of brisket. I need to get back into my slow cooker. This looks delicious, especially the top shot where you can see the strands in the meat fibres.
    Keith (Reluctant Housedad)

    1. Take a look at the cottage pie recipe; there are some serious meaty shards on show there!

      I've always wondered about slow barbequeing / smoking brisket like they do in the US. I have no idea how you do it but it always looks delicious when I see it on TV (normally served by someone with an enormous custom made barbeque and stetson...)

  2. Thank you for sharing! Is it possible to replace the brisket for any other cut?

    1. Not really. Brisket is the only real slow cooking "joint" with beef, other joints are better cooked faster. You could substitute for smaller pieces of stewing beef or beef cheeks but then it would be more like a stew than a pot roast.


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