New York Times best-selling author, slow cooking expert, mom of three
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A Year of Slow Cooking

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Super Simple Cranberry Roast (beef or pork) Slow Cooker Recipe

I threw together one of the simplest roasts last week, and it was wonderful. The meat was sweet without being icky sweet, it was tender and moist, and everyone at the table had seconds.

I used frozen beef chuck, but this would be fantastic with any hunk of meat you've got lying around----beef, pork, or venison.

The Ingredients.
serves 4


2-3 pounds beef or pork roast or stew chunks
1 tablespoon dried onion flakes, or 1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 tablespoons soy sauce (La Choy and Tamari wheat-free are gluten free)
1 (16-ounce) whole berry cranberry sauce (or 2 cups homemade!)

that's it!

The Directions.

Use a 4-quart slow cooker. Plop in the meat (frozen is fine), and add the onion and soy sauce. Pour in the entire can of cranberry sauce over the top. Do not add water. Cover and cook on low for 7-9 hours, or on high for 5-6. If you are cooking on high, you may need to "help" the meat break apart by taking it out an hour or so before serving by cutting it into chunks, then returning to the sauce. I like it when the meat is tender and the juice has fully soaked in.

Serve over mashed potatoes, and with a green salad.

The Verdict.

This was a fantastic dinner, and since everything was already in the house, it was free!

PS: if you're around this weekend, there's a thread on the Barnes and Noble.com message boards where I'm answering any and all slow cooker questions!
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81 comments:

Catherine said...

Can't wait to try this one! Thanks!

Leigh Radlein said...

I'll do this for Sunday lunch tomorrow. Don't even have to go to the store - I have everything on hand!Thanks!

Toni said...

I've been wondering what to do with an extra can of cranberry sauce. This looks wonderful!

gfe--gluten free easily said...

This is the only reason I would ever want to buy cranberry sauce. LOL Looks great, Steph! I'm thinking I'll pull out a venison roast to give it a try. :-)

Thanks,
Shirley

Debbi said...

This looks fantastic! I'm looking to make your asian beef this week but I might change to this. Either way I'll link back to your site after I post it. Thanks for the great recipes!

O.M.G. said...

how easy! i'll definately try it. yesterday i made the brown sugar chicken...i believe you guys call it candy chicken? once again WONDERFUL! i thickened the juices with cornstarch and poured it over stir-fry veggies and asian noodles. i'm using a smaller crockpot now and things are cooking better. thanks for the tips!

Jessica Nunemaker said...

I just discovered that I liked cranberries recently. I know, weird, huh?

This looks like a good 'un. ;)

Adrienne said...

I'm sorry to ask you this, but I cannot figure out how to ask you a question on the Barnes and Noble discussion board! Here's my question, but I'll post it to the board if I figure out how. (Or are you allowed to post the question with the answer?)
Is there a general rule to follow to "adapt" recipes to the slow cooker? For example, if there's a casserole dish that contains pasta or rice, meat, veggies, and sauces or cream of soups, is there a way to toss it all in (meat uncooked and possibly pasta or rice uncooked), and have it turn out? Thank you!

Adrienne said...

So, I just saw that there was a TIME to ask you questions on your message board. We'll see if I can figure out the time difference and get on here tomorrow at 10 your time. :) Thanks.

Lenetta @ Nettacow said...

Peeking in from A Heart For Home (though I subscribe to you in my reader :>)) - this may sound funny, but I kinda miss the picture of you hugging your crockpot in your profile. (Slow cooker, I know - but that was back in the good ol' days when we could just say "crock pot") Thanks for all the super recipes!

Stephanie O'Dea said...

Adrienne,

No worries. I don't think the time thing is a big deal---

to answer your question, I don't really have a formula for converting traditional recipes to the slow cooker. I just give it a try---sometimes it works really well, and sometimes it just doesn't. I realize this isn't terribly helpful, but that's truly how I did it. Saucey pasta casseroles such as lasagna seem to do the best in the slow cooker.

I'm sorry to not be of more help!

xxo steph

Prince Andrew and the Queen Mum said...

love your blog and book. you can totally do this w/ chicken too. (I bloged it myself last year..) We are a gfcf family. Love that your book is written that way!

http://settingofsilver.blogspot.com/2008/06/cranberry-slow-cooker-chicken.html

Pam said...

Just as a note- I make a version of this all the time and you can add the potates to the crock pot. I use 6-8 potates cut in halfs or thirds and I use a pkg. of onion soup mix for the seasoning.

squawmama said...

Thanks Stephanie, Sounds like a really yummy dish... and so simple! Can't wait to give it a try. Have fun and keep safe!

(((HUGS)))
Donna

Melissa said...

I made this tonight, and it was really, really good.

Deviation from the recipe was once it was done, to the remove the beef chunks, toss the sauce from the crock into a roux and make a gravy.

Chef Penny said...

Did this tonight and it was good. At first bite. I thought I wouldn't like it but after a few bites ,it grew on me. We served it over rice.

JoAnn said...

Stephanie, I made this last night (I used homemade cranberry sauce made with orange juice and agave nectar plus I sprinkled 1 packet of Lipton onion soup over the roast as well)....WOW! We loved it! The flavors blended so well and as you said, it's sweet but not too sweet.

Thanks for another great recipe!

Amanda said...

Wow! I'm a first timer and completley motivated to bust out my slow cooker! Love the site!

P.S. I found you from Blabbing About Blogs!

Susanne said...

This sounds delicious, but can you REALLY use frozen meat and get the same results? I'd usually cook a thawed roast for 8 hours on low so I'd like some other people's feedback on slow-cooking from frozen. Thanks!

JoAnn said...

For Susanne:

I used a solidly frozen roast and cooked it on high; it worked wonderfully!

I started the roast at 10:30am on low, but my 4-year-old apparently turned off the Crockpot shortly thereafter when my back was turned. He does things like that. :)

It was 1:15pm when I noticed it was off. The roast was still frozen. I turned the pot back on to high and it was done and perfectly tender by 7:30pm.

heike allison said...

Wow, nice twist on roast with the cranberries, I made mine with all your indgredients but cranberries/sause. Can't wait to try it with them next time. BTW, love your recipies and wonderful wit, have you considered a CROCKPOT cooking show???? Just saying!!!

Jen said...

Mmmm...sounds good. Making it right now! Dh works nights but comes home for "lunch" around 2 am, so it'll be ready for him :) The rest will make yummy leftovers for lunch tomorrow.

He doesn't like straight cranberry sauce, so I added about 1/8-1/4 c OJ, about 1/2 tsp lime juice, somewhere in the neighborhood of 1 Tb brown sugar, and a smidge of ginger. Smells good!

Thanks for the awesome ideas!

karen said...

I made this last night with a pork tenderloin. It was FANTASTIC. I can't wait to make it again!

Like Melissa, I also made a sauce. After straining off the fat I added some chicken stock (about 1.5 cups),then reduced by about half. It was a beautiful dark red color from the cranberries and tasted outstanding.

Billie Jean said...

I make a cranberry chutney with cranberries, oranges, apples, rasins, etc for Thanksgiving. I had about 2 cups leftover and dumped it on top of a pork roast in the crock pot - so yummy! I just bought 2 bags of cranberries to freeze so I can make this again at other times during the year. Love your cookbook so much I have bought several for gift marking pages with sticky notes of what I have maade for friends & relatives - thanks!

The imPerfect Housewife said...

Hey, I just saw you on Blabbing About Blogs!! Congrats on being featured - you definitely deserve it. I also just requested your book from the library and I have to WAIT to get it! Grrrr. I know, I should buy it. Hey, Christmas is coming up... ♥

Jessica said...

I made this last night and this morning my mouth was watering. I couldn't wait for lunch. This was delicious! I added some ginger, garlic balsamic vinegar, and potatoes that I had on hand. This is a keeper.

Toni said...

We used a venison roast and the whole family loved it, even the picky ones! Brown rice and green beans to go with.

kellygreen said...

I love reading your blog (and trying new recipes in my NEW crock) but I had a question about one line in this recipe. You mentioned plopping the meat in and if it was frozen that was okay. I don't know if it was just because my old crockpot was 15 years old (wedding presents do get old eventually!) but I put in some homemade frozen chili, hoping it would be nice and hot by evening, and lo and behold, when I got home, the bottom had broken out of my crockpot(completely), there was a sad mess of what had once been "dinner", and the only thing I could think of was someone had once told me not to put anything frozen in my crockpot. (Not that I had listened for the first 15 years I used it) Do you or any of your readers know what happened in this situation?

Stephanie O'Dea said...

Hi Kelly,

oh no! Okay. The reason the meat is okay to plop in frozen in this dish is because the rest of the ingredients are room-temperature, and they balance each other out.

Plopping a fully frozen block of chili could crack the crock, the way it did in your situation. I'm sorry this happened!!!

Here's what Crock-Pot's instruction manual has to say, and this is what I've always followed: cooking with frozen meat.

In the future, if you're going to cook a bag full of frozen stuff, thaw it in the fridge overnight, then heat/cook in the slow cooker.

xoxo steph

Mel knits for two said...

OK, so I don't eat meat, but this one was really tempting. So I tried it out with tofu and the results were delicious. I just substituted cubed, fried tofu for the meat, and I used a sauteed whole onion in slices.
The results were amazing. I've been looking for something to substitute the cranberry chicken my husband used to love!
The only thing I would change next time is try adding 1/4 cup of veggie broth or some sort of liquid to give it a little more juice. Your beef one looked fine, but I imagine since tofu doesn't have much natural juice, it was a bit on the dry side, though still great. And next time double or triple it, we were so sad there were no leftovers!

Wanda said...

Uhh yum!
My husband would devour this!

I'm visiting from A Heart For Home.

I love using my crockpot...so your cookbook is now on my wishlist!

Katie Bug said...

I made this when we had friends over Monday night, and it got rave reviews.

Infant Bibliophile said...

Amazingly delicious! Even my husband (who doesn't like cranberry sauce at all), loved it, and said that he felt the sauce just "brought out the flavor in the beef." All of the sauce got absorbed into the beef, making it the most tender stew beef ever. Thanks for another new family favorite. (That is also safe for my egg-, nut-, dairy, wheat-, sesame-allergic son).

TaraDharma said...

i made this today - it was a little too sweet, but I think my only using 1.37 lb of beef roast was to blame. I used a cheap cut of roast which cooked up very tender and tasty. I think it would be great with sliced carrots as well.

Served it, as suggested, on top of mashed potatoes. Yum.

Colorado Sunflower said...

I made this last night using a 3 lb. lean buffalo roast according to the given directions. As my hubby concluded and we all agreed, this would work better on a roast that had more marbling in it (our cut turned out dry). Also, it wasn't rich or spicy enough for our taste, so with the leftovers, I kicked it up a notch and added our own BBQ sauce to it which blended nicely with the cranberries. Made a GREAT pulled meat sandwich for hubby's lunch, and freezes well. So, out of 5 stars, I'd give this a 3, but with the right cut of roast (read: with more fat on it - seriously!), I'm going to try this again to see if I can't get that rating up to a 5.

Michael, Karen and Morgan said...

I tried this tonight using pork roast and both my parents and I LOVED it! I was sad to see there was only one serving left over. I love leftovers!
I did adapt it a bit. I used leftover homemade cranberry relish and a can of jellied cranberry sauce. It worked out perfect and tasted fantastic with the hint of orange from the homemade relish. Thanks for the great recipe!

Anonymous said...

made this last night and it was fantastic! served it with blue cheese mashed potatoes, which were a nice foil to the sweet cranberry. this might be a nice christmas dinner, and how easy!!

Chey can cook! (and more) said...

I wish I had found this site sooner! I use my slow cooker 9/10 Sunday's, and am always looking for new recipes - now I have a whole bunch to look thru - thank you!

JimmyJet from Auburn, Michigan said...

I made this today, and it was great. I think next time I'll try the version in the comments here with added potatoes, to make a true one-pot meal. I assume if I do that I'll need to add a bit of water? Although I find many of your recipes to sound very nice, I am drawn toward the ones with fewer ingredients, I guess because I am lazy, and hate shopping. Thank you for this blog and all the great recipes, and I wish you every success.

Ambry said...

This looks amazing! & I love that you mentioned it would be good with venison...I think I'll try it with the shoulder I've been staring at in the freezer for weeks!

andrea m said...

I love quick and easy meals.

Sapphire WolfBlayde said...

I made this, and added some green beans so I'd have some veggies other than the mashed potatoes I made to go with it. Man did it turn out great!

Tara G. said...

We have a recipe that is nearly the same except you use a package of onion soup mix and 8 oz of Russian dressing with pork tenderloin. I haven't made it for a long time because of the dressing- not gluten free. What a great option!

jan said...

didn't use one of my slow cookers for the roast, but used some of my freezer-stashed crockpot fresh cranberry sauce. Remember that? It never froze solid and I scooped some out to put on top of pork tenderloin. I laid some 'maple sugar' bacon on top and roasted it for about an hour at 400. At least the bacon crisped better in the roaster and it all tasted great.
Thanks for all your inspiration, Steph!

Aiming4Simple said...

I made this with venison and found it too sweet with canned cranberry sauce. So, like Colorado Sunflower, I went in a barbecue direction with the leftover sauce. To the recipe here I added: apple cider vinegar, ketchup, worcestershire sauce, maple syrup, and a drop of mustard. My sauce-loving daughter and I were then happy with the results.

1SavvySaver said...

Would it matter if I do it in a 5quart slow cooker instead of 4?

Stephanie O'Dea said...

1savvysaver,

No. The food will cook just fine, but the timing might be a bit quicker. Slow cookers work the absolute best when they are 2/3 to 3/4 of the way full, but your 5 quart will do a great job.

xoxo steph

Jamie (Suddenly Stay @ Home) said...

Hey Steph! I made this tonight for us- got chuck roast at $1.99 per lb and managed to turn into something that neither one of us hated- thanks!

4onprospect said...

This was great! I used a pork roast and ALL of my family ate it happily! (This may be a record!) Thanks!

Meal said...

I saw this on your blog and thought it sounded great, so I went out and bought a can of cranberry sauce. When I got home, I went from memory on your recipe and it turned into a thing of my own. Thank you for the idea! It tasted AMAZING!
http://newmomscookbook.blogspot.com/2009/12/pork-shoulder-with-vegetables-and.html

Naomi said...

This was delicious-- I used a semi
frozen pork sirloin roast and served it over rice.

It was even better the next day on whole-wheat rolls.

Kari said...

Loved this recipe...I made it on Friday and we ate leftovers tonight over noodles and it was still great. Super easy. But canned cranberry sauce, even whole cranberry sauce, won't exactly "pour" so I had to spoon it and spread it. LOL

Anonymous said...

Made this--fantastic! Next time I will add some shredded carrots to cook in the juice/broth. Thanks for all the great recipes!

Charis said...

OK i am soooo all about this site!!! Thrilled to have found this-- cant wait to make this roast recipe.... this site along with my slow cooker could be life changing for me as a single(divorced! ICK) working mom of 3 boys!!

Mary said...

Wow - this turned out so well! I loved the gravy it produced. It was so tasty I reserved a cup of the gravy and froze it for my daughter who needs to eat gluten free.

Just curious - why the whole berry cranberry sauce? I would be inclined to use the regular jellied cranberry sauce next time as I am not used to seeing berries in my meat gravies. Both of my kids wouln't eat the berries (more of a visual/texture thing) either.

Anonymous said...

Made the recipe last night with frozen Beef stew meat. I only used one pound, but it was still delicious. My husband raved !

Coach KBeans said...

Just want to say thank you again for this recipe!!! Having an easy crockpot gluten-free dinner on a cold busy day with 3 kids is just PERFECT! It's become a weekly staple. Served over mashed potatoes and served with greens on the side (salad or green beans usually)

Minda said...

Just made this and it was delish!!!! Not to mention super easy(which I love!!)....Love your recipes and Happy New Year!!!

Susan (peebsmama) said...

Mondays are hubby's night to cook. Right now his repetoire consists of only three meals. Sick of all of them, I suggested he find a simple recipe to try. Only 4 ingredients and the use of a crock pot fits that bill. After reading the first direction to your recipe: "plop the meat..." he was satisfied he could handle it. It was SO good. We will definitely be making this again.

Poof said...

This was absolutely wonderful. We all loved it. I used a chuck roast, I bet it'll be great with pork. (ps. none of us like cranberry sauce either)

wimbittworld said...

I like the sound of this recipe! I am going to make it for dinner tonight. I just discovered your websie a couple days ago. I hope to be visiting here lots. We are just starting to live on a much tighter budget and crockpots seem made for economical eating!

Thanks for experimenting so the rest of us don;t have to!

Anonymous said...

My slow cooker has been cooking with this dish all day! My mouth is watering and I wish my husband would hurry home!
I tasted it and it is amazing!!!!!
Looking forward to seeing if hubby likes it!

Jenny

Leslie said...

I have to tell you...this was wonderful. My husband and boys (ages 15 and 9) could not tell me enough how good this was! They loved it. My husband said it is in the top 5 of favorite dinners! I used pork loin and wouldn't change a thing! Thank you so much!

artsy said...

I made this last night as the first dish I've ever made with slow cooker.

It came out really tart and was unable to swallow, but probably because I tweaked the recipe too much. =P

Just for other people who might make the same mistake, here are the series of mistakes I made.

I couldn't find onion flakes, so I didn't use it. Instead I used one more yellow onion.

They only had jellied cranberry sauce - I am not so sure if that was the problem or the fact that I used 1/2 of it. (because it was 600 cal a can!!)

Since I used 1/2 cranberry sauce, thought it might be too thin, so I put 1 more Tbsp of soy sauce. =P

I might have cooked it a little longer than 9 hrs.

I ruined a good chunk of $15 beef.. It has this tart, bitter, sour kinda taste to it. Any suggestion on how to revive it? and make it edible?

Thank you!

Chelle said...

I made this today and it was delicious! Instead of the onion flakes, I used a packet of lipton onion soup mix. Awesome. Not too sweet. Perfect. Thank you!

suz said...

Just made this with venison. Ridiculously easy, incredibly good! Thanks for the recipe.

Cassie said...

When I explained to my family what was in it- soy sauce, cranberry sauce, onion flakes and meat- they weren't too impressed. I think I saw a, "Really? Are you serious?" look on their faces. But when they ate it, they absolutely LOVED it! Thanks so much, it was easy and delicious! My favorite kind of meal!

stealthcook said...

Since my crock pot is in use now, I stuck all the ingredients in an oven bag till internal temp is 165 deg.
(only use these in emergencies)
LOVE THIS SITE

Kimberly said...

I made this one today and was EXTREMELY pleased. I used 3# of pork shoulder rump roast (that's what the tag said, and for $1.50 a pound, I'd buy it as long as it wasn't green). It was awesome, the house smelled great, and the boyfriend loved it too. Cooked on high for 5-6 hours. Served with these mashed potatoes -- http://crockpot365.blogspot.com/2008/11/crockpot-mashed-potatoes-with-cream.html Paired well.

PMG Smith Family said...

Trying this for dinner tonight with frozen boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Can't wait!

Elizabeth said...

I made this tonight, and it was amazing. It sounded good, but it came out so much better than I expected. I used two large roasts and doubled the other ingredients, and it fed a crowd. Served with mashed mashed potatoes and steamed asparagus.

PMG Smith Family said...

Just thought I'd finally give an update on using the frozen boneless chicken breasts -- it was fantastic. DH even said it was gourmet-like. I served it with garlic mashed potatoes and everyone was happy. :o)

Heather said...

I made this today and it was fantastic! Also, it was my first time using a crock pot EVER! I made it for my boyfriend (who is celiac)and we both thought it was fantastic. Thanks for the recipe!

Angelica said...

Just tried this! so good and my picky 3 year old ate some!! You rock!

Colleen Moore said...

SUCCESS! Thanks SO much! Btw, I used jellied, not whole cranberry sauce. :D

Kristine. said...

Tried this yesterday! LOVE! It was so yummy. I used Mrs. Dash onion & herb seasoning and lite soy sauce to try and make it a smidge healthier with less sodium involved. Super good! This will definitely be added to my lineup of yummy dinners. I have some leftover so I'll be pulling apart the remainder and baking it with BBQ sauce for some pulled pork sandwiches tonight. :)

Anne said...

Just bought the crockpot with the temperature probe - I had been overdoing a lot of cuts of meat based on your time estimates - I think my crock pot is just a little too big for what I was putting in it! Anyway, the temp probe one (purchased at your recommendation)is A LIFESAVER!!! Pork roasts are done on low, nice and tender, in 3-4 hours, but I haven't tried a beef roast yet.
I can't wait to try this roast tomorrow in my new toy!!!

Anonymous said...

Cooked this for a small dinner get together and served with mashed blue cheese red potatoes and garlic asparagus. Rave reviews from my guests! I used a pork roast, which was a bit fatty but that was easy to fix with some trimming. Used onion soup mix instead of fresh because the husband doesn't like them. Will definitely make this again, and I'm sure it would be great as a freeze ahead meal.

Anonymous said...

My friend told me about this recipe and I didn't think anyone in my house would like it, but it gets rave reviews! It's definitely one of my new favorites! Thanks to all the people who posted their twists on the recipe too! Great ideas!

Anonymous said...

Just reading the comments is causing my mouth to water! I can't wait to try it. My husband and I love to cook and we got 3 slow cookers for wedding gifts... I think I found the perfect website to put them to good use!

Cooking Mama said...

Hi steph! Long time reader here! I made this today. I didn't have time to make the cranberry sauce from scratch ahead of time so I used your Homemade cranberry sauce recipe and just put it all in with my frozen beef roast. The results were the same as if I had done it separately then added it together. As usual another wonderful hit with the family! The only thing I changed was I added one jalapeƱo (not sliced but whole). Gave it a bit of spice but not much. Loved it! Thanks again for your wonderful ideas!

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