There’s a little town not too far from where we live that has the longest covered bridge west of the Mississippi. (Have you ever noticed that everything in this country seems to be categorized as either east or west of the Mississippi? What happens if whatever it is we’re looking at happens to be floating in the middle of the Mississippi? Do both sides lay claim? Just wondering).
Knights Ferry is an unincorporated historic community nestled in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada range. The Willms Ranch, just outside town, was one of many filming locations for such television shows as Bonanza and Little House on the Prairie. Julia Grant, wife of President Ulysses S. Grant, had two brothers that settled in the town in 1852. The Dent brothers changed the name of the town to “Dentville”, but the name never stuck since most people knew it as the site of Dr. William Knight’s ferry and a favorable spot to cross the Stanislaus River. The general store in town, built in 1852, is the oldest continually operating general store in the state of California.
Every year, a division of reenactors from neighboring Jackson take to the fields around the covered bridge for an epic two-day Civil War battle. As history buffs, we headed to Knights Ferry to enjoy the show, smell the gun powder, listen to the boom of cannons and have some old-fashion fun.
That didn’t mean we were going to skip Sunday Supper. Especially since this in Lent and Sundays are a day of reprieve from our call to abstinence. The best thing about slow cooking is that you can go off, have a fun-filled adventure and still have a fabulous meal waiting at the end of the day. Yum!
The Ultimate All Day Slow-Cooked Pot Roast
3 1/2 lbs boneless Beef Chuck Roast
Kosher Salt to taste
Black Pepper to taste
2 1/2 tablespoons Vegetable Oil
1 can Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup
1 envelope dry Onion Soup Mix
1 cup Red Wine
3 Garlic Cloves, sliced
1 1/4 lb Red Potato, cut in half
2 Celery Ribs, cut into 2-inch pieces
16 oz Baby Carrots
4 sprigs fresh Thyme, whole
2 Bay Leaf
1 (6-inch) sprig fresh Rosemary, whole
8 oz Cremini Mushrooms
2 tablespoons all-purpose Flour
1/4 cup Beef Broth
Season the beef with the salt and black pepper.
Heat the oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add the beef and cook until well browned on all sides.
Stir the mushroom soup, onion soup mix, wine and garlic in a 6-quart slow cooker.
Peel and slice garlic, scatter over the soup mixture.
Cut potatoes in half, add to the soup mixture.
Rinse and slice celery into 2-inch pieces. Add to the slow cooker.Stir in the carrots, top with the thyme, bay leaves and rosemary.
Nestle chuck roast into the slow cooker over the vegetables.
Cover and cook on LOW 7 to 8 hours or until the beef and vegetables are fork-tender. Remove the beef from the cooker. Remove and discard the bay leaves, rosemary and thyme.
Using a slotted spoon, lift potatoes from the liquid and arrange around the roast beef. Cover and keep warm.
Rinse and slice mushrooms. Mix into the liquid in the slow cooker.
Stir the flour and beef broth in a small bowl until the mixture is smooth. Pour the slurry into the slow cooker. Cover and cook on HIGH for 10 minutes or until the mixture boils and thickens and the mushrooms are tender. Ladle the saucy vegetables over the roast. If desired, garish the platter with some parsley and serve.
I love serving roasts with warm bread as an additional side.