Dec 12-14 Crock Pot Fennel Roast Beef

Dec 12     chicken green bean stir fry
Dec 13     meatloaf sandwiches
Dec 14     Crock Pot Fennel Roast Beef with pasta

I truly had no idea what I was going to make for dinner on Wednesday night until I went to the grocery store and they had eye of round roasts on sale so I grabbed one and walked around the store getting all of my baking stuff trying to figure out what to do with it. I actually don't like roast beef. I don't like prime rib or standing rib roast or any of that stuff. The only way I enjoy a big chunk of beef is if it is falling apart so I pretty much only braise them or cook them in my handy dandy crock pot (or as we like to call it, my crotch pot). I was either going to go beer, mustard beef on mashed potatoes or a more italian beef served over pasta.
Clearly I chose to go the Italian over pasta route. I might just pick up another one at this price and make it with beer next week now that I think about it.

I will have a post for next Monday but I am leaving this Saturday for a week of christmas beach and sand and will be be back until christmas day. Clearly I am not going to be cooking anything myself but I will post next thursday with photos of some of the delicious things we will be eating and then that only leaves ONE LAST WEEK UNTIL THIS NO REEATS CHALLENGE IS FINISHED!!!

Clearly, we lost our third partner, Jen, somewhere around the end of October when her work schedule sent her into a black hole but I am pretty thrilled that Dianne and I have made it to the bitter end. We have both decided that although neither of us wants to do this again for another year, we do like being forced to step out of our comfort zones and make things that we would not normally make. We will continue with the blog but we will each just take one day a week where we have to make something completely new and we will share that with you. I plan to make exactly the same thing the other six nights of the week just for sport.
If there is anyone out there who is crazy enough and would like to take the year long challenge, you are welcome to get in touch and let us know and maybe you could join our crazy train.
With that, I give you:

Crock Pot Fennel Roast Beef 
1 lb (about 600g) beef eye of round roast
kosher salt and pepper
glug olive oil
*tbls of #5 Umamai paste 
1 cup tomato puree
3/4 cup of chicken stock
fresh thyme, at least a small handful or to taste
2 cloves garlic
1 fennel bulb, sliced

serve with any hearty pasta - I like it with paperadelle but it's good with rigatoni or something like that

Slice the fennel bulb like this:

Put the fennel and the garlic into the crock pot. Mix in the tomato and 1/2 cup of the chicken stock and the thyme. Add salt and pepper to taste ( I have to salt because I use my own tomatoes that were preserved without salt).

Heat a frying pan over med heat, add a little glug of oil and then liberally salt and pepper your roast before putting in in the hot pan to sear on all sides until nice and brown.
Put the browned meat on top of the fennel and push it around until the fennel is surrounding the meat and the meat is partially submerged.
In the hot pan you just seared the meat, add the umami paste and then the last 1/4 cup of chicken stock and let that bubble up. Take it off the heat immediately and use a spatula to scrape all of the goodness into the crockpot over the meat.
Put the lid on, turn it onto high and walk away.

I cook it all day on low or if you don't have all day, you can do it for about 4 or 5 hours on high but the longer you let it sit, the softer the meat gets and the easier it is to shred it up.
When it's done, as your pasta is cooking, open the lid and take two forks and start shredding the meat up until it looks like pulled pork.
Ladle the meat, the fennel and some of the liquid over pasta and grate lots of fresh parmesan on top. Of course, I like to sprinkle lots of hot chili flake on mine. You can also eat it over rice or mashed potatoes of course.

*about this #5 umami paste, I am LOVING it. It adds a really nice depth of flavour, a hit of salty, briny goodness and I will make sure I always have a tube of this in my pantry. In Canada, you can get it at Loblaws as part of their new Black Lable line and it looks like it's widely available at fine food stores like Dean and De Luca in the States. If you don't have it, you can just use some tomato paste for thickness but it won't bump up the flavour


  1. I love fennel, it's such a wonderful flavor. This dish looks fabulous! I really need to get myself a slow cooker...

  2. Hi there. I wanted to let you know that my family will be doing our own "dinner experiment" during 2012. My goal is to cook (we're trying to avoid eating out too!) a different main dish every weeknight during 2012. I'll be blogging about it at


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