Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Garlic Butter Shrimp on the Grill

Let's talk about shrimp!  There are a handful of super simple tips that will transform your shrimp dish into something delicious and memorable that will have your guests asking, "How did you do that?"


TIPS:


Buying Shrimp

  1. There are almost as many ways to buy these little buggars as there are to cook them.  Fresh?  Frozen?  Pre-cooked?  Shelled?  Beheaded?  Big?  Small?  What do the numbers mean??  If you're planning to follow a recipe and to cook shrimp for your crowd, do NOT buy shrimp that is already cooked... I see this happen all the time.  People go home and cook shrimp that were cooked/steamed at the store and I can't imagine the rock-hard, dried out, rubberized shrimp pucks that result. Here are my tips:
  2. Make sure the label says "Uncooked" (if you're buying frozen), or make sure you get FRESH shrimp from a trusted fish-monger.
  3. Get shrimp that just a little bigger than you want to serve.  Shrimp shrink a bit when they cook, and they tend to curl up.  I prefer bigger ones, number 9s or maybe 10s (that's 9 or 10 to a pound).  They're easier to handle, clean, etc.
  4. Unless you want to make your own seafood stock, get them as "pre-cleaned" as you can.  Nobody wants to spend the time cleaning, de-shelling, de-pooping, and disposing of shrimp shells, legs, tails, and other nonsense.

Prepping Shrimp

  1. When you get them home, take their shells off and give them a good rinse in cold water. 
  2. Place all of the empty shells and other "shrimp trash" into a ziplock back and park it in the freezer.  You can use it to make stock OR, you can just pitch it into the garbage on trash day.  Keeping it bagged and frozen will eliminate the odor, flies, and maggots that will collect in your trash bin if you just toss them in, otherwise.
  3. Place them in a bowl with ice and water and park them in the fridge until it's time to cook them.
  4. Shrimp benefit greatly from a good marinade but remember that acid in citrus can start to "cook" them a bit, so don't use pure lime juice (for example) without some olive oil or something to dilute it.
  5. Shrimp hate room temperatures, but the bacteria in shrimp love it.  Keep them cold until it's time to cook and serve.

Cooking Shrimp

  1. Above all else, remember cook quickly (3 minutes, on average) and they're best enjoyed hot so... they're usually the last thing to hit the grill before its time to serve dinner.
  2. While shrimp kabobs are certainly delicious, great care should be taken to watch them.  Shrimp are happiest then they cook in a liquid because they can go from "savory juicy" to "charcoal dry" quicker than you can pop open a new beer...

Easy Grilled Shrimp 

 

In a bowl, dump in your shrimp and drizzle some olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper all over them.  Stir them around so they all get oiled up for the party.  Take out a "grillable" steel pan and spread a generous blob of butter all over the bottom of it, as if it were a big steel piece of toast.  Pour your shrimp into the buttered pan and set that pan directly over the fire on your grill.

Watch those shrimp!  Do not close the lid, do not go anywhere, do not fetch a refreshing new beer... stand there and watch!  The butter will quickly melt and things will start bubbling and steaming and sizzling and changing colors and you need to be there to stir and mix things around as it happens!  When the shrimp turn from translucent blue to a bright orange, you only have a minute or so left to go.

Ok, the shrimp in this picture are now done!  Total time?  Maybe 4 minutes.  My fire was HOT!  It's now time to take these off the heat and to serve them.  Shrimp don't benefit from a "rest" like beef or pork, and any attempt to "keep them warm" will just cook them further and dry them out so... pull them off the heat, drop the pan onto a trivet, and tell your guests to "dig in!"


Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Smoked Prime Rib

Sometimes, a fly needs the sledgehammer.  Every now and then, you need to assert your dominance in the party world by "slam dunking" a goal/event with so much authority, that people will talk about it for years to come.  I'm talking about something that shakes up your dinner-party patrons with such thunder and trembling, that hosts and hostesses throughout the County will hesitate to even try to plan a menu for a long, long time! You've put this decision off, long enough.  It's time to plunk down $175 (or so) for an AMAZING piece of meat that will sent your guests home in a food coma so strong, they may elect to just have a nap on the sidewalk before they ever make it home....

I'm talking about Prime Rib, but I'm taking it to the next level!  What about Hickory Smoked Prime Rib??


Don't let the price tag scare you.  Think about it this way, you'd pay $25 for a 16oz cut of great Prime Rib in a restaurant, wouldn't you?  Then why not pay $8 per pound and cook the whole roast, YOUR way?!  When it comes to restaurant quality BBQ, Prime Rib is one of the most expensive hunks of beef out there, but it's also one of the easiest things to cook, so, why not give it a shot?

You Will Need:

  • One Whole Boneless Rib Roast (Mine was 20lbs)
  • 1/4 Cup Bourbon
  • 1/2 Cup "Think" Worcestershire Sauce
  • Beef Rub:
    • 1/4 Cup Brown Sugar
    • 1/4 Cup Kosher Salt
    • 1/4 Cup Black Pepper
    • 1/4 Cup Smoked Paprika
    • 1/4 Cup Fresh Chili Powder
Ok.  Have a look at the end of the roast you're thinking about purchasing.  Is it well-marbled?  Here's the thing... You'll save some money by buying a "Select" or a "Choice" grade of rib-roast, as opposed to USDA Prime.  You want some good marbling (fat=flavor, right?) you don't want to pay through the roof to get it so, have a look at as many as you can and get the best one you can afford.  The one pictured here was "Prime" but I've seen Choice cuts that had better marbling.  It all depends on the quality of cattle that were graded by the USDA's rep on processing day. 

Once you've made your selection, rinse it with cold water, pat it dry, and lay it out onto your work surface.  Take some cotton butcher's twine (free from your local butcher, or available at a hardware store) and truss it up.  (This video should help, if  it's your first "tie job!").  Do NOT trim it first, leave every bit of fat and goodness that came with this roast, as part of the package!
Mix your Bourbon with the Worcestershire sauce.  Resist the urge to just drink it, pour yourself some of the Bourbon in a separate glass for "fortification" and keep the faith!  Pour the mixture all over the roast and rub it in.  Rub, rub, rub, massaging this juicy goodness into all of the cracks and crevices!  Note where the rib bones used to be on the underside of the roast, make sure you get some juicy goodness in there, too!
Now, mix all of the ingredients together for the rub, and shake it all over the roast.  Don't be shy!  Shake and turn and shake and turn and pat and rub and really go to town on this bad-boy!

Now, wrap the whole thing in a tight cocoon of plastic wrap.  Use a lot of layers and when you think it's enough, wrap on a few more.  I find that it's easiest to take the roll of plastic out of the box, and to recruit a helper for this step.
Stash your wrapped and spiced rib roast into the fridge for at least 12 hours.  I always do this the day before dinner...
On the big day, pull the roast out of the fridge and leave it on the counter, out of the reach of your dogs or any curious children!  Leave yourself a note, to remind you to do this... My smart-phone beeped at me early this morning to tell me, but my wife prefers paper notes!  The idea is to let the roast come up to about 60 degrees before you start cooking it.  If you don't, the outside will dry out and over-cook before the inside is done... you want a nice even and consistent temperature, consistency, and appearance throughout the roast when you slice it, so this step is super-critical!

Preheat your smoker to 250 degrees.  I used a combination of hickory chunks and lump charcoal for this.  You could do this in an oven, but you would obviously lose the smoke flavor. 

Lay on the roast, and insert a probe thermometer so that the tip finds its way to the center of the meat.  I can't stress this enough... do NOT rely on that droning Neanderthal urge in your head that is telling you, "You'll just know when it's done."  You won't.  You just spent almost $200 for this piece of meat, spend another $15 or so for an oven-safe probe thermometer that will tell you EXACTLY when it's done!!
Now... you wait.  You'll wait about 4 hours for this beast to come up to 128 degrees.  Waiting sucks, so, during your wait, go find the right bottle of wine!  For my money, you can't beat an excellent bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon to match a Prime Rib.  Find one (or two.  maybe a case.), bring it home, open it, let it breathe, and sample it.  Sample it again while you check the temperature... When it touches 128, get it out of the smoker/oven immediately!!  Wrap it in foil, tightly, and let it sit on the counter, resting, for another 30 minutes.

WOOT!  Unwrap it and slide it onto your cutting board!  Three cheers and a tiger for you, you did it!  It's all over now but for the slicin'  The end-cuts will be closer to Medium or Medium Well, so save those for the people who appreciate that sort of thing.  The biggest prize of all is the cut from the very center... a Medium-Rare thing of beauty that would impress King Henry VIII!

Behold!  The Center-Cut!!  Long live the King!  Slide this onto a plate and dust off your hands.  Bask, as your subjects look at you as though you were conjured up by a sorcerer to do things to a cow that mere mortals can't even comprehend! 

You're Welcome!  :D



Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Peach Crumble Custard Pie!

For my money, few desserts are as impressive as homemade pie!  There are so many different acts in this particular circus that need to be perfectly balanced in order for the show to meet its potential for "spectacular!"  The crust should be tender, yet flaky... The filling should be sweet, but not overly so.  Fruit filling should be moist and naturally sweet without a gummy texture, or an artificial "pectin-like" flavor.  This, "Peach Crumble Custard Pie" brings all of that to the table!  Soft, yet crunchy.. Fruity, and slightly sweet.  The perfect "Crème brûlée marries Peach Cobbler and has a baby" sort of thing!


You Will Need:

  • The Pie:
    • About a dozen small fresh peaches 
    • 1 9" Deep-Dish
  • The Custard
    • An Egg
    • 1 Cup of Heavy Cream
    • 1.5 Tbsp Flour
    • 1 Tsp Vanilla
    • 2/3 Cup Sugar
  • The Crumble
    • 1/2 Cup of all-purpose flour
    • 1/2 Cup brown sugar
    • 1/4 Cup butter, melted but not "hot"

Now; this recipe is easy, but it takes time and love.  If you're short on time, pick another pie; do NOT take shortcuts with this one!  If you're short on "love," well, you should eat a slice of someone else's pie and then see a therapist... If you're ready, preheat your oven to 425, grab your cutting board, set out your frozen pie crust to thaw, and let's do this thing!

There is probably not another fruit in the world as complicated as a peach.  If you were to pick 3 different peaches from the same tree on the same day, they'd all have a different flavor and texture.  Canned peaches are consistent, but they don't really taste like fresh peaches, do they?  Not even close!  They taste like "peach syrup" or pectin or... I don't know, but they don't taste like fresh peaches, that's for sure. 

This recipe calls for a dozen small peaches, but you won't need all of them.  You'll only need the good ones, so be prepared to taste them!  Peal the skin off of each peach, then slice the flesh in half and peel it off of the pit.  Now, slice each half into the crescent peach slices we're all familiar with and taste one!  Is it sweet, delectable and peachy?  If so, push all of the slices into a bowl!  If it's a little "bitter" or "blah" or just not "peachy" enough, then scrape all of the slices into a compost bin, or into some breakfast oats and move along to the next peach!

Eventually, you'll have enough slices of the perfect peaches to fill your pie crust!  Stop for a moment to take stock; what you have in front of you is an amazing thing!  Fresh fruit, none of the overly sweet syrupy "ick" to clutter nature's perfection, and you have it in a PIE!  Granted, it's a rapidly thawing frozen pie shell, but... you're still MILES ahead of your competition at this point!  Wash your hands, pour some wine, and gird your loins for the custard,  The messy, sticky, peachy, juice-ridden, counter-top messing moments are behind you!

Toss an egg into a large bowl and beat it to death with a good whisk.  Beat it some more.  You want a nice bright yellow uniform egg to start your custard with.  Add the Vanilla and the sugar and beat, beat, beat until you have a nice, smooth consistency.  I probably could have used my KitchenAid mixer, but I wasn't in the mood to wash it, so... I grabbed the whisk.  Lightly sprinkle the flour on top and beat it some more.  The flour is here to help thicken the custard so the pie will stand up to slicing so, don't forget it!  Add the heavy cream, a dollop at a time, and mix it slowly with the egg batter.  Your goal is to dissolve all of the sugar and to come up with a smooth custard.  You'll know its ready when you scrape your whisk across the bottom of the bowl and you don't get any sugar residue sticking to the wires of your whisk.  Set the custard aside....

Now, "Let's get crumbly!"  Mix the 1/2 Cup flour with the brown sugar, using a whisk, until you have a homogeneous mixture that looks like beach sand.  Slowly drizzle in the warm melted butter and keep whisking away until you have a nice brown crumbly mixture of heavenly goodness.

Warm heavenly goodness looks like this.  It should feel like wet sand, and it should crumble, easily, when you use your fingers to break it up.

Ready for assembly?  Slowly pour the custard over your peaches.  Do this in batches, allowing time for the custard to work its way down among the peaches... You may not need all of the custard, just keep pouring and settling until the mix comes up just blow the edge of the pie-crust.  Now, grab a handful of the crumble and "season" the pie with it!  Like a little crumble?  Add what you want... Like a lot of crumble?  Add it all!

Now put the pie onto a cookie sheet (I line my sheets with a silicon sheet or with foil, to catch any spill-over), and send it into the middle of your 425 degree oven.  Shut the door, and IMMEDIATELY drop the temperature to 350.  This initial heat blast will help brown the top of the pie and the edges of the crust, without burning the custard later.  Set your timer for 45 minutes and give the pie a "peek-a-loo!"  It should be golden brown all over, and the middle should show a little bit of jiggle (but not too much) when you gently shake the corner of the cookie sheet.

Cool the pie for slicin' and you're ready to go.  Some like whipping cream on this pie, but the custard is "cream heavy" so I think it stands alone!  Either way, it's an awesome way to do a peach pie.  When people ask you the secret?  Just say, "I found some good peaches!"

Monday, June 20, 2016

Roast Chicken... ON THE GRILL!

"I can roast chicken on my grill?" Yes.  You can roast your chicken on the grill, sparing yourself the anxiety of drying out your over-grilled chicken, or poisoning your guests with your under-cooked chicken...  Let's do this!


You will need:

  • 1 large roasting chicken (5-7lbs)
  • Chicken Rub - equal parts of:
    • Paprika
    • Brown Sugar
    • Kosher Salt
    • Coarsely Ground Pepper
    • Chili Powder

First things first; we need to separate this big chicken.  You know how to cut a chicken apart into its representative 8 pieces, right?  No?  Well, there's one way to learn!  If you're squeamish about this, get over it.  You'll save yourself some money and you'll learn a "life skill" that you can pass on to your kids!  So, get yourself a cutting board, some good kitchen shears, and a boning knife...

Rinse the bird in cold water, and dry it off with some paper towels.  Lay her down with her back up and her butt facing you.  She looks "sad," doesn't she?  Don't let it bother you, she won't feel a thing.
Pick up the shears and cut out her spine.  While you're cutting, stay focused and keep the cutting edge of the shears as close to the backbone as you can.  If you slide out and away from the backbone, you'll find yourself cutting across the ribs and that takes more hand-strength that you're probably willing to part with so, aim for the vertebrae and you'll be fine.
With the backbone gone, it will be easy to flip her over and spread her apart.  Spin her around so her butt is facing away from you.  Now, with the flat of your palm, press firmly down across the breasts until you hear a "pop" or a dull "thud."  You want to break the keel bone loose (more on this in a bit).  With her breast bone now broken, go ahead and cut the leg/thigh quarters free.
Ok, take a timeout and toss the shears into the sink (you're done with them, now) and wash/dry your hands.  Pick up the knife with your dominant hand and tell your brain that, "This is my knife hand.  It will not let go of the knife to touch the chicken.  My other hand is now my chicken-hand.  It will do the dirty work!"  There are no bones or cartilage here to slow your knife down, so it's an easy cut to take the leg/thigh quarters.
Pick a leg/thigh section and flip it over.  Pinch and feel for the joint.  A good sharp boning knife will "sing" through cartilage, but struggle through bone so... look for the white cartilage in the join and slice right through it.  Repeat for the other leg quarter and "Presto!"  You have 4 of your eight pieces done!
Back to the breast. Flip it over and use your thumb to get under the keel bone.  This is the big triangular bone that separates the breasts.  Work your thumb under it to loosen it a bit, and use your knife to work it loose and out of the bird.  This is your toughest cut and may require some practice.  Don't worry, you'll get there!  Open a beer with your clean "knife hand" and be prepared to celebrate!
With the keel bone out, you can now split the breast into its two respective half.  Easy-peasy.
Last cut?  Separation of the wing.  Who doesn't like the chicken wing?  Don't bag this step in favor of cooking a "breast/wing" quarter.  Just pick the breast up by the wing and let gravity show you where the joint is.  Feel for the cartilage (again) and slice right through the joint, taking the wing away.  There's more meat on the breast-side of the wing than you think, don't be afraid to cut a little deeper than it looks.

Now, take a quick break, toss the chicken pieces into a bowl and wash everything... the board, your knives, your counter top, and your hands.  Drink your celebratory beer and smile because the fun part is starting!

Light up your charcoal and pre-heat your grill.  Shove all of the charcoal against the side of your grill that draws air.  You want it burning nice and hot and a breath of fresh air coming into your pit will keep it blazing.
Close the lid and let it warm up.  Then go inside and massage your chicken!  Pour a solid glop of olive oil into your chicken bowl and rub it in.  Then shake on a generous amount of your chicken-rub.  Stir and flip the pieces over so they all get a nice coating.  Don't be shy!
O.K.  When chicken meats fire, normally you have to watch closely for flare-ups and hot spots and burning of chicken flesh, etc.  Not today!  Lay your chicken out as shown, larger pieces toward the heat, smaller pieces in the rear.  Notice the "Flow" of what's going on here... air comes in from the right, charcoal heats up, hot air moves over the chicken, and then out through the pit and up and out through the stack. 

Close the lid and wait.  This is harder than you think!  Your brain is screaming, "IT'S GOING TO BURN!! FLIP IT OVER, THERE'S FIRE IN THERE!"  I get it.  You've grilled a hundred chickens in your life, burnt at least one piece from every single one, and you KNOW that chicken fat breeds flame.  Not to worry, things will be fine, just make CERTAIN that the charcoal is NOT directly underneath the bird.

For a chicken this size, it took just a bit longer than an hour for everything to hit the target temperature.  I would wait for thirty minutes and then lift the lid and use a probe thermometer to check your progress.  Check it every ten minutes after that.  The larger pieces in the front deflect just a bit of the heat as it moves to the left.  Therefore, the smaller pieces don't overcook!  Everything should be ready at the same time.  When the breasts on the front-line touch 160 degrees, pull everything off and wrap/cover with foil for about ten minutes.

Results?  Crispy skin... super juicy meat... tasty heat and sweet spices... I touched mine with a hint of my favorite BBQ sauce and "Viola!"  You have created restaurant quality roast chicken, BBQ style!

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Guacamole Stuffed Chicken Breast, with Bacon!

A pig, a chicken, and an avocado walk into a bar.... HA!  Just kidding.  This recipe is a bit strange.  Your head will say, "Avocados and chicken?  No way!" but your mouth will tell your head to "Shut right up, because this stuff is extra-primo super delicious!"


This dish is a lot simpler than it seems, and it's actually good for you sine Avocado is a "super food" and chicken is lean and, well, bacon is "good!"

You Will Need:

  • 1 large chicken breast (skinless and boneless)
  • 1 thin slice of bacon (maybe two)
  • 1 solid batch of good Guacamole!
  • Oven, Pre-Heat to 375

The first thing you'll need is an amazing batch of guacamole.  You'll need some to stuff into the chicken breasts, and you'll need something to snack on while you wait for the dish to come out of the oven, so... get started on that first!

Once your guac is done, rinse off your chicken breast and lay it out on the cutting board.  Lop off the cap from the bigger (non-tapered) end.  Keep the cap and cook it along with the rest of the breast, the bacon fat will render it quite delicious and it's a nice "bonus bite" for the chef!

Grab the breast in your "non-knife" hand and give it a squeeze to tighten it together.  Insert a sharp filet knife and cut a nice slit through the center of the end of the breast.  Use extreme care not to open your hand at this stage!  The chicken will be delicious, stuff with guacamole.  Your hand will not!

Pull out the knife, and insert your fingers.  Stretch the slit out a bit so that it becomes a nice hole.  Now comes the fun part... Use a spoon, a butter knife, or your fingers, and stuff that hole with guacamole!  You will get guacamole everywhere if you're not careful.  I've found that it's best to use a little bit at a time. 

It's a test of your patience, but you won't have guac all over your counter-top.  Also, you'll need to resist the urge to eat any guacamole spillage, since it's tainted with raw chicken breast.  For that reason, it's best not to scoop your "chicken hand" into the guacamole bowl!  You certainly don't want to ruin a fresh batch of guac with chicken juice...

Once you've stuff it, lay the chicken breast down, and tuck the ends under, so it's nice and pretty.  Wrap the chicken in a thin piece of bacon, to hold everything together.  Why thin bacon, and not thick?  Thin bacon stretches better, and crisps up a bit more quickly.  Use a toothpick if you need to, this can be a bit tricky...

Finally, the fun part!  Place a pan over Medium-High heat and let it get hot.  Lay your chicken down into the pan and listen to the sizzle!  Let them cook for 2 minutes on each side, just enough to let the bacon crisp up a little bit.  Then, slide the entire pan into your 375 degree oven, and close the lid for 15 minutes.

When the chicken comes out of the oven, it should be 165 degrees inside and the juice should be clear.  Slice and eat!  I find the salt from the bacon is enough to season the chicken.  The guacamole should be seasoned perfectly, going in.  All together, the mix of crispy bacon, soft guacamole, firm chicken... it's heaven!



Thursday, March 3, 2016

Prepping the Perfect Pot-Roast

What's the first thing people cook when they buy a crock-pot?  Pot-roast, of course.  Let's face it, any "Schmo" with a crock-pot can assemble a pot-roast, and it would be edible.  Wouldn't you rather take a few extra minutes of time to include a few crucial steps that would turn an "edible" pot-roast into an "unforgettably tender and juicy" pot-roast?  Of course you would!



You Will Need:
  • 1 Four to five pound Chuck Roast
  • 3 Cups small round fingerling or new potatoes
  • 10 Medium sized whole carrots, peeled and cut into 3" lengths
  • 1 and 1/2 bags frozen pearl onions
  • 1 Bottle of Pinot Noir or Cabernet Sauvignon (Very "Drinkable" but not too expensive)
  • 2 Cups of quality beef broth
  • 6 Whole cloves of garlic, crushed 
 
Disclaimer:  This recipe works for me because I think I have the largest crock-pot the average consumer can possibly get.  You may need to make adjustments, based on the size of your crock. Also, you may notice the plastic bag in this picture.  It's a crock-pot liner (my buddy Bill calls them "Crock-pot Condoms").  Don't knock them 'till you've tried them!  They enable you to clean your crock pot in less than two minutes after the cooking is done!

Haul out your crock pot, add the liner, and dump in enough potatoes to cover the bottom.  Give them a very light coating of salt, and dump in your garlic, and maybe even a small handful of chopped green onions (if you're feeling "sexy").

I'm just heart-broken that I can't find bone-in beef roasts anymore.  Bones are heavy, and they're eliminated in 99% of commercial shipments of beef nowadays, because we need to get that stock price up another penny or so, to satisfy Wall Street investors, right?  

...Sorry, I was back on my soap box again.  Get yourself a 5lb hunk of Chuck roast (or a couple of smaller Chucks that add up to 5) from your local meat dept.  Not a Rump Roast, or a "Top" roast... Get "Chuck!"  It's from the shoulder.  Chuck roast is beautifully marbled with gobs of fat and connective tissue, two necessary ingredients to a flavorful juicy roast (I didn't say it was 'lean,' I said it was 'delicious!').  If it does have a bone in it, the bone will look like a number "7" (cross section of the shoulder blade).  Get the one with the longest "tail" on the 7 (that will be the closest to the neck, and more tender).  Generously salt all sides of the roast.

Meanwhile, get a heavy pan (cast iron is best) and add some olive oil to the bottom and turn the heat to HIGH!  When it's super hot, lay in the roast and listen as it sizzles!  You want to put a nice brown crust on both sides, it should take about 4 minutes per side.  Use some long tongs to flip it over.  
Do not worry if your roast sticks to your pan.  In fact, get excited when your roast sticks to the bottom of your pan!  Why?  "Fond!"  The French call the burnt crusty pieces of "Stuff" that sticks to the pan, "Fond."  We want the fond in our crock pot because there's a ton of alcohol soluble flavors in there so... how do we get alcohol soluble flavors to unlock themselves?  

You want ALL of the juicy brown bits that are stuck to this pan to go into the crock-pot.  It's pure flavor.  How do you get it loose?  By deglazing it of course!  What's the best liquid to use for deglazing?  Say it with me.. "Alcohol!"  Pour about 1/4th of your wine into the pan.  Be careful, it will sizzle, pop, and steam!  Stir it all around and scrape the bottom of the pan with a heavy spoon to break everything loose.  Should it flame up, just put the lid on to snuff out the fire and then keep going... 

Now, pour about 1/2 of the remaining wine into the pot.  Stir and cook it until it reduces a little bit.  When it's ready, pour the entire contents of the pan over the roast.  You may need to arrange the onions around the side so the lid will fit.  Notice now, that you have a healthy glass of wine left in your bottle... This is an excellent time to pour it into the nearest glass and to begin to drink it!  Things are going so well, you've earned it, and you'll need fortification to clean up your kitchen soon so, bottoms up!

Time to talk about carrots.  Do I really need to convince you to use "real" carrots, instead of those waxy carrot-pellet things?  Honestly, fresh carrots are tender, sweet, flavorful, they taste like carrots and they impart some sugars and great flavors to the roast.  Those waxy "Carrot Nuggets" you can buy don't have any real flavor at all.  Avoid them.  You'll thank me...
Peel and cut your carrots and arrange them around the roast.  I like to build a "Carrot Fence" around the roast.  It leaves plenty of room for the onions to go on top!  Once the carrots are in, its time to pour on the broth! 
Don't ruin this roast with weak, canned beef broth.  Use some quality bouillon!  I love this stuff!  It has little bits of actual beef in it, the flavor is hearty, and it doesn't bring too much salt to the party.  Plus, most grocery stores carry it, so it's easy to find... bonus!  Mix up a couple of cups and pour it over your roast, just until the wine/broth juice creeps up to 1/2 inch below the lip of the pot.  

Add a bag and a half of frozen pearl onions, then season them with a bit of salt and pepper.  I like white pepper, and a bit of creole seasoning, but your mileage may vary.  

Turn the crock-pot on "Low" and walk away from it for 8 or 9 (yes, eight or nine) whole hours.  We're talking about 5lbs of beef here, not only do we want to cook it, but we also want to break down and render out the fat and connective tissues so... let the pot work it's magic!  After 9 hours, turn it down to "Warm" and leave it alone for another hour.  This will let it "rest" for a bit. When you're ready to serve it, gently take it out of the crock with a pair of tongs.  Be careful, it will probably fall apart.  Arrange it on a platter, and then arrange your vegetables around the edge.  Slice the roast coarsely across the grain so that people can serve themselves a portion (or two) using the tongs.  Pour a few ladles of au-jus over the top, and carry it to the table!

Notice that there is no recipe for gravy, here.  If you did this correctly, your roast will be wonderfully tender and very VERY moist!  There should be no need for gravy.  After all, a roast should taste like, well, "Roast!"  It shouldn't taste like gravy...