A post on Everyday Paleo inspired the spice rub for this recipe. Serves 6.
For the spice rub:
1 heaping Tbsp instant espresso
1/2 tsp smoked paprika (pimentón), sweet or bittersweet
1 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 Tbsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp dried oregano
1 Tbsp ground cumin
1-1/2 tsp sea salt
3-1/2 lb chuck roast, trimmed of all visible fat (yield: 2-3/4 lb, approximately)
1 Tbsp canola or vegetable oil
1 large onion, peeled and quartered
2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
1/2 cup brewed decaffeinated coffee
3 Tbsp tomato paste
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
Fresh black pepper (optional)
1-2 tsp agave nectar (optional, but recommended)
Combine all ingredients for the spice rub in a small bowl, and mix well. Place the trimmed meat in a large mixing bowl, and rub on all sides with the spices. Shake off excess.
In a 4- or 5-quart slow cooker, place the onion and smashed garlic.
Heat a deep sided, nonstick frying pan over high heat. Pour in the oil, then add the chunks of meat and brown thoroughly on all sides. Add the meat to the slow cooker.
Pour the brewed coffee into the frying pan (be careful -- splattering will occur!), along with the tomato paste and balsamic vinegar. Reduce heat to low, and continue to boil the liquid for 2 minutes, scraping to loosen the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. When the liquid has reduced by one third, pour it into the slow cooker.
Cook on LOW for 7 hours, until the meat is falling-apart tender. Remove the meat from the slow cooker.
Pour off the liquid through a fat separator, or allow it to sit at room temperature for 20 minutes in a measuring cup. Skim off any fat, and taste the sauce. If you wish, adjust the seasoning with salt, pepper and agave nectar, and pour over the pot roast. If you want thicker sauce, boil it down in a small saucepan before reuniting the liquid with the meat.
Serve hot, over noodles or rice or potatoes. Like all stews, it's better the second day.
*NOTE: To cook stove top or in the oven, place the browned meat and other ingredients in a heavy Dutch oven; cook for 3-1/2 to 4 hours on lowest heat.