1/4 cup dried mushrooms
3-lb beef chuck roast
1/2 cup all-purpose unbleached flour
3 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup dry red wine
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 cup beef broth (low-sodium canned or homemade)
1 medium onion, peeled and quartered
2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
1 bay leaf
1-1/2 tsp dried thyme
12 black peppercorns
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp fresh black pepper
1 Tbsp grainy Dijon mustard (or use non-grainy Dijon)
2 Tbsp arrowroot
Place the dried mushrooms in a glass measuring cup, and fill with water to the 1 cup mark. Microwave on high for 2 minutes. Set aside.
Trim the roast to remove the largest pieces of fat. You'll end up with several big chunks of meat.
In a large mixing bowl, dredge the pieces of meat in the flour. Heat the oil in a nonstick frying pan, and brown the pieces of meat on all sides, being careful not to crowd the pan. As each piece is browned, place it in the slow cooker.
When all of the meat is browned, deglaze the pan by pouring in the red wine. With a rubber spatula, scrape up all of the bits of meat that have stuck to the pan. When the wine is reduced by half, pour it into the slow cooker.
Add to the meat the Worcestershire, beef broth, onion, garlic, bay leaf, thyme, peppercorns and salt. Carefully pour the mushroom soaking water into the slow cooker; be sure not to add the sediment that has accumulated. Finely chop the soaked mushrooms and set aside (don't add them to cooker).
Cook, covered, on LOW for 5 hours, or until the meat is quite tender. With tongs, remove the meat and onions, and set on a platter.
Pour off the liquid into a small saucepan, and place on the stovetop. Bring to a boil. Whisk in the mustard. Mix the arrowroot with 1/4 cup water, and add that to the saucepan along with the chopped mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper to taste. When the gravy is thickened just as you like it, pour it over the beef.
Serve hot, with roasted carrots and potatoes. Or, allow the pot roast to cool completely, and refrigerate or freeze. As with many slow cooked dishes, this one tastes even better on the second day.