Ingredients (in order of appearance):
1 quite large sweet yellow onion (those huuuuge Walla Walla sweets are THE BEST, and they are in season!)
1 or 2 cloves of garlic*
2 bay leaves
1 cinnamon stick
2 to 3 lb roast (chuck or sirloin)
1 15 oz can cranberry jelly (preferrably the kind with whole berries, but really, any kind will do)**
A cup or two of peeled baby carrots (you can peel and chop regular carrots if you like, but this is so much easier)
A few handfuls of small gold potatoes
Salt, pepper to taste
About a quarter cup of flour, depending
* Omitted due to allergies among the anticipated guests. You know, to this day I have never made a crockpot meal with garlic! I need to do this sometime. ;_;
** Canned works quite acceptably and is cheap and convenient, but if you want to make your own cranberry chutney, more power to you. I would've if I'd had more time.
Begin by preparing your crockpot. Turn it to high and lavishly butter the bottom and sides. Finely mince the garlic, coarsely chop the onion, and add to the pot. Add the bay leaves and cinnamon stick, and stir it all to coat with the butter. Let it sit for a couple minutes to heat up while you get the roast out of the fridge and prepare the cranberry sauce: open the can, dump the contents into a bowl, and mush it around with a spoon until it's mushy. Put the roast in the pot (fat-side up if there is a fatty side - the fat on mine was pretty evenly distributed), and spoon the cranberry sauce onto the roast.
Leave the pot on high for about an hour. You may take this time to cut the potatoes into whatever size chunks you want, sort your pantry, check your e-mail, whatever.
Once the hour has passed, dump the carrots and potatoes into the pot, switch it to low, and leave it be for six to eight hours. You can stir it a bit every now and again if you want as long as you don't do it too often, or you can go about your day and ignore it completely. Anyway, once you hit the six-hour mark, poke the roast with a fork every now and again. When it's nice and tender and flakes into delicious, mouthwatering meaty pieces under the tines, it is done!
Season to taste with salt and pepper, and then use slotted spoons to lift the veggies and meat into a big serving bowl. Strain the juices, return to the pot, switch to high, and whisk in enough flour to make whatever consistency of gravy you like (give it a few minutes to thicken up, whisking the whole time). Transfer the gravy into a gravy boat or whatever, turn off the pot, serve it all with warm, fresh-baked bread. Stand back and graciously accept the muffled praises of your guests as they stuff their faces.
Okay, the cranberry sauce began as one of those "I wonder what'd happen if..." and turned out FUCKING DELICIOUS. The meat was juicy and moist, and the gravy was deliciously fruity and tangy and unbelievable. And I never cook beef anymore without involving cinnamon somehow; it adds something, I don't know what, but it's fantastic.
I'm sure you could add or substitute other vegetables, too.