Braised Pot Roast: Slow Cooking the French Way

Early last month — it might have been the cooler weather or the fact that I hadn’t eaten red meat in a couple weeks, or it might have been since I already had a couple grass-fed chuck roasts in my freezer, purchased from a local farm — I got a fierce craving for pot roast.

An image of marinated lean meat.

Now if you’re anything like me, you’ve probably made pot roasts before. My versions were usually in a crock pot and surrounded by carrots and potatoes.

Pot roast is one of those classic American dishes — like mashed potatoes and apple pie — that we have all had and made and probably prefer a certain way. As for me, I like my pot roasts very tender, flavorful and fragrant enough to turn the kitchen into a different place while cooking.

An image of a white bowl with lean beef marinating in it.

It’s kind of like my morning routine: where you might wake at a set time, have breakfast, read the paper and get in the car, I like to read and pray in bed before pulling out my laptop, still without having taken a shower, and get a few work things done. So early last month, when I tested a new pot roast recipe, the combination of several ideas I’d seen online, and it turned out the be the most moist, tender, dark and wonderfully smelling piece of meat I’d ever had, you’ll understand when I say it became my morning routine of pot roasts.

Since then, I’ve made it four more times. Really.

So you know how it is the first time you try something: you’re a little unsure how it will go, so you’re checking the meat every hour, changing temperatures when you think it might help, adding ingredients partway through. Well in this case, all those changes worked so well, that I decided I would always do things that way every time after.

A plate of delicious pot roast and a salad at the side.

This includes flipping the meat and adding mushrooms after an hour, raising the temperature an hour after that, then lowering it again. If you’re less paranoid, you could probably do some other combination of 225 and 325 degrees for a total of 3-4 hours — just keep your eye on it every now and then — but I’m sticking with my routine.

The only other note I’d add is on the grass-fed meat: I know some of you will wince at the higher price tag and just use regular chuck roast, and that’s fine. But I will say that my mom tried that with her own version after tasting mine, and it wasn’t the same.

A close up image of soft juicy pot roast on a white plate.

Grass-fed meat is noticeably more tender, not to mention higher in Omega 3 fatty acids, and, while we’re on the subject, have you seen Food, Inc., yet? It will change your perspective on meat forever.

French Braised Pot Roast

Serves two to four, depending on what else you’re eating.

Another trick I learned from my mom: if you make the pot roast the day before you want to serve it to company, sticking it in the fridge after it’s cooked, all the fat will rise to the top in the pan. Stick on a pair of gloves and it’s so easy to remove all the separated fat, as well as cut whatever fat is on the meat off.

2 pounds (approximately) grass-fed chuck roast
Salt and Pepper
Olive Oil
2 stalks of celery, chopped
A couple cloves of garlic
1.5 onions, diced
Dashes of rosemary and thyme
1/2 cup of red wine (I especially like Syrah from Trader Joe’s)
A handful (like 6-8) button mushrooms, chopped

Preheat oven to 225 degrees F. Liberally salt and pepper meat.

Heat some olive oil (a couple teaspoons, enough to spread around the bottom of pan) in a dutch oven or some other oven-safe pot with a cover, and put the seasoned roast inside, searing each side well. You really want to let each side get good and browned.

Once the meat is fully browned, put the chopped celery, onion, and garlic underneath it. Add dashes of rosemary and thyme.

Pour 1/2 cup red wine on top. Cover and place in oven for an hour.

AFTER AN HOUR: Flip roast over, add chopped mushrooms. Cook another hour.
AFTER TWO HOURS: Raise temp to 325 degrees F for an hour.
AFTER THREE HOURS: If meat seems tender enough, you’re done. Otherwise, you can reduce temp to 225 again and give it another hour (I usually do this).

About Shanna Mallon

Shanna Mallon is a freelance writer who holds an MA in writing from DePaul University. Her work has been featured in a variety of media outlets, including The Kitchn, Better Homes & Gardens, Taste of Home,, Foodista, Entrepreneur, and Ragan PR. In 2014, she co-authored The Einkorn Cookbook with her husband, Tim. Today, you can find her digging into food topics and celebrating the everyday grace of eating on her blog, Go Eat Your Bread with Joy. Shanna lives in Nashville, Tennessee, with Tim and their two small kids.

34 thoughts on “Braised Pot Roast: Slow Cooking the French Way”

  1. what a perfect perfect PERFECT dish to make now that the weather is so bitterly cold out.
    and can i say how impressed i am that you’re partaking in mushroom consuming? i remember the time when you hadn’t ever had it before…

  2. I’ve never made pot roast. Man, I’ve been saying “never made” about a lot of things lately. This needs to change! I was just talking to a friend today about my fear of large cuts of meat. This winter may be the time to tackle and conquer. Your pot roast looks delicious and so perfect right now! My stomach is grumbling.

  3. Does anyone have anyone have any good ideas on a source for finding local, grass-fed beef? After seeing Food, Inc. myself, I am trying to find “the right stuff.”

  4. Lan, Aw, thanks! And oh my word, I know about the mushroom thing! Would you believe my FAVORITE pizza toppings are now green peppers, onions and mushrooms? It’s like I’m a new person.

    Jacqui, Ha, I so get the fear–when you first pull a large slab of meat out of the paper, it’s like, oh gosh. BUT it’s so worth it in the end. And I have total confidence that, just like you conquered cookies!, you will conquer meat-making too. Can’t wait to hear about it!

    Sara, I honestly think Whole Foods provides some of the best quality grass-fed meat–fairly priced and always available too–but it’s also helpful to search around online for farmers’ markets (in summer) and/or other suppliers in your area. Once you’re on the lookout, you’ll see it’s more common than you think–I’ve seen it at another store around here called Fruitful Yield.

    Nicole, Yay! Hope you enjoy!

  5. I agree about “Food, Inc” – since watching that movie (and reading “The Omnivore’s Dilemma,”) I’ve made a conscious effort to purchase my meat at my local farmers’ market or through my buying club that sources local farms and producers whenever possible. I often think that these more expensive food purchases now will benefit my wallet later in reduced health care costs. Thanks for posting this recipe – will have to try it out soon 🙂

  6. YUM. minus the mushrooms. I totally agree on grass-fed beef. I am anxiously awaiting ours – “my” Amish farmer has connections!

  7. I’ve never had a good pot roast, which is sad b/c it is such a staple in American cuisine. I’m thinking maybe it’s time to make my own!

  8. Kasia, Thanks!

    Lisa, I LOVE what you said about reduced health care later. That is so key in looking at the higher price tags now–it’s an investment in future health. Yes.

    Jenny, Jealous! : )

    Tim, Thank you!

    Jessica, The biggest difference is that it’s more tender. But the health benefits difference? HUGE. Check out Food, Inc., or the article from Mercola referenced above. It’s amazing.

    Niki, Yay! Do it!

  9. This post honestly makes me want to drive out to a farm tomorrow and procure some grass-fed beef myself. Actually, Joel Salatin (that awesome Virginian farmer featured in Food Inc.) is just a couple hours away from where I’m living now; I’m really psyched to make a trip out there sometime soon and see how amazing his food tastes!

  10. What a beautiful blog, I’m sorry that I’ve missed it until now. We happen to have a pot roast in the freezer so Sunday dinner will be my test driving your recipe. As for grass-fed beef being better, it depends on the specific farm, breed, etc., but on balance I also find it to have more flavor than commodity beef.

    BTW, if you’re willing to share, I’d love to know the name of the farm/ranch/butcher you use as I’m often asked if I know where the good stuff is 🙂

  11. I love pot roast too and make a skinny Italian flavored one. What a wonderful and healthy idea to use grass feed beef. Thanks for sharing …

  12. Wow, thanks for all the flippin and temperature changing tips. I didn’t know that grass-fed ones will come out more tender. And, mushrooms are heaven to me!!!! Thanks as always Shan. 🙂

  13. What a lovely pot roast for the holidays! I need to start buying more grass fed beef. The flavour is just unparalleled. Happy holidays!

  14. Leslie, Oh, I hope you do!

    Maddie, Whaaat? That is crazy! I’m jealous!

    Carrie, I hope Sunday’s dinner was a hit! And btw I got my beef from the same people I buy my milk from, found through They rarely have it, so I was excited! Usually it’s just Whole Foods.

    Nancy, You’re welcome!

    Dana, It is! : )

    Retro, You’re welcome!

    LimeCake, I agree. Happy holidays to you too!

  15. I will never be the same after Food, Inc. I’m so glad I came across this post today because my mom makes a good roast and I have recently been thinking about wanting to follow in her foot steps.

  16. This is a wonderful recipe! I’ve included it, fully credited, within the Pocatello Co-op’s monthly newsletter. Hopefully your website will receive a modest viewer boost as a result. Your writing is lovely and your pictures are beautiful. Thank You!

  17. 1/2 cup liquid doesn’t seem a lot for a 2lb joint of beef. Surely it will have evaporated within the first couple of hours?

  18. Sara.
    If you go to and type in your zip code, you will find local farms in your area
    that sell meats, vegetables, fruits, etc. You’ll be surprised to find all the farms near you.


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.