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Early last month, I got a fierce craving for pot roast.
It might have been the rainy and cool weather, or the fact that I hadn’t eaten red meat in a couple of weeks. Or it might have been since I already had a couple of grass-fed chuck roasts in my freezer, purchased from a local farm, just begging to be turned into something delicious.
Now, if you’re anything like me, you’ve probably made pot roast before, or attempted to make prime rib one year for Christmas. My go-to version is usually made in a Crock-Pot and surrounded by carrots and potatoes, or cranberries in the fall and winter.
Or at least, it was. That’s how I used to make it, time after time.
As for me, I like my pot roast to be very tender, flavorful, and fragrant enough to make it feel as if my kitchen has been transformed into a different place while I’m cooking.
Maybe that place used to be Mom’s kitchen, or my grandmother’s dining room. I still have a soft spot for those places.
But with this dish, I imagine traveling to Provence, the French countryside, with endless fields of lavender out my window and rolling hills of green… savoring every forkful of delicious slow-cooked meals, enjoyed over long afternoons and evenings filled with conversation and endless glasses of wine.
That ease that we feel with a go-to dish, I think it’s kind of similar to what happens with our morning routines. While you might wake up at a set time, have breakfast, and read the paper, I like to read in bed before pulling out my laptop, even before I take a shower, and get a few work things done. I do this just about every day.
Revisiting these morning routines day after day reproduces a pattern that feels normal, certain behaviors that bring comfort and a sense of order, providing the fuel you need to get your day going.
But sometimes you need something a little different. And when you find it, that can rapidly become your new normal.
Early last month, I was testing a new pot roast recipe, which eventually became the recipe I’m sharing with you today.
It came to me as a combination of elements of several recipes I’d seen online, a mixture of new ideas and old, from simple pot roasts cooked with carrots, potatoes, and onions to deep and robust red wine braised beef recipes. And it turned out to be one of the most moist, tender, mahogany brown from the chuck and juicy tomatoes, and wonderfully fragrant pieces of beef I’d ever had.
It was comforting, delicious, something I craved, and something that, before I knew it, took on the feeling of a new normal, an old friend, a standby.
Maybe you’ll understand what I mean when I say it quickly 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 of how it will go.
You’re checking the beef every hour, adjusting the temperature when you think it might help, and adding ingredients partway through.
In this case, all those changes worked so well, and I was so happy with the results of my tinkering, I decided I would always do things that way from then on, every time thereafter.
This includes flipping the meat and adding mushrooms after an hour of cooking, raising the temperature an hour after that, then lowering it again. Maybe that sounds like a lot. It is a bit of a time commitment, but it’s better for this cut of meat to not rush the process.
And the results are so worth it in the end.
If you’re less paranoid than I admit I am, you could probably do some other combination of 225 and 325˚F for a total of 3-4 hours – just keep your eye on the oven, and be sure to check in every now and then.
It may feel indulgent, but I’m sticking with my routine. Trust me when I say that it is tried and true, and it may be quirky, but it works.
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 just wasn’t the same.
Grass-fed meat is noticeably more tender, not to mention that it’s higher in healthy omega-3 fatty acids. And at least where I get mine, animal rights and environmental friendliness are on the table too.
It’s not exactly a new documentary at this point (it was released in 2009), but while we’re on the subject, have you seen Food, Inc. yet? It will change your perspective on meat forever.
Food, Inc., available on Amazon
Another trick I learned from my mom: if you make a pot roast the day before you want to serve it, if you stick it in the fridge after it’s cooked, all the fat will rise to the top of the pan.
Throw on a pair of disposable gloves and it’s so easy to remove all the separated fat, or even cut away whatever fat is on the meat before reheating it, if you like.
If you’re not concerned about cutting some of the fat out of the finished dish, no worries. Reheat and stir, and you’ll find that everything’s blended together nicely again.Print
Embrace the French countryside lifestyle and slow cook a decadent braised pot roast, the perfect comfort food for a cozy night at home.
- 1 grass-fed chuck roast (about 2 pounds)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 2 stalks celery, chopped (about 3/4 cup)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 1/2 medium white onions, diced (about 1 1/2 cups)
- 6–8 button mushrooms, stems removed, chopped (about 1 cup)
- 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary (or 1 teaspoon chopped fresh)
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme (or 1 teaspoon chopped fresh)
- 1 24-ounce can whole tomatoes, roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup red wine
- Preheat oven to 225˚F. Pat meat dry with paper towels. Season meat on all sides with salt and pepper.
- Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven or some other oven-safe pot with a cover. Once hot, add seasoned roast and sear each side well, until browned, about 4-5 minutes per side. Once the meat is fully browned, transfer it from the pan to a platter.
- Add chopped celery, onion, mushrooms, garlic, rosemary, and thyme to the pan. Place roast on top of the vegetables.
- Pour 1/2 cup red wine and tomatoes on top. Cover and roast in the oven for 1 hour.
- Flip roast over. Replace the lid and continue to roast for 1 hour.
- Raise oven temperature to 325˚F. Continue to roast, for 1 hour.
- If meat is tender and falling apart after three hours in the oven, it’s done. The internal temperature should read 160˚F on a meat thermometer. Otherwise, you can reduce the oven temperature to 225˚F and give it another hour or so, checking with the thermometer for doneness every 20 minutes or so.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 3 hours
- Category: Beef
- Method: Braising
- Cuisine: Main Course
Keywords: beef, chuck roast, braising, French, red wine
Cooking By the Numbers…
Step 1 – Chop Vegetables, Mince Garlic, And Measure Remaining Ingredients
Remove the strings and chop 2 stalks of celery. You should have about 3/4 cup total.
Peel and dice 1 1/2 medium white onions. You should end up with 1 1/2 cups total, and absolutely no tears!
Scrub the mushrooms gently. Remove the stems and discard them. Chop the mushrooms. You should end up with 1 cup total.
Peel and mince 2 cloves of garlic.
If you are using fresh herbs, remove the stems and chop enough as listed on the ingredients list.
Measure out all of the remaining ingredients.
For the red wine, I recommend a Syrah or Cabernet Sauvignon. And since you only need 1/2 cup for this recipe, the rest of that bottle should serve you well while the roast is doing its thing in the oven.
Preheat your oven to 225˚F, and rearrange the racks if you need to, so the pan will fit in the middle of the oven with the lid on top.
Step 2 – Sear Meat
Pat the meat dry on all sides with paper towels. Season the meat all over with salt and pepper.
Add the oil to a large Dutch oven. I used a 6-quart Dutch oven to make this, but you can use one that holds 5 to 7 quarts for this recipe.
Place it on the stove over medium-high heat.
Once it’s hot, add the seasoned meat and sear it on each side until browned. This will take about 4 to 5 minutes per side.
Once the meat is browned, remove it from the Dutch oven and transfer it to a serving platter or plate.
Step 3 – Roast
Add the celery, onion, mushrooms, garlic, rosemary, and thyme to the bottom of the pan. Place the browned roast back in the pan, on top of the vegetables. Pour the red wine and canned tomatoes on top.
Cover and place in the oven. Roast for one hour.
Step 4 – Flip and Continue Roasting
Remove from the oven, remove the lid, and flip the roast over. Replace the lid, and return to the oven for one hour.
Raise the oven temperature to 325˚F. Roast for one more hour.
Step 5 – Check and Finish
Check the roast to see if it is cooked through. The meat should be tender and it should fall apart easily. A meat thermometer should register 160˚F when inserted in the center.
If the roast is not finished, reduce the oven temperature to 225˚F. Cook for another hour, checking every 20 minutes, until done. This is usually something I have to do, and it can take up to an hour depending on your oven.
Remove from the oven and allow the meat to rest for about 10 minutes. You can transfer it to a cutting board if you like, and place the vegetables and sauce in a serving dish, or keep them in the pot for serving.
I like to cut up the meat and return it to the sauce, and serve portions of vegetables, pot roast, and sauce from the same serving dish, or straight out of the Dutch oven that I used to cook everything in.
How Can I Use Up the Leftovers?
The magic about a large braised pot roast is that the leftovers are always absolutely tasty. You can simply reheat them and serve them over mashed potatoes, but there are plenty of other fun ways to use up that slow braised meat.
You can also use the leftover to make this super savory, super comforting pot roast mushroom soup!
It’s such a yummy way to devour the leftovers, and this has become my new favorite leftover obsession (another pleasantly comforting routine).
For more meaty main dishes to inspire you, here are some comfort food favorites from Foodal:
- Greek Moussaka (Beef and Potato Casserole)
- Pepperoni Pizza Lasagna
- Hearty Chicken and Mushroom Fricassee
What’s your favorite side dish to serve with pot roast? Tell us in the comments below, and be sure to come back to rate the recipe after you make it at home.
Photos by Meghan Yager, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published on December 16, 2010. Last updated on November 8, 2020. With additional writing and editing by Meghan Yager and Allison Sidhu.
Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.
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, Houzz.com, 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.