Skip to content

Really Good Beef Pot Roast


A long time ago in a different life, I was in high school and had a garage band with two of my best friends. Drums, bass and me on guitar trying to imitate our favorite power trio rock bands. We practiced in a big ole’ barn out behind the drummer’s parents’ house. We were loud and, thank goodness, back in those days the neighbors pretty much ignored our raucous behavior. Although we met with little success, it did lead to my greater success as a musician in later years. Many times on those evenings we were invited to dinner by the drummer’s gracious mother. She employed a housekeeper, a skilled cook who made some terrific yet simple meals. My favorites were braised beef short ribs or pot roast. Simple, as I remember, yet so flavorful. Over the years I’ve tried to recreate these dishes to no avail. There was some onion and a bay leaf, maybe a little rosemary and stock, no wine or tomato. That was about it. I think she had terrific technique and a deft sense of seasoning. I was an always hungry teenager with a fairly keen sense of taste.

So, I will not try to replicate these beef braises here but offer my own more expansive recipe that involves a few more ingredients. Still a simple dish that relies heavily on time in the pot at a low heat. Low and slow, as they say.



  • 2 1/2 to 3 pound boneless beef chuck roast

  • 2 cups diced onion

  • 1 cup peeled and diced carrot

  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed and chopped

  • 2 celery stalks, trimmed and cut in half

  • 2 cups beef stock

  • 1 cup red wine such as Cabernet or Merlot. Nothing fancy, but something that you would drink

  • 3 bay leaves

  • 1 teaspoon dry rosemary leaves, crushed in a mortar and pestle

  • 1/2 teaspoon dry thyme

  • kosher salt and black pepper to rub the meat

  • 2 tablespoons neutral oil


  • tie the roast with butcher twine so that it is easier to maneuver after it has cooked

  • heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat

  • rub the roast generously with salt and black pepper

  • add the oil to the pot and then brown the meat on all sides, remove the meat from the pot

  • add the diced vegetables and celery stalks to the pot and cook for a few minutes until the onion begins to take on some color

  • add in the garlic and the seasonings and give it a stir for a minute to wake up the herbs

  • pour in the stock and wine and the roast, turning to coat

  • bring it all to a soft boil, put the cover on the pot and place it in a preheated 300 degree F oven and set the timer for 2 1/2 hours

  • remove the beef from the pot and keep warm

  • fish the celery stalks and the bay leaves out of the pot and discard

  • purée the sauce in the pot with an immersion blender, or put the sauce in a blender, being careful when blending because hot liquid can blow out of the top

  • test for seasoning, and if a slightly thicker sauce is desired, put the pot back on the stovetop and introduce a little cornstarch diluted with some water or a little wine

For Service:

  • place the pot roast on a serving platter, remove the string if using

  • surround the beef with the sauce or serve it on the side.

  • this will pair well with mashed potatoes, egg noodles, polenta, or my favorite, boiled fingerling potatoes with butter and chopped parsley

It always interesting how food memories stick with me for so many years. Damned if I can remember the housekeeper’s name but I remember this wonderfully talented cook. I think you’ll enjoy my version of a really good beef pot roast as well.