How To Make a Pot Roast

  • 01 of 13

    Choose Beef Chuck

    Choose Beef Chuck. Image © Gene Gerrard

    Chuck is an inexpensive cut of beef that is especially well-suited for making pot roast. Chuck is marbled with collagen (also known as connective tissue), which melts during the slow, moist cooking process, called braising. The meat becomes fork tender and exceptionally juicy.

    Look for a 3- to 4-pound piece of chuck that has white veins of hard fat running through the meat. Don't worry, it will all melt away as it cooks.

    Here's everything else you'll need:

    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 2 large yellow onions, sliced
    • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
    • 2 cups red wine
    • 2 carrots
    • 2 celery ribs
    • 4 garlic cloves
    • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
    • 2 bay leaves
    • 4 cups beef broth
    • Kosher salt and ground pepper
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  • 02 of 13

    Tie and Season the Roast

    Tie and Season the Roast. Image © Gene Gerrard

    Pat the chuck roast dry with paper towels. Use about 2 feet of butcher's twine to tie up the meat. You don't need to get fancy in tying it up. Just try to keep the roast in a uniform shape.

    Season the roast on all sides with Kosher salt and ground pepper. Kosher salt, as you see in the photo, sticks really well to the meat, and when you brown the roast (in step 4), the Kosher salt will form a nice crust.

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  • 03 of 13

    Cut Up the Vegetables

    Cut Up the Vegetables. Image © Gene Gerrard

    Slice the onions in half, then cut the halves into thin slices.

    Cut the carrots into ½-inch rounds, and cut the celery into ½-inch pieces. Roughly chop up the garlic.

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  • 04 of 13

    Brown the Roast

    Brown the Roast. Image © Gene Gerrard

    Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a heavy-bottom pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat.

    When the oil shimmers, put the roast into the pot, and brown one side. Using tongs, check to see its color. It should be a dark golden brown. (The deeper the color, the more flavor the meat will have.)

    Turn the roast over, and brown all four sides, about 15 minutes in total. Remove the roast from the pot, and set aside on a plate large enough to hold it.

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  • 05 of 13

    Add the Sliced Onion

    Add the Sliced Onions. Image © Gene Gerrard

    Lower the heat to medium, and add the sliced onion to the pot. Sauté, turning the onions frequently with tongs, until they turn a deep golden brown, about 10 to 12 minutes.

    What you're doing in this step is building the flavors for the pot roast. As you did with the meat, let the onions cook long enough so they have a rich color.

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  • 06 of 13

    Stir in the Tomato Paste

    Stir in the Tomato Paste. Image © Gene Gerrard

    Stir in 1 tablespoon of tomato paste. Combine the tomato paste with the onions, and cook for 5 minutes. You're actually browning the tomato paste at this point, which will be adding another level to the flavors.

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  • 07 of 13

    Pour in Red Wine

    Pour in Red Wine. Image © Gene Gerrard

    Deglaze the onion mixture by pouring in 2 cups of red wine, all the while stirring as you pour with a wooden spoon or flexible spatula. Scrape up any of the onions that might be sticking to the bottom of the pot.

    Simmer for 10 minutes.

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  • 08 of 13

    Ready to Braise

    Ready to Braise. Image © Gene Gerrard

    Pre-heat oven to 350°.

    Return the roast to the pot, and scatter the carrot, celery and garlic around the meat. Pour 4 cups of beef broth into the pot, so the roast is almost submerged. Add the 2 sprigs of fresh thyme and 2 bay leaves. Bring the liquid to a low boil, and cover tightly.

    Put the pot into the oven, and braise for 2-1/2 hours. Turn the roast every 40 minutes, basting the top with gravy.

    Remove the pot from the oven, and take off the lid. Allow the roast to cool in the cooking liquid.

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  • 09 of 13

    Refrigerate the Roast

    Wrap the Roast. Image © Gene Gerrard

    At this point, you could definitely serve the pot roast when it is done braising, but the meat is easier to slice after it's been chilled, and refrigerating the gravy improves the flavor.

    Transfer the roast to a large piece of aluminum foil. Using a slotted spoon, scoop up the cooked vegetables, and spread them over the top of the roast. Cover the roast with the foil.

    Pour the gravy into a 4-cup glass measuring cup or other storage container. Cover the measuring cup, and refrigerate the roast and gravy overnight.

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  • 10 of 13

    Skim Off the Fat

    Skim Off the Fat. Image © Gene Gerrard

    The next day, unwrap the measuring cup, and you'll see a layer of fat has risen to the top of the gravy. Use a spoon to skim off the fat, and discard.

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  • 11 of 13

    Puree the Vegetables

    Purée the Vegetables. Image © Gene Gerrard

    Scrape the vegetables off the top of the roast, and put them into the bowl of a food processor. Add a couple of spoonfuls of the gravy, and purée the vegetables. If necessary, add more gravy to the vegetables. You want the purée to be smooth without any little bits.

    Transfer the purée and the remaining gravy to the pot, and bring to a simmer over low heat.

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  • 12 of 13

    Slice the Roast

    Slice the Roast. Image © Gene Gerrard

    Gently wipe any residue gravy off the roast. You'll see the grain of the meat fibers running in one direction. Turn the roast, so the blade of your knife runs against the grain.

    Carve the roast into thin slices, or a littler thicker, if you prefer. Put the sliced roast into the gravy, and simmer for 20 minutes.

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  • 13 of 13

    Ladle on the Gravy

    Ladle on the Gravy. Image © Gene Gerrard

    When the pot roast is heated through, arrange the slices on a warmed platter or plates, and ladle the gravy over the juicy meat. Sprinkle with chopped parsley.

    Now comes the best part: Enjoy!