A simple pot roast with no specialty ingredients. The beef is seared and then slow-braised in the oven until it's falling apart. Plus carrots and potatoes and a silky sauce that's deeply flavorful and bright - This is true comfort food!
And bonus recipe/method for my favorite thing to do with pot roast leftovers. It's so good, I would make pot roast just to be able to have the leftovers!
So, I have this balsamic + Dijon pot roast that has been a hit in years past, but I wanted something that was simple and easy and required no special ingredients.
(There is a version of past Mandy that would balk at the idea of Dijon being just a little too much work for our regular pot roast, but this is the life I lead!)
We did somewhat of a pantry challenge in January, and this recipe is the result of that. I used the last of the sad carrots in our fridge and a few potatoes that probably should've been used the month prior - it was the end of the month and we were running on fumes.
But what resulted was what is now my favorite pot roast. We've never really been a pot roast family but I think this recipe might change that. I now make it weekly and it feels RIGHT.
This is a recipe where the techniques build upon one another to give a result that is truly greater than the sum of its parts. It doesn't need a laundry list of ingredients to jazz it up - its simplicity lets each ingredient shine for itself.
You probably can make it even if you haven't been grocery shopping in a while!
Only a handful of ingredients are needed to make this pot roast, and most of them are fairly flexible - you can use different amounts of veggies as you see fit, or sub them out for others depending on what you have in your fridge/pantry and what you like!
- Chuck roast - The standard cut for a pot roast. It's the perfect midpoint between being economical while still having plenty of marbling and fat for flavor.
- Salt + pepper - You'll want to use kosher salt here. Freshly ground pepper is good but pre-ground will get you just as far.
- Flour - Don't skip this! Coating the chuck roast in flour before browning will give it an extra deep brown, will lock in moisture, and will help to thicken the liquid during its long cook.
- Onion + garlic - these go in the pot after the beef is browned and help to build flavor in the final product. They will all but disintegrate by the time the roast is cooked, but you'd miss them if they weren't there!
- Beef broth - This is the main liquid used for braising here. I use Better than Bouillon - its compact size and long shelf life make up for the fact that it requires the extra step of mixing!
- A can of tomato sauce - One little 8 ounce can does amazing things in this recipe. It adds the perfect amount of acidity AND umami, meaning your pot roast will be deeply comforting and flavorful without being overly heavy.
- Carrots + potatoes - The classic veggies for pot roast. The amounts here are very flexible! Feel free to change them out as you see fit. I add these in an hour into cooking so they're not overdone by the time the roast is done. Mushy carrots and potatoes have no place here!
What makes this so good
(AKA, steps you should not skip!)
- Searing the beef with flour - You'll pat the roast dry and coat it in a flour/salt/pepper mixture before browning. This will help it to get a deep brown, seal in moisture as the beef cooks, and will work to thicken the braising liquid. It's a pretty essential building block to this recipe and very worth the extra step!
- Beef that falls apart - Ever had pot roast with tough beef? It is not good! The key to getting a perfectly cooked pot roast is time. I've tried making a formula that corresponds to the exact weight of the roast, I've tried temping it, and I've come to the conclusion that it totally depends on your specific chuck roast. Start checking it a couple hours in. You'll know it's done when there is ZERO resistance to a fork. Like, you shouldn't be able to pick it up because it will fall apart.
- Adding the veggies later - If you add everything at once, your carrots and potatoes will be overcooked by the time the beef is ready. Add the veggies an hour or so into braising. You'll get all the flavor benefits of cooking them with the pot roast, and they'll be just right by the time the beef is fall-apart tender.
From a kitchen workflow standpoint, it's nice to have an extra hour to get the veggies prepped while cooking is underway - If you're having to prep everything before cooking can start, it can feel like a mad rush. This helps it to run more smoothly without making dinner super late!
Here is what I do with pot roast leftovers and it is so good, I would make pot roast just to be able to do this with it!
Combine leftovers with caramelized onions and homemade egg noodles, and some more beef broth because you will need extra liquid.
It's like an ultra-comforting noodle dish that (bonus!) will probably leave you with more leftovers than you started with.
Exact amounts will vary, but I will walk you through the method!
Start by caramelizing an onion. For detailed instructions on how to do that, see this post.
While those are cooking, whip up some homemade egg noodles. (I usually do 2/3 the recipe as written.) Before draining the noodles, reserve 1 cup of cooking liquid.
Once the caramelized onions are done, add in a teaspoon of Better than Bouillon and the reserved cooking liquid, and whisk until combined. Add the leftover pot roast and heat through. Then stir in the egg noodles. Cook for a few minutes to thicken the sauce and let the noodles soak up some of the liquid.
It is ridiculously good!
The Best Pot Roast
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground pepper
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 (3-4 pound) chuck roast
- 1 large yellow onion, sliced
- 3 garlic cloves, sliced
- 2 cups beef broth (or Better than Bouillon)
- 1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
- 5 large carrots, peeled + cut into 1 1/2-inch spears
- 3 large red potatoes, peeled + cut into 1-inch wedges
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Combine the flour, salt, and pepper in a small bowl.Heat the vegetable oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Pat the roast dry with paper towels and cover completely in the flour mixture. You likely won't use it all - that is okay! Sear the beef on all sides until deeply browned - about 2-3 minutes per side. Remove to a plate. Reduce heat to low and add the onions and garlic to the Dutch oven. Cook 1-2 minutes, stirring frequently, until onions begin to soften. Add the broth a splash at a time, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Stir in the tomato sauce. Return the roast to the pan along with any juices. Bring liquid to a soft boil over medium heat, then cover and transfer to oven for 1 hour.Add the carrot and potato to the Dutch oven, carefully lifting the roast so it's positioned on top. Cover and continue cooking for 1 1/2 - 2 hours more. Start checking the beef at the 1 1/2 hour mark. You want it to be falling apart. Keep cooking, covered, until it is. If you have a larger roast, this may take longer. Don't rush it!Once the beef is falling apart, allow it to rest in the cooking liquid for at least 20 minutes before serving.