This Barefoot Contessa company pot roast takes an inexpensive beef chuck roast, a bottle of red wine, a little brandy, carrots, onions, celery, leeks, and tomatoes and transforms them into a meal worthy of a dinner party. And leftovers to last the week.
Each time we make pot roast, we’re astounded at just how marvelously tender such an undervalued cut of meat can become with a little love and a lotta patience. We’re convinced the trick to pot roast lies in leaving it in the oven long enough. Those of you who are impatient will find that it remain not quite ready until the very last moment, when you’ve all but given up any thoughts of it actually becoming tender. Hang in there. It will happen. It just does so in its own time.–Renee Schettler Rossi
Ina Garten’s Company Pot Roast
- One (4- to 5-pound) prime boneless beef chuck roast tied
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- All-purpose flour
- Good olive oil
- 2 cups (4 carrots) chopped carrots
- 2 cups (2 onions) chopped yellow onions
- 2 cups (4 stalks) chopped celery
- 2 cups (2 to 4 leeks) chopped leeks white and light green parts
- 5 large garlic cloves peeled and crushed
- 2 cups good red wine such as Burgundy
- 2 tablespoons Cognac or brandy
- One (28-ounce) can whole plum tomatoes in puree
- 1 cup homemade chicken stock or canned chicken broth
- 1 chicken bouillon cube
- 3 branches thyme
- 2 branches rosemary
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter at room temperature
- Preheat the oven to 325°F (160°C).
- Pat the roast dry with paper towels. Season the roast all over with 1 tablespoon salt and 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper. Place the flour on a plate and dredge the roast in flour, turning to coat all sides, including the ends.
- In a large Dutch oven over medium heat, warm 2 tablespoons oil. Add the roast and sear, without moving it, until nicely browned, 5 to 8 minutes. Turn and sear the opposite side. Then turn and sear the ends, 4 to 5 minutes each. Using tongs, transfer the roast to a large plate.
- Add 2 tablespoons oil to the Dutch oven and keep it over medium heat. Add the carrots, onions, celery, leeks, garlic, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 to 15 minutes, until tender but not browned.
- Carefully add the wine and Cognac and bring to a boil.
- Add the tomatoes, chicken stock, bouillon cube, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Tie the thyme and rosemary together with kitchen string and add to the pot. Return the roast to the pot, bring to a boil, and cover. Place in the oven for 1 hour.
- Turn the heat down to 250°F (120°C) to keep the sauce at a gentle simmer. Continue to roast until the meat is fork-tender or the pot roast registers 160°F (71°C), about 1 1/2 hours, for a total of 2 1/2 hours in the oven.
- Transfer the roast to a cutting board. Remove the herb bundle and discard. Skim and discard as much fat as possible from the surface of the sauce.
- Transfer half the sauce and vegetables to a blender or a food processor fitted with the steel blade and puree until smooth.
- Pour the puree back into the pot, place on the stove top over low heat, and return the sauce to a simmer. Meanwhile, place 2 tablespoons flour and the butter in a small bowl and mash them together with a fork. Stir the butter mixture into the sauce and simmer, stirring constantly, until thickened, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the heat, taste, and adjust the seasonings accordingly.
- Remove the strings from the roast and slice the meat. Pile it onto a platter and serve it warm with the sauce spooned over it. (You may have some leftover sauce, which you can cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Rewarm it gently over low heat and, if desired, add a splash of red wine just before serving. It's delicious over pasta.)
Slow Cooker VariationTo make this company pot roast in your slow cooker, follow steps 1 through 4, place the pot roast and vegetables in your slow cooker, and then proceed as follows… 5. Transfer the vegetable and booze mixture to the slow cooker and add the tomatoes, chicken stock, bouillon cube, if using, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Tie the thyme and rosemary together with kitchen string and add to the slow cooker. Place the roast in the slow cooker and cover. Cook until the roast is fork-tender, on low for 8 to 10 hours or high for 5 to 6 hours. 6. Transfer the roast to a cutting board. Remove the herb bundle and discard. Skim off as much fat as possible from the surface of the sauce. 7. Transfer half the sauce and vegetables to a blender or a food processor fitted with the steel blade and puree until smooth. 8. Pour the puree and the remainder of the sauce into a large pot, place on the stove top over low heat, and return the sauce to a simmer. Place 2 tablespoons flour and the butter in a small bowl and mash them together with a fork. Stir the butter mixture into the sauce and simmer, stirring constantly, until thickened, which ought to take about 2 minutes. If the sauce is too thick, go ahead and thin with additional chicken stock. Taste and adjust the seasonings accordingly. 9. Remove the strings from the roast and slice the meat. Pile it onto a platter and serve it warm with the sauce spooned over it.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
This is an elevated pot roast, one indeed worthy of company. While the prep time for this recipe can seem a bit daunting, it’s well worth the work assembling your mise en place as the recipe will come together easily from there.
Pureeing the sauce produces a silky, thick gravy with tender vegetables nestled throughout. As the parent of a young child who insisted I pick out the vegetables but who scarfed down the pureed vegetables and roast, it was a revelation.
I used a red Burgundy blend and 1 tsp Better Than Bouillon (roasted chicken).
This was SO fantastic and our house smelled delicious for hours. It served 4 adults (2 who ran a marathon yesterday!) and 2 children with ZERO meat leftover although we did have a lot of sauce leftover to be used with egg noodles or polenta tomorrow. It was succulent and fork tender. We hardly used a steak knife to cut into it.
All browning times were perfect, even with such a large chunk of meat! I didn’t use a bouillon cube but I did use a better than bouillon gel for the broth.
My butter mixture melted into the sauce in less than 1 minute. The sauce was seriously luxurious and very tasty. I can’t wait to reuse it tomorrow! I will make this again and again!
This is a very simple and delicious pot roast recipe. It’s comfort food all the way. Fabulous served with mashed potatoes or buttered noodles. The leftovers are great for an open faced sandwich the next day. For those who use a slow cooker, this dish is ideal. Puréeing the sauce makes a wonderful gravy to use over the potatoes or noodles. Serve it with some glazed carrots or broccoli and this is an ideal dish for family or guests.
Follow this recipe and you’ll end up with a wonderful, comforting pot roast.
The timing outlined in the recipe were accurate for me. Instead of a bouillon cube I used chicken flavored Bouvril, which is a liquid bouillon.
This makes A LOT of gravy, which shouldn’t be a problem. I served the pot roast over creamy mashed potatoes and poured gravy over the top of both the meat and the potatoes. However, I think that I will run out of meat and potatoes before I run out of gravy. In that case, I am plan to freeze the extra gravy and invent something to do with it at a future date. Perhaps a Salisbury steak or a meat loaf.
This pot roast recipe is certainly company worthy. The wine elevates this from ordinary pot roast to something you might expect to get in a restaurant. The roast was fork tender and the flavor was outstanding.
The total preparation time prior to roasting was 45 minutes. This includes chopping all of the vegetables, searing the meat, sautéing the vegetables until tender, adding the rest of the ingredients, and bringing to a boil. I found the times provided in the recipe for searing the meat and sautéing the vegetables to be accurate. I was skeptical about the roasting time and temperature. I didn’t think it would be fork tender in 2 and a half hours. I followed the recipe as written and to my surprise, it was fork tender in 2 and a half hours!
The sauce came together easily and only took 10 minutes to complete. I used my food processor to puree half of the sauce before adding it back into the pot and thickening. This is the one step that in my opinion could be optional. The sauce is already somewhat thick due to the vegetables. It would be a personal preference depending on whether or not you want a smoother sauce or something a little chunkier. Either way, the sauce is delicious. I used Better than Bouillon.
I served this with mashed potatoes and green beans sautéed with shallots. This is a great recipe to have in your collection for an easy and impressive dinner.
This aptly named recipe for hearty pot roast was a huge hit at our dinner table! Perfect for a weeknight meal or Sunday supper but equally appropriate for company, this hearty tomato-based sauce gets its layer of flavor from red wine, a splash of brandy, chicken stock, and a lot of veggies, aromatics, and fresh herbs. Lovely when served over white rice (which I did), creamy polenta, or even buttered egg noodles. I enjoyed this slow-cooker version of the recipe which made the cooking process relatively hands-off and the clean-up easy.
As for the recipe itself, I had Armagnac so that is the brandy I used and I had homemade chicken stock on hand so I skipped the chicken bouillon cube because the stock was already very flavorful. In terms of the cooking time for the pot roast, once everything was in the slow cooker, I did mine for 6 hours on the high setting. It was perfectly cooked and very, very tender at this point. Seasoning the meat at the beginning, then again seasoning the veggies in beginning, and then seasoning the tomato mixture in the slow cooker itself made for a perfect level of saltiness.
I think not only the layers of flavor are what make this a superb pot roast, but also the fact that you take the time to puree some of the sauce at the end of the cooking process. Having a thickened, smooth sauce to serve with the hearty, rustic dish added a certain elegance to the overall dish. This dish easily serves 6 people.
Originally published December 01, 2019