Barefoot Contessa Company Pot Roast

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.

A partially sliced Barefoot Contessa company pot roast on a serving platter, garnished with thyme sprigs.

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

Barefoot Contessa Company Pot Roast

  • Quick Glance
  • (7)
  • 1 H
  • 3 H, 45 M
  • Serves 8
5/5 - 7 reviews
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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.) Originally published May 5, 2008.

Print RecipeBuy the Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics cookbook

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    Slow Cooker Variation

    • To 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.

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    Recipe Testers' Tips

    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.


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    1. Wonderful. Absolutely wonderful. Lots of gravy left for noodles tomorrow! My family of 7 enjoyed it thoroughly. Plenty leftover, too. Thanks, Ina. Another great recipe from you, love your mac n cheese:-)

      1. Alison, how long did you cook it? That’s what I was trying to address in my previous comment: the size is going to affect how long you cook it, and you need to pay attention to the visual and sensory cues. It needed more time for the collagen and connective tissue to break down.

      1. Alison, you would cut all the ingredients basically in half. As far as cooking times, you’re going to have to play with that. The roast will cook faster, but it still needs time for the collagen and connective tissue to break down. So watch it carefully.

        1. Thank you so much! Should I put a meat thermometer in being that it is covered in my Dutch oven?

          1. Alison, my pleasure. Certainly use the meat thermometer if it’s the kind that either attaches to your oven or can be attached to the outside of the door. Don’t leave anything that can potentially damage the ovn while in use.

    2. Just to be clear, 1 hour at 325 and 1 and a half hours at 250. I found another Ian Garten recipe that called for 2 hours at 325 and 1 hour at 250 for a total of 3 plus hours.

    3. I have made this recipe a few times and always get wonderful comments! I need to make this on a Sunday morning while we are at church. Can I do this thru step 5 and instead of putting it in the oven at that point, put it in my slow cooker on high for 4 hours?

      1. Hi Sharon, this recipe should do well in a slow cooker. Although we did not test it this way, now we are intrigued and are going to give it a try. Let us know how yours turned out and we will do the same.

    4. You are a goddess, well, all of you! I have been making this for years to great acclaim. The leftover shredded roast & the sauce makes an incredible French Dip Sandwich – the sauce being a wonderful au jus. I make sure I have enough extra sauce to freeze this ‘au jus’ in baggies so I have delicious quickie dinners. Thank you so much for all the extra tips.

    5. Help…I probably didn’t understand this correctly, but is it 1 hour at 325 and then lower temperature to 250 to then continue to cook for another 1 1/2 hours?

    6. I would like to do half the recipe instead of 4 lbs. only 2 lbs. do I decrease the cooking time since I only have 2 lbs of meat and not four?

      1. Ana, you would decrease the cooking time, but it may not be exactly in half. I’d use Ina’s cues as a guide: “…until the meat is fork-tender or about 160°F (71°C) internally.”

    7. My sweetheart and I decided to invite another couple over for dinner with one day notice. I wasn’t sure what to make but because we live in the country and Wyoming, I figured meat and potatoes would do the trick. I searched and found this recipe….and thought perfect. It was SO SIMPLE and SO DELICIOUS. I served it with mashed potatoes and my version of garlic bread (a baguette with olive oil, garlic & onion powder, rosemary and thyme). The “gravy” that this makes was just right for the potatoes! A family keeper!!!!!

      1. Lovely, Kathleen! Thank you so much for taking the time to let us know! We so appreciate it! And being from the midwest, I can fully appreciate meat and potatoes when cooked properly. Looking forward to hearing which recipe on the site you try next!

    8. When making in the crock pot, you say to add the vegetables specified in step three. Do you cook them first as in the recipe, and then add them? And boil the wine as well? Any other crock pot tips that were not noted since the first post? Thank you.

      1. Hi Mary Ann, yes, you follow the recipe until you get to the middle of step 3. Instead of placing in the oven, you would place in a slow cooker.

    9. my grandmother was a phenomenal cook, but both my mother and I use this recipe now. She does it in the oven, I do it in the slow cooker, both are perfect every time. My best friend is a 911 operator, and I often bring this to her before a big storm, when i know she’ll be working 48 hours. the firemen know they’ll suffer her wrath if they so much as look at it :)

    10. I’m so excited to try this recipe. Thanks for the suggestion on the crock pot. I saw that I could make the entire roast ahead of time, but is it OK to do the searing – adding vegetables the night before and then just put it in the crock pot in the morning for the cooking?

      1. Missy that should be perfectly fine. Just make sure that the meat doesn’t sit out all night not cooking. You’ll need to keep it in the fridge overnight, and then add it to the cooker. You might need a little longer cooking time. You want to be safe.

    11. I’m planning to make this for Christmas Eve dinner. (The kids have requested pot roast, and I’ve never had good luck with it, so I usually use Schwan’s.) Alas, I don’t have any in the freezer. But I have all the Barefoot Contessa and many of my favorite recipes come from those books, I’ve never had a failure yet, so I’m going for it. I’m going to use the crock pot, so I can use the oven during the day. Is there any reason I can’t use an immersion blender at the end, to blend up about half the sauce? Seems like it would be easier than moving to a blender.


    12. Ina, I love your fondness for cooking. I watch every program featuring “The Barefoot Contessa.”Tonight, I am making your Pot Roast using leftover London broil…I can’t wait…you’re amazing…thank you for sharing with all of us. Jo-Ann, San Francisco

      1. Hello, Ruth Ann. The directions instruct you to tie the rosemary and thyme together (not the beef) and to toss that herb bouquet into the pot. The reason why it’s tied is so that it’s easy to fish out when the the meat’s done. Plus you don’t have stems floating in sauce.

    13. Just saw this recipe on Ina’s show yesterday, and am making it in my Dutch Oven tonight.
      I saw the adaptation for a slow cooker ( which I also have).
      Just wondering if it is adaptable to a pressure cooker?

      1. Hi Alison, we haven’t tested it in a pressure cooker but if you try it, please let us know. We would love to hear of your results.

    14. I have this cookbook and cannot believe I have not yet made this recipe! In my eyes, Ina can do no wrong! Quick question, can you clarify when the recipe states “Place in the oven for 2 1/2 hours, until the meat is fork tender or about 160°F (71°C) internally. Turn the heat down to 250°F (120°C) after about an hour to keep the sauce at a simmer?” Do I cook the roast for 1 hour at 325°F, then reduce to 250°F and cook the remaining 1 1/2 hrs? Help!

      1. Ina is pretty special, isn’t she, elizabeth? As for your question, yes, she means exactly what you just suggested—1 hour at 325°F, then 1 1/2 hours at 250°F. We often try to keep the wording of recipes in largely the original wording so as to convey the voice of the writer, but I went ahead and tweaked this recipe so it hopefully won’t cause anyone else confusion. Let us know what you think….

      1. Any of so many things would go with this roast, Peg. Mashed potatoes are ideal as it provides a natural firmament for the roast’s thicks sauce, which takes the place of gravy. We have several versions of mashed potatoes on the site, though I’d suggest either these simple yet rich Fork-Mashed Potatoes or Lidia Bastianich’s Olive Oil Mashed Potatoes. A simple batch of basic polenta would also be lovely in place of a mash. As for some nutritionally redeeming component to the meal, perhaps carrots or steamed green beans finished with a little butter or olive oil and some chopped almonds ro hazelnuts? As for any leftover roast, I hear it’s terrific shredded, stirred into the sauce, and ladled atop pasta.

    15. Is it possible to make this recipe the day before and reheat stove top or in the oven before serving for a dinner party? Would like to get the sauce ready, etc., beforehand… Thanks in advance for the advice.

      1. Hi Rhonda, you should be fine making this the day before. “Leftovers” always have such a great flavor. If you slice the meat before storing, I would cover it with some of the sauce and tightly wrap it, so that it does not get dry. Alternatively, you could make it in a slow cooker to be ready when your guests arrive, and take advantage of that great aroma.

      1. Hi Rachel, I reached out to our slow cooking testers and they have the following tips. Sear the roast as instructed then place it in a slow cooker with the ingredients specified in step 3. Cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours, or until fork tender. Follow the instructions as stated to thicken the broth.

      1. Hi B, I would use an oven safe dutch oven as specified in the recipe. No crock pot required. You should end up with a lovely pot roast.

    16. This is one of those recipes where it makes me thankful for my local butcher. I was choosing between the 100% grass fed or the 90% grass fed chuck roast and he wholeheartedly recommended the latter as it had more fat, flavor, and was not as likely to dry out. He was right – it was incredibly flavorful. I think it’s the sauce though that really makes the recipe. Can’t wait for leftovers tonight!

    17. My daughter’s family made this and emailed me raving about it. I then made it for a potluck dinner and it was greatly acclaimed—and completely consumed. Sincerest form of praise, I think.

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