French-style pot roast

Posted in food, home cooking at 1:00 am by wingerz


As the temperatures outside have been dropping, I’ve been able to go back to cooking with my Dutch oven (it just doesn’t feel right to use it during the summer). Was thinking about making a stew when this pot roast caught my eye. It was amazingly good, and (not surprisingly) kept well for a few days. The last bits of it made it into a cold sandwich and even in that state is was tender. Would definitely make this one again – the sauce, enriched by a bottle of wine and gelatin, is very tasty.

French-style pot roast
from Cook’s Illustrated, 11-12/2007

1 boneless chuck-eye roast (4-5 pounds), pulled apart into 2 pieces and fat trimmed
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 bottle medium-bodied red wine
10 sprigs fresh parsley plus 2 tablespoons minced leaves
2 sprigs fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
Ground black pepper
4 ounces bacon, preferably thick-cut, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch pieces
1 medium onion, chopped fine
3 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed through garlic press
1 tablespoon unbleached all-purpose flour
2 cups beef broth
4 medium carrots, peeled and cut on bias into 1 1/2-inch pieces
2 cups frozen pearl onions
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 cup water, plus 1/4 cup cold water to bloom gelatin
10 ounces white mushrooms, wiped clean, stems trimmed, halved if small and quartered if large
Table salt
1 tablespoon powdered unflavored gelatin

1. Season meat with kosher salt, place on wire rack set in rimmed baking sheet, and let rest at room temperature for 1 hour
2. Meanwhile, bring wine to simmer in large saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook until reduced to 2 cups, about 15 minutes. Using kitchen twine, tie parsley sprigs, thyme sprigs, and bay leaves into bundle.
3. Pat beef dry with paper towels and season generously with pepper. Tie three pieces of kitchen twine around each piece of meat to keep it from falling apart.
4. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat to 300 degrees. Cook bacon in large Dutch oven over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until crisp, 6-8 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer bacon to paper towel-lined plate and reserve. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons fat; return Dutch oven to medium-high heat and heat until fat begins to smoke. Add beef to pot and brown on all sides, 8-10 minutes total. Transfer beef to large plate and set aside.
5. Reduce heat to medium; add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to soften, 2-4 minutes. Add garlic, flour, and reserved bacon; cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add reduced wine, broth, and herb bundle, scraping bottom of pan with wooden spoon to loosen browned bits. Return roast and any accumulated juices to pot; increase heat to high and bring liquid to simmer, then place large sheet of foil over pot and cover tightly with lid. Set pot in oven and cook, using tongs to turn beef every hour, until dinner fork flips in and out of meat, 2 1/2 to 3 hours, adding carrots to pot after 2 hours.
6. While meat cooks, bring pearl onions, butter, sugar, and 1/2 cup water to boil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium, cover, and cook until onions are tender, 5-8 minutes. Uncover, increase heat to medium-high, and cook until all liquid evaporates, 3-4 minutes. Add mushrooms and 1/4 teaspoon table salt; cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are browned and glazed, 8-12 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside. Place 1/4 cup cold water in small bowl and sprinkle gelatin on top.
7. Transfer beef to cutting board; tent with foil to keep warm. Allow braising liquid to settle about 5 minutes; then, using wide, shallow spoon, skim fat off surface. Remove herb bundle and stir in onion-mushroom mixture. Bring liquid to simmer over medium-high heat and cook until mixture is slightly thickened and reduced to 3 1/4 cups, 20-30 minutes. Season sauce with salt and pepper. Add softened gelatin and stir until completely dissolved.
8. Remove kitchen twine from meat and discard. Using chef’s or carving knife, cut meat against grain into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Divide meat among warmed bowls or transfer to platter; arrange vegetables around meat, pour sauce on top, and sprinkle minced parsley. Serve immediately


  1. Yayu said,

    January 13, 2008 at 1:42 am

    Hi Wing,

    i love your blog. I just got a dutch oven for x’mas, and i’m going to try out this recipe here as the inaugural meal! any other tips I should know?

    oh and i also hope to try out the mini kitchen torch and make some creme brulees. i’d love it if you have a recipe that you like for that as well :)

    come back to visit soon!

  2. wingerz said,

    January 13, 2008 at 1:54 am

    In regards to dutch oven cooking, i’ve found that it’s great to have 1) a wooden spatula for scraping the bottom, 2) a splatter screen for keeping oil from popping out, and 3) good oven mitts for keeping your hands from burning. Also, if you’re cooking a large volume of food, keep the batches to a small enough size to allow enough space for maneuvering between chunks of meat.

  3. Lefty said,

    November 30, 2010 at 3:13 pm

    My only other suggestion would be to pair this fabulous roast with a good bottle of Ch√Ęteauneuf-du-Pape…

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