Pot Roast: an easy foundation for experimentation

For a lazy Sunday or a large group supper, pot roast is great for experimenting with new ingredients, techniques, and flavors. In the recipe below, we’ve included the “full spectrum” of possible veggies and liquids, including those that are considered, depending on the chef, everywhere from “optional” to “essential.” Depending on the crowd’s preferences, you could stick to classic vegetable choices like carrots and potatoes, but you won’t mess up this traditional classic if you venture into the land of parsnips, squash, or sweet potatoes. If you set the right foundation by browning the roast and deglazing your Dutch oven properly, you’ll have a bold flavor canvas to build on. This recipe calls for oven roasting, but a successful roast can also be achieved by bringing the mix to a boil on the stove, then turning the heat to the lowest setting and allowing to simmer for several hours.

Simple Pot Roast


1 3-5 pound beef roast (chuck or rump roast preferred)


  • Salt, pepper to taste

  • Thyme, fresh or dried

  • Parsley, for garnish

  • Rosemary

  • Bay leaf


  • Celery

  • Onion

  • Carrot

  • Vegetable oil

  • Butter

  • Garlic

  • Tomato paste


  • Potato

  • Carrot

  • Parsnip

  • Squash


Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Pat the roast with a paper towel until dry (moisture prevents the browning process, or Maillard reaction). Season with salt and pepper. Heat oil in dutch oven to medium-high. Brown roast in pan on all sides. Remove roast from pan and place to the side.

In same pan, add onion, celery, and carrot with a pinch of salt. Lower heat to medium and cook until onions are translucent, about 10 minutes. Add garlic, herbs and tomato paste and cook for an additional minute. 

Add wine and use a whisk or spoon to release the browned bits from the bottom of the pan (deglaze). The flavor packed into those browned pieces will add a familiar depth to the final product. Add broth and/or wine, arrange remaining vegetables and place the roast back in the pan. 

Bring to a boil, cover, and bake for 2 to 2.5 hours, until roast is fork tender. As noted above, simmering in a covered Dutch oven will produce a successful pot roast. In either method, monitor the tenderness of the meat with a fork. 

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