Red Wine Pot Roast

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By James Peterson

Published 1991

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The most important step in making a pot roast is to choose the right cut of meat. A blade roast from the shoulder is best.

In French cooking there are all sorts of ways to finish a pot roast, including the classic Burgundian garniture of mushrooms, pearl onions, and bacon lardons. Other variations include braising the beef with a substantial number of sliced carrots and leaving them in as the garniture. The aromatic garniture (the vegetables braised with the meat) can be left in or strained out. Here we strain it out.


beef blade roast (from the shoulder), 1 5 lb 2.25 kg
onion, chopped fine 1 large 1 large
carrots, sliced 2 large 2 large
red wine 3 cups 750 ml
glace de viande (optional) ¼ cup 60 ml
large bouquet garni 1 1
salt and pepper to taste to taste
red wine vinegar (or to taste) 2 tbsp 30 ml


  1. Preheat the oven to 450°F (230°C).
  2. Tie up the roast. Spread the onions and carrots in a pot just large enough to hold the roast. Place the roast on top.
  3. Roast the meat until it browns and any juices it releases caramelize on the bottom of the pot, about an hour. Be careful at the end of this stage not to burn the juices. If the juices threaten to burn before the roast is browned, add stock or water—about ½ cup (125 milliliters)—as needed.
  4. Turn the oven down to 300°F (150°C). Put the pot on the stove and pour over the wine. Add the glace de viande, if using, and the bouquet garni; bring to a simmer. Cover the pot with aluminum foil and braise gently in the oven or on the stove until the meat is easily penetrated with a skewer, about 3 hours. Check on the meat every 20 minutes or so to make sure the braising liquid isn’t boiling. If it is, turn down the oven or the stove.
  5. Take out the meat and strain the juices into a saucepan. Discard the vegetables or save them to serve with the roast. Discard the bouquet garni. Fit the roast into a smaller pan or clean out the pan just used and put the roast back in. Turn the oven to 400°F (200°C).
  6. Simmer the braising liquid on the stove and skim off the fat. Pour the liquid over the roast, and return the roast, uncovered, to the oven. Baste every 5 minutes for about an hour or until the roast becomes shiny and the braising liquid syrupy. Season the braising liquid to taste with salt, pepper, and vinegar.
  7. Gently slice the roast. If it’s extremely tender, it can even be served with a spoon. Because the braising liquid is not thickened with any kind of starch or hydrocolloid, the roast is best served in soup plates with the braising liquid spooned over.


By garnishing this stew with lardons, heart-shaped croutons dipped in chopped parsley, sautéed mushrooms, and pearl onions, it becomes boeuf à la bourguignonne. Don’t confuse this dish with boeuf bourguignon, which is a stew.