Pot roast, daube, stew, even ragu, they’re all very similar: meat seasoned and browned on the stovetop then cooked slowly in a few cups of liquid, be that wine, broth, tomatoes, or just about anything else you have in the fridge. Meat cooked this way is considered a braise, but my mom calls it “pot roast”, my cooking teachers call it a daube, and when I add a can of tomatoes, I call it ragu. (I’d better mention “stew” too, which for me, just means starting with meat that is cut into smaller chunks instead of being a large piece. Oh, and short ribs, they’re a similar concept.)
The upshot? Meat likes to be cooked with wine for a long time. You can’t really go wrong and it doesn’t really matter what you call it. I just want you to cook the meat because it’s super easy and rewarding.
As you’re heating a couple tablespoons of oil in your pot, sprinkle your seasonings on the cutting board then rub it onto the meat, all sides. Put the meat in the pot and brown all sides, then into the oven or slow cooker. Your patience will be rewarded with fork-tender meat that you can serve with mashed potatoes, roasted squash, polenta, pasta, or a loaf of bread from the bakery (the crunchier the crust, the better).
Pot Roast (Beef or Bison)
- 3 lbs roast beef chuck, bison, or elk
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp salt
- 1 tbsp paprika
- several grinds of fresh black pepper
- 2 cups red wine
- 2 cups beef broth
Heat oil in dutch oven (or stove-top-safe slow-cooker insert) over medium-high heat on the stovetop.
Rub the salt, paprika, and pepper into all sides of the roast. Add the roast to the pot and brown. Turn every few minutes to get all sides.
Remove roast to a plate. Add wine to the pot and simmer gently until reduced by about half (10 minutes or so). Add broth, roast and juices, cover and cook. Oven 325°F for about 3 1/2 hours, or slow cooker set to high for about 6 hours.
Recipe Notes / Tips
- Broth ideas: for richer flavor, use Stock Options demi glace 6oz. + 2 cups water in place of the 2 cups broth; be careful not to overdose on salt, many concentrated bouillons have a lot, so reduce salt in your rub if you use a salty broth
- Optional flour: If you want a thicker pan sauce after roasting, include 2 tablespoons flour in the spice rub—all-purpose or corn flour.
- Optional bouquet garni: 2 thyme sprigs, 2 parsley sprigs, 1 rosemary sprig, 1 bay leaf + celery leaves, tied together in piece of cheesecloth
- Optional tomatoes: add 1 28oz. can San Marzano tomatoes and reduce wine or broth by 1 cup.
- Optional veggies: add peeled and quartered carrots and/or parsnips, a stalk of celery quartered, and/or thinly sliced yellow onions or shallots
- Optional more wine: go ahead, add a whole bottle of red (pour yourself a glass—chef's treat!)
- When the meat is fork-tender, you can thicken the cooking liquid into more of a sauce by removing the meat to a plate and simmering the liquid over medium-high heat on the stovetop
- If you prefer slices of pot roast instead of shreds, remove the roast from the cooking liquid and let rest for a few minutes on a cutting board
- Make in advance: You can cook the roast a day or two in advance and put the whole pot in the refrigerator. (The added benefit to doing this is that before you reheat it, you can remove the hardened fat that floats to the top.) Allow the pot to cool to room temperature before putting it into the refrigerator.