Traditional Pot Roast

Pot Roast LeadI could write an Ode to Pot Roast. I could tell you every good and bad one that I have made. I could tell you the restaurants and diners that have perfected the art.

Pot Roast is how you feed a crowd something comforting and succulent without spending a fortune. Cooked slowly, ignored really, an inexpensive and tough cut of meat is transformed into a silky mess in a pot of gravy. And that is really the key, time. There is no trick, really, just some basic preparation. It is the time that turns the sow’s ear into a silk purse.

Somewhere along the line I realized that the only long term value of a recipe blog is to make darned sure that I posted every recipe that I thought I or my son or daughter, or my grandchildren, or my great grandchildren might need someday. When I stop this one day, I want to take a day to actually write the recipes down on index cards so they can wear with time and get dripped on and obtain the status of a dog eared, messy, timeless favorite…for someone. A real recipe…not a cyber-flash-dinner-in-a-minute-grab-the-iPad-and-find-something-emergency-idea.  I want to leave something that actually connects me to my descendants. Funny, there is nothing permanent about a web presence unless you have posted inappropriate content that will come back to haunt you. This is why I hold tight to my hand written index card recipes from mom, and aunts and great aunts. And this is why I still buy piles of cookbooks. They are real in a way that web recipes cannot be. It is strange to think that if I pushed the wrong button…all of these recipes would be gone in a flash. But if I wrote them with my hand, turned them from bits and bytes into something tangible…bites that could last.

Searing Pot RoastPot Roast makes me think of things like this. Odd…yes, I know.

I don’t throw the carrots and potatoes in my pot roast anymore. I make the meat all about the meat, and then I roast carrots and potatoes to serve alongside. This helps immeasurably with the timing. Here is the issue. Meat is ready when it is ready and not a moment sooner. If you try to game the timing and toss in a bunch of cold vegetables, you begin a race against time…will the meat be done in time? Will the vegetables turn to mush? So, I just eliminate that issue altogether and I cook the vegetables separately and cover them with gravy on the plate. I think roasted vegetables are richer anyway. So, you may deal with your vegetables as you please. I do it a little different every time.

Pot Roast Braising

Traditional Pot Roast
Recipe type: main
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 6
This is one of my favorites. Pot roast is comfort food at its finest.
  • 4½ pound 7 bone pot roast
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large white onion, quartered
  • 2 tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 sprig of fresh thyme
  • 1 (15 ounce) can low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 (15 ounce) can low sodium beef broth
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Season the roast on both sides with salt and pepper. Place a large, oven-safe pot on the stovetop and heat it over medium heat. Add the olive oil and place the roast in the pot to sear. Sear it on both sides until it is nicely browned.
  2. Place the chopped onion, tomatoes, and thyme around and on top of the roast. Add the cans of broth. The broth should just come to the top of the roast. Place the lid on the pot and place it into the oven.
  3. Allow the roast to cook undisturbed for 5 hours. Check the roast for doneness by removing the pot from the oven and piercing the roast with a fork. The fork should sink easily into the meat. If it does not, allow the roast to continue to cook for an additional 30 minutes and check for doneness again.
  4. When the roast is tender, remove the meat to a plate with a slotted spoon and discard the bone and excess fat. In a small bowl, whisk the flour together with about ¾ cup of the gravy from the pot roast to create a slurry. Mix the slurry back into the pot of gravy. Simmer the gravy until it has thickened. Season as needed with additional salt and pepper. Ladle gravy over the pot roast on the serving platter. Or, simply return the roast to the pot if you are not ready to serve.

Pot Roast Thickening GravyNote: The “7” bone roast is called such because of the shape of the bone in the cut, not because there are seven bones. Is is a “chuck” roast that comes from the shoulder area and has a nice texture and good flavor after it has been braising for an extended period. Also, If your gravy evaporates while cooking, you can always add a little more chicken or beef broth.

Carrots and potatoes which have been cut into chunks can be roasted in a baking dish at 425 degrees until they are cooked through. You may certainly add these to the pot, or serve them separately alongside the roast.


  1. says

    Oh thanks, Kelly! I was just working on the menus for my olive pickers who will be here at the end of the month. This pot-roast will be perfect!!! (and I agree that the veggies are better roasted separately). I may try it first before they arrive but I know that if you say it works then I don’t really have to run a pre-test.

  2. Barbara says

    Just like my mom makes – she adds a can of cream of mushroom soup in the last 30 minutes of cooking – OMG – my mouth is already watering!

  3. says

    I love using the crock-pot and I love the convenience of recipe searching on my iPad. (Yesterday I had to look up how-to-cook-a-spaghetti-squash.)But your lovely prose struck a chord with me. I, too, continue to collect cookbooks, covet them, almost, and resist pruning my magazines. And I keep index cards . . . . . although I don’t have any from my mother or aunt. Jealous. But I am building collections for my daughter, nephew and grandchildren. Just in case the internet goes away and my blog is lost forever.

  4. Bebe says

    I have tried the crockpot but without success. End up with a large quantity of liquid – “gravy” – and a wornout piece of flavorless meat. It seems to give its all to the gravy.

    Your method is the same as my Mother’s. Except that she added the vegetables to the pot for about the last 30 minutes or so – carrots first because they take a little longer to cook, then the potatoes.

    How long (about) do the vegetables take in that 425 oven? It appears that one needs two ovens – one set for 300 degrees for the pot roast, and the other set at 425 for the vegetables. ??


  5. Kelly says

    Bebe…yes…2 ovens is ideal. However, since there is gravy thickening to do, and I always like for things to rest a bit before serving, you could crank up the oven and do the veggies after. Warm up the pot roast on the stove top before serving and you are good to go. With the veggies, a lot depends on how you cut them prior to roasting. Bigger chunks will take an hour, perhaps. But if you are in a hurry, you can quarter the carrots lengthwise and do smaller potato chunks and shave a few minutes off. I typically assume it will take an hour, but start checking at 45 minutes. But again, that is totally dependent on the size of the vegetables you are roasting. I am not at all opposed to putting the veggies in at the last 30 minutes if you are pretty confident of the timing. It does have its charms that way, too. I just like the flexibility of doing it separately. Also, I was surprised by how much gravy this produced, but thought the meat retained a great deal of flavor and succulence. But that may have to do with the cut, which has enough fat to impart a great deal of flavor.

  6. Courtney says

    Excellent pot roast recipe! We really enjoyed it. I served it with mashed potatoes which were great with the gravy.

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