Rich, juicy and meltingly tender beef, cooked low and slow in beef stock and red wine… this Easy Peasy Pot Roast is so good, you’ll be wanting to make it every weekend! (Instructions given for both oven and slow cooker.)
Easy Peasy Pot Roast
Welcome to your new favourite roast dinner! This Easy Peasy Pot Roast is a super easy, super delicious way to cook roast beef that is rich, juicy and meltingly tender every time! Plus, as it cooks, it creates THE BEST red wine and beef stock gravy EVER! Better still, it involves just 15 minutes hands on time… the oven (or the slow cooker) does the rest 😀
All you need to do is sit back and relax with the Sunday papers and enjoy the delicious aromas wafting in from the kitchen… (OK, real world – it gives you time to catch up on the housework / help the kids with their homework / deal with the overflowing laundry basket! ??)
What exactly is pot roast?
Pot roast is not a cut of beef, but rather a method of cooking it – literally in a pot! You first brown the beef over a high heat in a frying pan, then cook it ‘low and slow’ in the oven in a dutch oven (AKA Le Creuset style pot) or standard casserole dish. Alternatively, you can cook a pot roast in your slow cooker (AKA Crock Pot).
To stop a pot roast drying out, you always cook the beef in a liquid… usually a mix of good beef stock and red wine. This has the added advantage of creating THE BEST gravy!
And to flavour both the beef and the gravy, you throw in a whole bunch of deliciousness – like garlic, herbs, onions, carrots, celery…
What’s the best cut of beef for pot roast?
Contrary to what you might think, the best cuts of beef for this ‘low and slow’ pot roast treatment are actually the tougher cuts of beef.
Tougher cuts of beef have lots of tough connective tissue. This tough connective tissue eventually breaks down when you roast the meat at a low temperature for a long period of time. This tenderises the meat, giving you that meltingly tender, succulent feel in your mouth and adding richness and and a velvety texture to the gravy.
By contrast, if you try to use a more tender cut of meat in a pot roast, it would become tough and leathery!
My favourite cut of meat for pot roast is beef brisket, but you could also use chuck roast.
The great thing about these tougher cuts of beef, is they are much cheaper than the tender cuts – making pot roast a brilliant budget friendly way to enjoy roast beef!
What’s the best wine to use in a pot roast?
My tip is to put the same wine IN your pot roast as you plan to drink WITH your pot roast. My personal preference is to go for something big and gutsy – like a big Aussie Shiraz, an Aussie or US Cabernet Sauvignon, a full bodied Claret, a South African Pinotage or a US Zinfandel would all fit the bill.
Of course, you don’t have to add wine to the cooking liquid if you don’t want to – but it tastes a whole lot better if you do! So, unless you are actively abstaining from alcohol (or someone you are serving this to is), I 100% recommend adding the full amount of red wine advised in the recipe card.
How to thicken the pot roast gravy…
While the post roast naturally creates a very delicious gravy, it is a very thin gravy… Happily, thickening the gravy is very easy. Simply remove the beef and the vegetables onto a serving plate, then strain the cooking liquid into a saucepan. Mix a tablespoon or two (depending on how thick you like your gravy!) of cornflour (U.S. – corn starch) with cold water and add this to the cooking liquid in the saucepan. Bring to the boil and simmer until you have your desired gravy thickness, then transfer to a gravy jug.
Is it best to make pot roast in the oven or a crock pot?
You can do either! They both make great pot roasts… just select the method that fits your timescale… Made in the oven this Easy Peasy Pot Roast will be done in 3 hours… Whereas in the slow cooker (on low) it will take 8-10 hours.
The oven is perfect if you want your pot roast ready for a meal that’s happening in just a few hours… The crock pot / slow cooker is great if you want to prep dinner right after breakfast and then go out for the rest of the day… knowing you are coming back to a gorgeous homecooked meal!
Top tips for pot roast success:
- Brown the beef first – preferably in a non-stick frying pan.
- Season the beef with a little salt and plenty of black pepper BEFORE you brown it.
- Use a mix of red wine and strong beef stock as the cooking liquid. This will give great flavour to both the beef and the gravy.
- Use a pot (casserole, dutch oven or slow cooker) big enough to comfortably fit the meat and the liquid, with plenty of extra room. Don’t try to cram it all into a tiny pot!
- Always use a pot (casserole, dutch oven or slow cooker) which has a well-fitting lid.
- Keep the lid on at all times.
- Do not be tempted to turn the oven up to cook it faster – this will not work, and you’ll end up with disappointingly tough meat.
Is it best to serve pot roast sliced or shredded?
Entirely up to you! Whichever you and your family prefer. Personally, I prefer to serve my pot roast shredded, but this Easy Peasy Pot Roast will slice beautifully too.
What to eat with pot roast
The great thing about a pot roast is you are already halfway to a meal! This Easy Peasy Pot Roast will deliver meat, carrots, celery and gravy… so all you need to add are some potatoes and maybe a green vegetable or two.
Personally, I like to serve pot roast with mashed potatoes (for soaking up all that delicious gravy) and at least one out of green cabbage, green beans and broccoli (sometimes all three!).
What to drink with pot roast
As I mentioned above, pot roast goes best with big gutsy reds, like a big Aussie Shiraz, an Aussie or US Cabernet Sauvignon, a full bodied Claret, a South African Pinotage or a US Zinfandel.
Can pot roast be reheated?
Absolutely. Pot roast leftovers will keep in the fridge for up to 3 days.
The best way to reheat pot roast is to slice or shred it first, then pour over the gravy and reheat it all in a saucepan (with a lid on) until piping hot all the way through, stirring occasionally. This usually takes around 10-15 minutes.
Can cooked pot roast be frozen?
Most certainly! I recommend you slice or shred it first, then place it in a plastic lidded container and pour over the gravy. Place the container in the freezer, where it will keep for up to 1 month.
Defrost overnight in the fridge and then reheat as above.
If you like this recipe…
…you might also like:
Easy Peasy Pot Roast
- 1 kg beef brisket (or chuck roast)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 small onions sliced
- 3 cloves garlic crushed or grated
- 900 ml strong beef stock (I use 2 Kallo organic beef stock cubes)
- 300 ml red wine (or add water if you don’t want to use wine)
- 2 sticks celery cut into large chunks
- 3 carrots cut into large chunks
- 2 dried bay leaves
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1-2 tablespoons cornflour (U.S. - corn starch) (optional – for thickening the gravy)
- Mashed potatoes and steamed green vegetables to serve
- Preheat your oven to 160C / 140C fan / gas mark 3 / 325F (ignore this step if using a slow cooker).
- Season the beef all over with a little salt and plenty of black pepper.
- Place a frying pan on over high heat and wait until it is smoking hot (at least 2 minutes).
- Brown the beef in the hot pan for 2 minutes on each side, starting with the side with the fat.
- Place the beef in a casserole, dutch oven or slow cooker.
- Reduce the heat right down under the frying pan and fry the onions, until lightly browned. Then add the garlic and fry for 1 more minute, taking care not to burn the garlic. Throw the onions and garlic into the casserole / dutch oven / slow cooker.
- Pour the wine and stock into the frying pan and bring to the boil. Carefully pour the hot liquid into the casserole / dutch oven / slow cooker.
- Add the chopped carrots and celery to the casserole / dutch oven / slow cooker, together with the bay leaves and sprigs of thyme.
- [Oven Method] Put a lid on your casserole / dutch oven and place it in your preheated oven for 3 hours. For best results, turn the beef over a couple of times during cooking (but this is not essential.)
- [Slow Cooker Method] Put the lid on your slow cooker and select ‘low’. Cook on low for 8-10 hours.
- Serve with mashed potatoes and green vegetables.
- **Optional step for thicker gravy** When the meat is done, remove the beef and vegetables onto a serving dish and strain the liquid into a saucepan. Mix together 1-2 tablespoons cornflour (U.S. - corn starch) – depending on how thick you like your gravy – with a small amount of cold water to make a thin paste. Pour this paste into the saucepan. Gently simmer the gravy until it reaches your preferred consistency, then pour into a gravy jug.
- Suitable for freezing.
- Nutrition information is approximate and meant as a guideline only.
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