Q. What do I do with a bonessless beef chuck roast? A. Cook a pot roast.

Buying a half steer is going to make me much more conversant on the various cuts of beef and what to do with them.  We couldn’t quite get one of the boneless chuck roasts into the freezer on Friday so we decided to defrost it.

I wasn’t sure what this piece of meat was good for but learned that it is the classic cut for pot roast.  I had seen Ina Garten make this pot roast recipe on her show and it looked delicious.  It was also the perfect dish for a very rainy Saturday in the Berkshires.

I followed the recipe exactly with two minor exceptions: the store was out of fresh thyme so i just threw in some dried thyme when I added the rosemary; I used my immersion blender rather than dirty my food processor or blender.  I served the pot roast with egg noodles.  You definitely need something to enjoy the delicious sauce with!

The one negative comment I had read in the reviews about the recipe was that the cut of meat they used was too tough.  There was nothing tough about this very high quality piece of meat.  Ina Garten calls for a “prime boneless chuck roast”.  Make sure to buy the highest quality cut you can.  While the sauce will shine in this recipe regardless of meat quality, you probably won’t experience the same tender meat we had last night with a cheap cut.


This truly was the best pot roast either of us had ever had.  The meat was tender and delicious and the sauce was divine, full of wonderful flavors from the meat, wine, tomatoes, herbs, and other veggies.

Company Pot Roast
Barefoot Contessa

  • 1 (4 to 5-pound) prime boneless beef chuck roast, tied
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • All-purpose flour
  • Good olive oil
  • 2 cups chopped carrots (4 carrots)
  • 2 cups chopped yellow onions (2 onions)
  • 2 cups chopped celery (4 stalks)
  • 2 cups chopped leeks, white and light green parts (2 to 4 leeks)
  • 5 large garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 2 cups good red wine, such as Burgundy
  • 2 tablespoons Cognac or brandy
  • 1 (28-ounce) can whole plum tomatoes in puree
  • 1 cup chicken stock, preferably homemade
  • 1 chicken bouillon cube
  • 3 branches fresh thyme
  • 2 branches fresh rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Pat the beef dry with a paper towel. Season the roast all over with 1 tablespoon salt and 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper. Dredge the whole roast in flour, including the ends. In a large Dutch oven, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add the roast and sear for 4 to 5 minutes, until nicely browned. Turn and sear the other side and then turn and sear the ends. This should take 4 to 5 minutes for each side. Remove the roast to a large plate.

Add 2 tablespoons olive oil to the Dutch oven. Add the carrots, onions, celery, leeks, garlic, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper and cook over medium heat for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender but not browned. Add the wine and Cognac and bring to a boil. Add the tomatoes, chicken stock, bouillon cube, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Tie the thyme and rosemary together with kitchen string and add to the pot. Put the roast back into the pot, bring to a boil, and cover. Place in the oven for 2 1/2 hours, until the meat is fork tender or about 160 degrees F internally. Turn the heat down to 250 degrees F after about an hour to keep the sauce at a simmer.

Remove the roast to a cutting board. Remove the herb bundle and discard. Skim off as much fat as possible from the sauce. Transfer half the sauce and vegetables to a blender or a food processor fitted with the steel blade and puree until smooth. Pour the puree back into the pot, place on the stovetop over low heat, and return the sauce to a simmer. Place 2 tablespoons flour and the butter in a small bowl and mash them together with a fork. Stir into the sauce and simmer for 2 minutes, stirring until thickened. Taste for seasonings. Remove the strings from the roast, and slice the meat. Serve warm with the sauce spooned over it.

Serves 8.

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