Simple Pot Roast

Pot roast is one of the easiest ways to turn a tough piece of beef into a delicious meal. I normally make a smaller one (2-3 lbs) and that is enough for two with plenty of leftovers for future meals. If you have more people to feed or want more leftovers, buy a larger roast and scale up. The trick is to make sure the roast is at least 2/3 covered in liquid before you bring it to a boil and then simmer. If you add the root vegetables at the beginning they add a lot of flavor and make a great gravy but if you had them about 2 hours in, they retain their shape better and end up being more of a built in side dish. It’s really up to you. I just used carrots and celery because that is what I had on hand but turnips, potatoes, rutabaga, parsnips or winter squash (not spaghetti squash!) are all really good too.

This is my most basic version of pot roast, which is perfect for planned leftovers because while it is flavorful, it doesn’t have a super distinctive flavor profile so the meat is equally tasty in tacos as it is in soup or in sandwiches. A slightly more elaborate version is on my recipe blog which is very good as-is or in sandwiches but I find the leftovers are less versatile and it uses a few more ingredients.

I made the leftovers into borscht.

2 1/2-3 lb beef bottom round roast (or brisket or other beef roast)
1 medium onion, chopped
4-5 cups beef stock
3 cloves garlic
3 tablespoons herbs de Provence (or whatever you have that looks good)
2-3 cups chopped hardy vegetables like carrots, celery turnips, potatoes, rutabaga, parsnips and/or winter squash (optional)
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
superfine flour (or all purpose)


Heat a small amount of oil in a large, lidded heavy-bottomed pot (like a Dutch or French oven).

Add the onions, garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Rub salt, and pepper into the roast. Sprinkle liberally with flour. (You can skip the flour if you don’t want to to form a gravy-like sauce–I skipped this because I want to use the juices/liquid in place of stock in a soup tomorrow) Place in the pan and brown on all sides.

Add the spices and stock.

Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer 2 hours. Add the vegetables.

Continue to simmer, covered, 1 hour or until the meat is very tender.