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America's test kitchen classic beef pot roast


Pot roast may be a dinner tradition, but all too often, it’s dry, bland, and inordinately time-consuming. Happily, Christopher Kimball and the crew at America’s Test Kitchen have taken on the classic, testing and re-testing recipes until they arrived at this version – the ultimate Simple Pot Roast.

You can watch them whip it up on the America's Test Kitchen: Season 11 DVD, now available on the PBS website, or try it yourself with the recipe ATK has graciously provided

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  • 1 boneless chuck-eye roast (3 1/2 to 4 pounds), pulled into two pieces at natural seam and trimmed of fat (see note)
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 medium onions, halved and sliced thin (about 2 cups)
  • 1 large carrot, chopped medium (about 1 cup)
  • 1 celery rib, chopped medium (about 3/4 cup)
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed through garlic press (about 2 teaspoons)
  • 1 cup beef broth, plus 1 to 2 cups for sauce (see note)
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine, plus 1/4 cup for sauce
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 sprig plus 1/4 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • Ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar


Servings 6
Adapted from


Step 1

1. Sprinkle pieces of meat with 1 tablespoon salt (1 1/2 teaspoons if using table salt), place on wire rack set in rimmed baking sheet, and let stand at room temperature 1 hour.

2. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 300 degrees F. Heat butter in heavy-bottomed Dutch oven over medium heat. When foaming subsides, add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and beginning to brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Add carrot and celery; continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes longer. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in 1 cup broth, 1/2 cup wine, tomato paste, bay leaf, and thyme sprig; bring to simmer.

3. Pat beef dry with paper towels and season generously with pepper. Using 3 pieces of kitchen twine, tie each piece of meat into loaf shape for even cooking.

4. Nestle meat on top of vegetables. Place large piece of foil over pot and cover tightly with lid; transfer pot to oven. Cook beef until fully tender and sharp knife easily slips in and out of meat, 3 1/2 to 4 hours, turning halfway through cooking.

5. Transfer roasts to cutting board and tent loosely with foil. Strain liquid through mesh strainer into 4-cup liquid measuring cup. Discard bay leaf and thyme sprig. Transfer vegetables to blender jar. Allow liquid to settle 5 minutes, then skim any fat off surface.

Add beef broth as necessary to bring liquid amount to 3 cups. Place liquid in blender with vegetables and blend until smooth, about 2 minutes. Transfer sauce to medium saucepan and bring to simmer over medium heat.

6. While sauce heats, remove twine from roast and slice against grain into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Transfer meat to large serving platter. Stir chopped thyme, 1/4 cup wine, and balsamic vinegar into sauce and season to taste with salt and pepper. Spoon half of sauce over meat; pass remaining sauce separately.

Serves 6 to 8

Excerpted from America’s Test Kitchen, Episode 1101: Old-Fashioned Sunday Dinners © 2011 America’s Test Kitchen. Photograph by Carl Tremblay.

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