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Hearty Beef Pot Roast a la Julia Child’s Boeuf Bourguignon


In my opinion, this is cool weather comfort food at its best. During several hours of gentle oven braising in red wine and herbs, the chuck roast becomes tender, succulent and infused with flavor, And it permeates the air with a glorious scent.

Unlike typical American beef pot roast recipes, this one calls for a classic French technique that has served me well since I learned it from Julia--adding some beef bones to the pot to “beef” up the broth. The beef bones are oven-roasted first, which further enriches the flavor of the final dish. The step is fairly effortless, and I think nicely doctors the not-so-hot canned beef broth that’s usually around.

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  • 2 1/2 pounds beef chuck roast, boneless, trimmed of excess fat
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose white flour
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil or other vegetable oil, divided
  • 2 cups full-bodied dry red wine
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme leaves
  • 1 large bay leaf
  • 2 1/2 pounds beef bones, preferably marrow bones
  • 3 1/2 cups canned beef broth, preferably low-sodium
  • 9 1/2 cups 1 1/4-inch chunks or lengths mixed vegetables, such as unpeeled red bliss potatoes, carrots, onions, rutabaga, parsnips, and celery


Servings 5
Adapted from


Step 1

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees fahrenheit.

Pat the roast dry with paper towels. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and lightly pat with flour on both sides. In a 4- to 6-quart Dutch oven or similar heavy stove-top and oven-proof pot, heat 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil to hot but not smoking. Add the beef to the pot and brown, turning several times, until well browned on both sides. add a little more oil if necessary to prevent burning.

Add the wine, 3 cups beef broth, thyme, and bay leaf to the Dutch oven. Bring to a boil. Cover tightly. Transfer to the center oven rack. Reduce the heat to 375 degrees fahrneheit. Braise for 2 1/2 to 3 hours, or until the beef is tender when pierced in the center with a fork.

Meanwhile, in a medium-large roasting pan, stir the beef bones with 1 1/2 tablespoons oil until coated. Roast the bones for 1 hour, or until very well browned. Discard the fat. Transfer the beef bones to the Dutch oven. Add the remaining 1/2 cup beef broth to the roasting pan. Using a wooden spoon, scrape up the browned bits from the bottom, then add the mixture to the Dutch oven. Continue cooking the roast, tightly covered.

Meanwhile, stir together the vegetables, 1 1/2 tablespoons oil, and salt and pepper to taste in the roasting pan previously used. Roast, stirring occasionally, 50 to 60 minutes, or until the vegetables are just tender when tested with a fork. Set aside.

When the pot roast is tender, arrange it and the vegetables in a large, deep, heat-proof serving dish or platter. Cover and return to the oven to stay warm. If the broth has not reduced to 3 cups or less, return the Dutch oven to the burner over medium-high heat. Cook briskly, uncovered, until the broth reduces to about 3 cups. (If the broth already measures less than 2 cups, add about 1/2 cup more canned beef broth or water to it.) Discard the bones. Place the broth in a 4-cup measure; let stand until the fat rises to the surface. Skim or pour off the fat. Pour the de-fatted broth over the pot roast and vegetables (reheat the broth to hot first, if necessary) and serve.

The pot roast is also excellent reheated. It will keep, refrigerated, for up to 4 days.

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