Pot roast is one of the classic Winter foods. Savory, hearty and satisfying, everything cooks together in the same pot. No muss, no fuss. Once the initial preparation is complete, this dish requires very little attention. It just simmers away, the perfect meal for a cozy day at home.
Unlike the finger-licking gravy that accompanies Oma’s Old-Fashioned Pot Roast posted last October, my Italian pot roast is complimented by a thick and chunky sauce comprised of tomatoes, mushrooms, garlic and herbs.
This particular pot roast started with a recipe from Cook’s Country. I followed their technique exactly, changing the ingredients a bit. Perhaps the biggest change was my use of a bone-in chuck roast.
If you are a regular visitor to this site, then you know that my family and I are slowly eating through the quarter of a cow that resides in our freezer. I used bone-in chuck roast because that is what I had and I’ve never known a meat dish to suffer from being cooked on the bone. In fact, cooking meat on the bone usually enhances the flavor.
Italian Pot Roast
Adapted from a recipe from Cook’s Country
- 1 Chuck Roast – 3 to 3 1/2 lbs boneless or 4+ lbs bone-in
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 rib celery, chopped
- 1 pound mushrooms (white or cremini), quartered
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 14.5 ounces canned chopped tomatoes
- 1/2 cup tomato sauce
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 cup red wine, divided
- large garlic head, outer papery skins removed, cut in half to expose the cloves (see photo)
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 sprig fresh rosemary
- kosher salt
- freshly ground pepper
Makes 8 generous servings
Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 300 degrees F. Pat the chuck roast dry with paper towels and season generously with salt and pepper.
Heat the vegetable oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat until just smoking. Brown roast on all sides, 8 to 12 minutes. Transfer roast to large plate.
Reduce heat to medium and cook onion, celery, mushrooms, and tomato paste until vegetables begin to soften, about 8 minutes.
Add diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, sugar, water, 1/2 cup wine, garlic, and thyme.
Return roast and accumulated juices to pot and bring to simmer over medium-high heat.
Place piece of foil over pot, cover with lid, and transfer pot to oven. After an hour, flip the roast over and return to the oven. Cook for a total of 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 hours. My roast cooked the entire 3 1/2 hours. Its done when the meat is “fork tender”. It should almost fall apart as you put a fork in it. The difference between undercooked and perfect is often as little as 30 minutes so, if you are in doubt, cook your meat a little longer. When the meat is fully cooked, uncover the pot and let the roast rest in the juices for 30 minutes.
Fat will accumulate at the top (that’s the redish stuff in the lower right portion of the photo). Skim off what you can. Transfer roast to a carving board and tent with foil.
Remove and reserve the garlic head. Add the remaining 1/2 cup of wine to pot, bring to boil over medium-high heat, and cook until sauce begins to thicken, about 12 minutes. Meanwhile, carefully squeeze garlic from halves and mash into paste. Add rosemary to pot and simmer until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Remove and discard rosemary and thyme sprigs, stir in mashed garlic, and season sauce with salt and pepper.
I served mine with mashed potatoes which was very delicious. Probably goes without saying, but this makes terrific leftovers!
Also good mixed into scrambled eggs the next morning. Just sayin’.