Is it soup, or is it an entrée? Call it whatever you want, but this richly flavored main dish is sure to get your attention. And once you taste the end product, you won’t believe how GOOD it is with very little work and not a lot of ingredients. It is rich folks, so a simple side salad pairs well.
We already know that a large chunk of time is necessary to achieve a successful fork-tender, falling-apart pot roast. Like at least three hours in the oven, depending on the size of your roast. But the good news is the low and slow oven does most of that flavor-building for you.
The credit for this recipe goes to 12tomatoes.com. Of course we usually have to make some changes to suit our preferences, one of which was the addition of four large garlic cloves. Plus we sautéed the onion and garlic in the braising pot after removing the seared roast. And next time (because that WILL be happening) we intend to increase the number of onions to 5 or 6. Then midway through the braising, about 90 minutes in, the roast was turned over so that both sides made contact with the bed of caramelizing onions.
Three cups of broth results in a brothier outcome, so if loose and yummy is your desire, stick with that. If you want more of a slice-able pot roast with French onion flavor, scale the broth back to two cups—although we don’t advise it. Much the same way it does in the original French Onion Soup incarnation, the bread soaks up a good bit of that beefy, oniony, brothy deliciousness here.
TIP: Culinary bear claws work best for shredding the roast after the braising step.
French Onion Pot Roast
- 3-4 lb. chuck roast
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 4-6 yellow onions, thinly sliced
- 4 large garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
- 3 cups beef broth
- 2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
- 5 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 baguette, cut into 1/2-inch slices (you might not need the entire loaf)
- 1 1/2 cups Gruyere cheese, grated
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Preheat oven to 325°F.
- Season roast liberally with salt and pepper, and some of the thyme.
- Add olive oil to a Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat.
- Once oil is hot, add roast and sear until deep brown, 4-5 minutes per side. Remove roast and set aside.
- Add onions and garlic to pot, sauté for 4-5 minutes. Nestle the remaining thyme into the onions, place the chuck roast on top, add beef broth and Worcestershire sauce. Lay a sheet of parchment over the top of the pot extending beyond the edges, cover, and transfer to oven.
- After 90 minutes, turn the roast over, recover the pot with parchment and lid, then cook another 1 1/2 to 2 hours, for a total of 3 to 3 1/2 hours.
- Remove from oven and remove thyme sprigs. Shred beef into chunks.
- Turn oven to broil on high.
- Top with baguette slices and Gruyere and return to oven, uncovered. Broil until cheese is bubbly and golden brown, about 2 minutes. (Under our gas broiler it took 5 minutes before the cheesy baguettes became golden brown.)