This is an example of the kind of dish that uses simple ingredients and a particular method to create something with complex flavors and hearty appeal. Any beef eater knows pot roast, and even my mother had "the" recipe. What follows will be my suggested recipe, but, of course, it draws upon several sources. Think of it as Pioneer Woman crossed with Julia Childs.
One 3 to 5 pound chuck roast
One large or two medium onions, peeled and halved, with sten and end removed
Two large peeled carrots
6 to 8 red potatoes, skin on and halved
1/2 cup dry red wine
1 rounded tablespoon tomato paste
1 quart beef stock
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 Tablespoon Herbs de Provence
2 bay leaves
salt and pepper
Pre-heat the oven to 250 degrees and place the rack low middle.
Heat the olive oil in a dutch oven to the smoke point. While it heats salt and pepper the chuck roast generously. Sear both sides of the roast to dark brown and remove the roast to a plate.
In the oil and beef fat, brown the onion and carrots. In the picture below, the vegetables are only part way browned.
When the vegetables are well caramelized but not yet cooked, add the tomato paste and smear it to cook through. Next add the red wine to deglaze the pan and cook it until it thickens nearly to paste. Add 2 cups of the beef stock and lay the roast on the carrots. Arrange the onions on the side. Add the herbs, the bay leaves, and the Worcestershire sauce. Add enough additional beef stock to bring the fluid level halfway up the sides of the beef.
Bring the dish to a boil, cover the pot and place it in the oven. Depending on the roast size, cook time will be 4 to 6 hours. The roast is done when a fork slides easily into the meat at all locations.
No, I did not forget the potatoes. Approximately 1 hour before the estimated finish time, add the potatoes into the jus. That way they will cook, but not become mushy.
To prepare this dish on a work day, the night before you follow the directions as far as deglazing the pan and add all of the ingredients other than the roast. Then in the morning, pour the vegetables and fluid in a slow cooker and add the roast, adjust the fluid level and set the cooker to low. As soon as you arrive home, add the potatoes and serve with strained jus when they are done.