Braise Boulud for pot roast with watermelon radish and miso.

Beef Roast with Miso and Radish

We have a refrigerator full of root vegetables from our farmer friend, Pavel. Since we vaguely recall agreeing to continue our farm share through the winter, we’ll most likely have even more daikon, black and/or watermelon radishes. With a pot roast recipe like this, we’re actually happy about it.

We’ve detailed several times our sometimes desperate search to whittle down our winter veg. Nonetheless, we’re still looking for new ways to do it—especially for watermelon radishes.

Watermelon Radishes

Watermelon radishes. Aren’t they pretty?

Like our beloved Hakurei turnips, these particular roots can be difficult to cook well, and Michelle hasn’t particularly wanted to explore them in their raw state past the occasional slices on a relish tray. After Steve had purchased many parts of beef from nearby Foxhollow Farm (taking advantage of a pre-holiday sale), Michelle was searching for a new pot roast recipe and came across this one in Braise, a cookbook by Daniel Boulud and Melissa Clark, most likely purchased on some half price table about five minutes after its 2006 publication. (The volume comes with some exceptional “advance praise” logrolling on the back cover from culinary legends/probable HarperCollins clients such as Thomas Keller, Nobu Matsuhisa and Eric Ripert.)

Beef Roast with Miso and Radish

Impressed by the sheer number of Asian sauces called for, as well as the chance to rid ourselves of root vegetables, Michelle decided to give Boulud a go, modifying his (Clark’s?) call for “Chinese Barbecue Sauce” because we didn’t have any. Instead, Michelle knocked up a combination of hoisin, soy and a few other things, mixed in miso, red chili paste, ginger, garlic and such and put the beef on to braise with the watermelon radishes.

Beef Roast with Miso and Radish

We were very happy with how this wild melange of sesame seeds, sauce and other stuff turned the roast into a salty, meaty and beefy slurry, and the radishes into soft pillows of spicy flavor buried in a bowl of rice. Add some stir-fried greens and you have an amazing meal that will leave you wishing there were more watermelon radishes around.


(adapted from Daniel Boulud and Melissa Clark’s Braise: A Journey Through International Cuisine)

  • 1 TB hoisin sauce
  • 1/2 TB soy sauce
  • 1/2 TB black bean paste 
  • 1/2 TB brown sugar
  • 2-1/2 TB red miso
  • 2 tsp. red chili paste
  • 1 TB ginger root, chopped fine
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped fine
  • 2 TB olive oil
  • 2 lb. chuck roast (at room temperature)
  • 1 onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1 TB black sesame seeds
  • 3/4 c. water
  • 1 lb. watermelon radishes, daikon or black radishes, trimmed and cut in large chunks
  • 3 scallions, white and green parts, cut in 1″ pieces
  • Additional chopped scallion greens for garnish

Preheat oven to 275°.

Mix together hoisin sauce, soy sauce, black bean paste, brown sugar, miso, chili paste, ginger and garlic in a small bowl.

Heat oil in a Dutch oven over high heat. Add beef and sear until browned on all sides. Transfer meat to a platter.

Add onion to pot and cook, stirring, for about 5 minutes.

Add sauce mixture to pan and cook, stirring, for another few minutes. Add sesame seeds, then water. Return beef to the pot, then add the radishes, pushing down into the sauce around the beef.

Bring liquid to a simmer, then cover pot and put in oven. Cook for about 2 hours, turning meat once midway through the cooking time. Then, add scallions and cook about 30 minutes more.

Serve sliced meat and radishes over rice, garnished with chopped scallion.


  1. Michelle and Steve – Oh, my: you are luck you for two reasons. First, Pavel supplies you with delicious winter veg, and second, Michelle is a collector of great cookbooks (and at discount, no less!). The flavors of this dish sound amazing – and the crisp, brightly colored scallion garnish is such a nice touch. It is hard to resist a tender, braised meat dish. You will both have great lunches tomorrow! Best – Shanna

    • I look forward to seeing what you do with it. Venison perhaps? I hope that you can find watermelon radish seeds. The roots are so beautiful. But, if you can’t, I’m sure that turnips or black radishes or daikon would work equally well. Here’s hoping for a safe and happy 2014 in the Hebrides!

  2. This sounds wonderful! I have tried a few different Asian style beef braises, all have been as magnificent as this one looks and sounds. I have never seen watermelon radish, could I sub daikon cut into chunks, or regular white fleshed red skinned radishes?

  3. Eha

    Unusual! Have to try, even tho’ it will be with daikon and tan miso! A lot of flavour there, some of which I have not put together before . . . well, I collect [shall we try collected 😉 !] cookery tomes in exactly the same way . . . so! Anyways, hope you had an enjoyable Yule and all the very best for the New Year!!

  4. Can I just say… I am drooling right now. That slow cooked pot roast looks incredible. I’ve never see watermelon radishes but I definitely agree that they’re beautiful little things. I’d definitely slice them for a salad just because their colour is so vibrant. Nice idea to use them in this dish though. Deliciousness indeed. Thanks for the recipe, happy new year you two!

  5. This must have been one flavorful pot roast, Michelle. I’ve never seen one with an ingredient list that comes close to this one. Watermelon radishes? I must find them!
    Wishing you both a very Happy New Year!

    • CRAZY ingredient list, isn’t it? Do look for the watermelon radishes. So pretty. I bet you’ll find them at a farmers market in the spring. Happy, happy 2014 to you, John!

  6. BRAISE is a great book (funny, I’d always thought of it as Melissa Clark’s rather than Daniel Boulud’s), with some great recipes–and judging by the pictures I’d say you did a great personal twist on one. Sounds delicious. Braised radishes are wonderful. Great photos too. Ken

    • Yeah, somehow I suspect that Clark did most of this book. I try to imagine the derivation of the recipe. “The name of the book includes the word ‘international’ so we better do an Asian thing. … What should it be? … I don’t know, let’s do miso. … Oh, yeah, and maybe let’s add every other Asian condiment in our refrigerators.” The amazing thing is, it really worked. I want to make it again soon.

      Happy new year to the Garum Factory!

  7. OMG, Michelle, how luscious does that look? Spectacular. Daniel Boulud is a god. That beef stew solidifies that. Plus your photo of the watermelon radish is simply gorgeous. What lucky ducks you are. Hope your New Years is fantastic.

  8. Happy New Year!!! I wish you all the best and I hope that we’ll be able to maintain our blogship for a long time. I was so lucky that I found your blog in 2013..

  9. This indeed looks like a perfect “braise.” Meltingly tender meat, pretty watermelon radishes, and a superb sauce? We’re experiencing a blizzard right now, and I could really go for that!

  10. Wow. I’ve never seen watermelon radishes!!! Amazing!
    Sounds like you don’t think much of Daniel Boulud? Or did I misinterpret. Just wondering.
    I’ve been to Cafe Boulud in NYC and it was incredible – so much so that we went twice. Warm Madeleines come with the check.
    And we’ve been to Bar Boulud in London – an equally wonderful experience.
    And I have to add this – go to Le Bernardin if you haven’t. It keeps winning awards, and deservedly so. An wonderful and unique experience, especially since it only serves fish.
    I probably sound defensive of these chefs who I don’t know, and never will meet! I just didn’t know if you think they’re in some chef mafia or something!!! Which would be very interesting!

    • We had a very nice dinner at Daniel once and, even after all these years, marvel that they did 2 completely different tasting menus for the 2 of us. And, yes, before we mostly gave up fish because of its lack of sustainability, we had some great meals at Le Bernardin, too. The point above was just that this particular cookbook has the earmarks of a “corporate package deal.” Not that this wasn’t a great recipe. It was. And goodness knows that few chefs these days actually write their own cookbooks.

      • Okay… now I understand. My mother actually gave me Daniel the cookbook for Christmas and it’s pretty amazing. Very much like the one of Charlie Trotter called Meat. I’ll probably never make anything from either of them, but they’re fun to look at!
        I like Eric Ripert (isn’t it fun to pretend we actually know these people?) because he’s best friends with Anthony Bourdain. That just nudges him up a few notches in my book!
        Nice that you were able to to the Bernardin more than once. I was only there when my younger daughter was interviewing with Sotheby’s a few years back, which is why we also went to Cafe Boulud, Otherwise, we just don’t get to NY. So many great restaurants, but I don’t have a good NYC travel partner.
        No complaints. Life is good.
        HOpe you have a fabulous 2014 Michelle!

  11. I haven’t ever done much cooking with radishes (I usually eat them raw with lots of butter and salt) but my husband has always said they are great braised or roasted. This dish certainly looks good enough to convince me!

    • Yes, for sure, butter and salt is the best way for radishes. (Just thinking about it makes me long for spring!) I was dubious about this because I’ve always been underwhelmed by cooked radishes—largely because of the mush factor. But a refrigerator full of those watermelon ones (however beautiful they may be) convinced me to give it a try. And, really, it was one of the best things I’ve made in a while.

    • It was really good, Daisy. I can’t wait to make it again. Boo-hooing about watermelon radishes, though. A couple of weeks ago I bought a huge bag at the farmers’ market, then left them in the car during Polar Vortex I. Needless to say, they didn’t survive the 0° temps. 😦

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