Simmering a bit more summeriness into beef pot roast

Pot roast and dumplingsPot roast is something we usually associate with colder months here in Gourmandistan. But we had a really cool 4th of July weekend, and even as the weather increasingly becomes hot and sticky around here, we cannot stop buying beef from our biodynamic neighbors up the road. A slab of chuck roast recently caught our eye and demanded we do something with it.

Foxhollow Farm cows

Yeah, we think they look happy.

With the help of Alice Waters and Bradley Ogden, Michelle came up with this lighter-than-expected pot roast. She substituted a white wine for Alice’s recommended red, which made for a lively, light yet rich gravy. It went well with the grass-fed beef (from “happy” cows, we’ve been told) and the garden-fresh parsley and chives in Ogden’s herb dumplings. Michelle also roasted the vegetables separately, adding them to the side of the simmered beef and gravy to avoid, as she puts it, “mush.” The result? A beefy summer simmer worth savoring indeed.


(Pot roast adapted from Alice Waters’ The Art of Simple Food/dumplings adapted from Bradley Ogden’s Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner)

Pot roast:

  • 3 lb. grass-fed chuck roast
  • Salt & pepper
  • 2 TB olive oil
  • A couple of TB flour
  • 1 TB butter
  • 1 onion, peeled and quartered
  • 2 carrots, peeled and cut into pieces
  • 2 celery stalks, cut into pieces
  • 4 or 5 garlic cloves, peeled and halved
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • 3 or 4 thyme sprigs
  • 2 or 3 bay leaves
  • Handful of parsley sprigs
  • 3/4 c. white wine
  • Several cups of beef broth (preferably homemade)

Season roast generously with salt and pepper. Let come to room temperature.

Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven or large pot with a cover. Place roast in pot and brown for several minutes on both sides. Sprinkle flour over on both sides as you turn it.

Add butter. When melted, add vegetables and herbs. Pour wine over, then beef stock. Add enough liquid, adding water if necessary, to come up almost to the top of the meat. Bring almost to a boil, then reduce heat and cover.

Cook for several hours (2 or 3) until meat is tender and falling from the bones.

Remove meat from broth. Place on a plate and tent with aluminum foil.

Strain liquid through a fine strainer. Press vegetables through strainer, pushing through with a spoon to extract all flavors. Discard remaining solids. Let the liquid sit until fat rises to the top and skim off (or use a fat separator).

Place strained and skimmed liquid in a large saucepan. Boil over high heat until reduced by about half.

Herb Dumplings:

  • 1 c. all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • Generous amount of freshly ground pepper
  • 2 TB cold butter, chopped into small pieces
  • 2 or 3 TB chopped parsley
  • 2 or 3 TB minced chives
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/3 c. + maybe a little more milk

Sift flour, baking powder, salt and pepper together. Incorporate butter with your fingers, as if making biscuits. Stir in herbs.

Mix together egg yolks and 1/3 c. milk in a small bowl. Add liquid to dry ingredients, mixing with a fork. Add more milk, if necessary, to make a stiff dough. Do not over-mix.

Bring pot roast sauce to a simmer. Drop dumpling dough, by rounded teaspoons, into sauce. Cover and simmer for about 10 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.


Place slices of beef in center of a platter. Surround with roasted potatoes, roasted carrots and dumplings (removed from sauce with a slotted spoon). Pour sauce over beef.  Garnish with lots of fresh chopped parsley and other herbs.


  1. I don´t stop buying beef either when it´s getting hotter. Michelle´s summer makeover for this pot roast sound great, especially those vegetables, – who wants mush when one can have roasted carrots instead? I´m getting hungry writing this though breakfast is hardly over!

  2. That sounds delicious. I had the most amazing steamed pudding containing lamb and kidney on Sunday and it really didn’t matter that it was a hot sunny day 🙂

  3. Wow I love that you cooked the dumplings in the roasting sauce! I also like the lightness of the white wine. I really do love a good pot roast and I like that you’re using happy cows from your neighbors. I’m sure it makes a difference. This looks like a really great meal that I would love. And Alice Waters? Say no more.

    • Thanks, Amanda. I’ve made those dumplings for years and they are really good! I’ve been fascinated lately by a recipe I saw where they put wild blueberries in the pot roast dumplings. Sounds so interesting. Unfortunately, we don’t get the little wild ones here and I think the big ones might be just too much.

    • They are, Nadia! It’s not something I ever had growing up. (Do you figure it’s sort of a German heritage thing, maybe?) But I’ve made those for years and they are delicious.

  4. I have to agree with the above, pot roast is definitely not only for wintertime and your dumplings… Can only imagine how delicious they are simmering in the roasting sauce… My stomach is positively growling

    • Thank you! I have been thinking lately how so many of the great local things we’re getting now (cabbage, potatoes and such) lend themselves to more wintery dishes. Oh well, we’ve got air conditioning, right?

  5. I love beef stew served at room temperature or even colder, the day after they were made, on a hot summer day. I think Elizabeth David says something similar in one of her French books, but any beef simmered with a little red wine, not too many tomatoes, black olives and capers, for instance, makes for a splendid summer dish, eaten cold
    + when I make pot roasts I prefer to use far less liquid – in my experience it makes for a more flavored piece of meat – and to cook the meat longer, at lower temperature, I guess: I braise my meat at about 90-110 degree C and so far this has given me the best and most reliable results
    + GREATLY envy that u have such fab neighborhood farm (and it is biodynamic too!!) – lucky people
    ciao and thanks for this lovely recipe

  6. There are few dishes as satisfying as a good pot roast with vegetables. I do like your recipe very much and I am encouraged to get busy making my own. Such a wonderful melding of flavors and juices to sop bread in. Yum.

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