Classic Pot Roast

Today’s installment of 12 Days of Oscar brings us the last Oscar winner in this year’s lineup.  The 1973 film The Way We Were tells, mainly in flashbacks, the story of Katie Morosky (Barbara Streisand) and Hubbell Gardiner (Robert Redford) who meet in college and despite their immense differences are drawn to each other.   Their differences continue to put a wedge between them despite numerous attempts at making the relationship work.  Finally they part ways and ultimately realize that all they really share are the memories.  The Way We Were won two Oscars: Best Original Song (“The Way We Were”) and Best Music, Original Score.  The Way We Were was also nominated for four additional Oscars: Best Actress in a Lead Role (Barbara Streisand, lost to Glenda Jackson for A Touch of Class), Best Cinematography (lost to Cries & Whispers), Best Set Decoration (lost to The Sting), and Best Costume Design (lost to The Sting).

Hubbell calls Katie during World War II, unable to find a hotel room in New York City and asking if he can stay at her place for a few days.  She excitedly agrees and when she gets home after rushing through a grocery store, Hubbell is leaving her apartment.  Bags of groceries in hand, she calls to him and then explains that she planned on making dinner.  Excitedly she explains that she has planned on baked potatoes, and steak, and salad, and fresh baked pie and that she would have made a pot roast but didn’t know if Hubbell had ever had pot roast, or if he liked pot roast and how anyway there wasn’t time for pot roast and so she bought steaks.  Later in the movie, Katie tells Hubbell “Tell me I’m not good enough. Tell me you don’t like my politics. Tell me I talk too much. You don’t like my perfume, my family, my pot roast.”

Unlike Katie, pot roast is simple and uncomplicated. Actually it’s a very basic dish and there isn’t much fuss to making a perfect pot roast. Season the beef, sear the beef, add it to the pot with some vegetables and let your oven do the rest.  When it’s so tender it falls apart, it’s ready to serve.  I like to serve this with some mashed potatoes because they soak up the pan sauce so well. Some recipes call for the potatoes to cook along with the meat and the carrots and while that isn’t wrong, I do find that I like it much better with the mashed potatoes instead.  Be sure to choose a well-marbled roast, and allow plenty of time.

pot roast

Pot Roast


  • 1 4-5 pound chuck roast
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 whole onions
  • 6-8 whole carrots or 1 1/2- 2 C. baby carrots
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 C. red wine or beef broth
  • 2-3 C. beef stock
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 3 sprigs fresh rosemary


Heat the oven to 275 degrees.

Liberally sprinkle the roast all over with salt and pepper.

Heat a large oven-safe pot or Dutch oven over medium high heat.

Add 2-3 Tbsp. of olive oil to the heated pot.

Slice off the end and the tip of each onion, peel off the outer layer, and cut each onion into two halves.

If using whole carrots, cut them into 2 inch slices (large chunks).  You can peel them if you want to but just rinsing them is sufficient.

When the oil is hot but not smoking, add the halved onions and let them brown on one side (1-2 minutes). Turn them and let them brown on the other side, and then remove them to a plate.

Put the carrots into the same very hot pan and stir them around for 1-2 minutes until they’re slightly browned.  The idea is to add some color, not to cook the carrots.  Remove the carrots to the same plate as the onions.

If necessary, add a little more olive oil to the hot pan.

Place the meat in the pan and sear it for about 1-2 minutes per side, until the roast is brown all over.

Remove the roast to a plate.

With the burner still on medium-high pour either red wine or beef broth into the pan and deglaze the pan, scraping the bottom of the pot to pull up the flavor.

Place the roast back into the pan and add about 2-3 C. of beef stock- enough to cover the roast halfway.

Add the onion and carrots to the pan, along with the rosemary and thyme.

Put a lid on the pot and roast for 3-4 hours (3 hours for a 3 lb. roast, 4 hours for a 4-5 lb. roast).

To serve, remove the roast from the pot (as best you can, it will be falling apart) and roughly slice it or shred it with two forks.  Serve with the carrots and onions (and if desired, some mashed potatoes).

Source: The Pioneer Woman


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