Beef Pot Roast

Roast Beef

Roast Beef

by Cat, Sept 2008 (photo, right, from Wikimedia Commons)

When I lived in Portland, there was a place just out of town on the Columbia Highway (route along the Columbia River to Astoria), called the Yankee Pot Roast. It seemed like it was never busy – seldom any cars in the parking lot – but the food was really good. Yankee Pot Roast was the signature item on the menu but there were other delicious choices too. Plus you could be served family-style if you wished, something I had not experienced since leaving home for college in the ’60s. I used to take my Mom there when she visited; she loved it.

Their pot roast was made with brisket and was definitely fall-apart-fork-tender in a wonderfully flavored sauce. But the pot roast that Mom or Dad made at home was a rump roast cooked with potatoes and carrots (plus other root veggies if they had any on hand). That was a bit of a different texture but still delicious, and it is this version I want to replicate.

I love braising meat, either stove top in my saucier or Dutch oven, or in the oven. Either way, the added moisture keeps the meat from drying out.

Pot Roast

This version is based on a recipe in Nourishing Traditions, by Sally Fallon with Mary G. Enig, PhD., and a Yankee Pot Roast recipe on Food (1). I love Sally’s idea of marinating the beef for several days in buttermilk (or yogurt), but today is Friday and I want to make this for Sunday dinner, so it will only have 2 days to marinate.

Sally recommends a rump roast, top or bottom round roast, or chuck roast, but you could also use brisket. I plan to use a rump roast for this first test.  See also Fine Red Wine-Braised Pot Roast (2).

The original version uses a 3-lb roast; I’ve added amounts of ingredients for 2-lb roast in parenthesis.

Ingredients & Equipment:

  • Marinate
  • 3 lb (2 lb) roast (brisket, rump, top round, bottom round, or chuck)
  • 4 cups (2½ cups), or enough to cover the roast:  buttermilk or yogurt (for marinating, only)
  • Prep: While roast is marinating:
  • 2 cups (1½ cups) rich homemade Beef StockPotato Peel Broth, or Vegetable Broth
  • 2 (1½) onions, sliced and roughly chopped
  • 12 (8) small red potatoes; or 6 – 9 (3-4) larger red potatoes, cut in half; or half as many potatoes plus 4-5 (2-3) turnips
  • 1 lb (8 oz) carrots, cut into sticks or sliced diagonally, or baby carrots left whole
  • Roast:
  • 2 (1-1⅔) Tbsp butter + 2 (1-1⅔) Tbsp lard or coconut oil
  • 1 cup (½ cup) red wine
  • sprigs of fresh thyme, tied together
  • ½ (¼) tsp crushed green peppercorns
  • 1 – 2  (½ – 1) Tbsp arrowroot or tapioca flour mixed with 1 – 2 (½ – 1) Tbsp water *
  • Unrefined sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Equipment:
  • for marinating: bowl or glass loaf pan that will just contain the roast
  • skewer or needle
  • flameproof, heavy-bottomed casserole with lid
  • platter

* Alternately use a buerre manie of 1 Tbsp each butter and unbleached white flour.


  1. Marinate (this step can be skipped): Puncture meat all over with skewer or needle. Place in bowl or glass loaf pan just large enough to contain the roast.
  2. Pour buttermilk over and allow to marinate in the refrigerator several days, turning occasionally.
  3. Prep: Prepare broth/stock, if you don’t have any put away.
  4. Veggies & herbs:
    1. Onion: slice and roughly chop.
    2. Potatoes: scrub but don’t peel, then cut larger ones in half.
    3. Turnips (if using): cut large ones into quarters or smaller ones in half.
    4. Carrots: if using baby carrots, rinse them, and cut into half lengthwise if greater than ½-inch diameter. If using larger carrots, scrub then cut into sticks, or slice on diagonal.
  5. Remove meat from buttermilk (if you marinated the meat). Dry meat with paper towels, whether you marinated or not. Dredge in flour, if desired.
  6. Cook: Preheat oven to 300° F. *
  7. Sauté onion in heavy-bottomed casserole using butter/oil.
  8. Add more butter/lard/oil to casserole if necessary, and brown meat on all sides, with onion in the pan to caramelize. Remove meat and pour out fat.
  9. Add wine, stock, and herbs; bring to a boil. Skim. Return meat to pot and braise in preheated oven,* covered for 2 – 4 hours or until fork tender.
  10. One hour before serving, add veggies.
  11. Remove meat and veggies to a platter; bring sauce to a boil on stovetop. Add arrowroot/tapioca mixed with water (or use a buerre manie), until desired thickness is reached. Season to taste.

* Alternately, cook, covered, on stove top, at a slow simmer; or in a crock-pot on low setting for 3 – 6 hours.


1/4 – 8, 2013: Used 2 lb rump roast and about 2 cups homemade yogurt to marinate in pyrex loaf pan. Placed pan in loose plastic bag, then into fridge on Jan 4. Started cooking Jan 7, and roast went into oven at 5:30 PM. Added veggies at 8 PM. Veggies are ready at 9 PM so removed them. Roast needs a bit more time. It’s tender, but not fall-apart tender. Removed meat from oven at 9:45; it’s a bit dry. Transferred to fridge at 10:15 PM for overnight because too late to eat. Next day reheated roast. but forgot to add note as to how it was after reheating.

5/25/14: Made as written EXCEPT I did not marinate in buttermilk, but did dredge with flour (basically following method for Yankee Pot Roast (1). Used 1 ¾ lb beef rump roast. After cooking onion and then searing the roast, I removed roast and onions, deglazed pan with red wine, then added broth, herbs, peppercorns and Unrefined sea salt. Returned beef to pot, brought to boil, then reduced to simmer, using simmer plate, at 4 PM. Added potatoes and carrots at 6:15 PM; they were tender at 6:50 so removed them to a bowl to keep warm. Meat beginning to tenderize, but has a way to go. AT 7:15 PM, the narrow end of the cut was fork tender, so I removed the meat and thickened the sauce with buerre manie. Result: Served slices from the narrow end, with veggies and sauce – delicious! The meat is a little dry but not overly so. When I reheat the leftover meat in the sauce, it will continue to cook and become tender.

9/26/21: Thawed a frozen 2 lb rump roast; did not marinate nor dredge with flour. Preheated oven to 300° F. Prepped 1½ onions (chopped coarsely), mix of 2 red potatoes (cut in half) and 1 large turnip (cut in quarters),  8 oz baby carrots (whole because they are small), and  2-3 sprigs fresh thyme from my garden. Sautéed onions in mix of melted butter and coconut oil until golden, then seared rump on all 3 sides. Removed rump and onions, then deglazed casserole with ½ cup of Merlot; added 1½ cups homemade beef stock, fresh sprigs of thyme, crushed peppercorns and Unrefined sea saltReturned rump to casserole, adding filtered water if needed, then covered with lid. Into preheated oven in at 6:05 PM. Checked at 8 PM; nowhere near done. Added half of the veggies and put back in oven. Checked at 8:45: veggies done but roast is not; removed veggies to a bowl, then added the other half of veggies. 9:30 PM: second batch of veggies are done, but roast is not. Removed veggies to bowl; will let roast cook another half-hour. 10 PM: roast almost done – maybe another 30 -45 min, but it’s my bedtime, so put it in fridge with stock and veggies for overnight, and finish cooking tomorrow. 9/27: 4 PM: removed from fridge to counter, to warm up a bit and melt the fat. Removed all veggies except 1 half-potato, 1 turnip wedge, and 8 baby carrots (which I’ll reheat separately from the rump, to eat tonight). Preheated oven, then put rump (with the juices) into oven at 5:30 PM, to tenderize. Also mixed 1 Tbsp tapioca starch with 1 Tbsp filtered water, to be used later to thicken juices into gravy.  6 PM: placed veggies (in separate container) in oven to warm up. 6:30 PM: Rump is as done as it will get, so turned off oven and removed rump to platter (left veggies in to keep warm while I made the gravy).  Transferred juices to saucepan, then added tapioca starch mix and whisked. Needed a bit more tapioca/water mix; also more salt, pepper and a bit of powdered garlic. 7 PM: Removed veggies to platter, and served rump and veggies with gravy, and with braised fresh green beans and quarter of a beet. Result: Rump was kinda dry, but still delicious with the gravy. The mix of red potato and turnip was also delicious with the gravy!


  1. Food, Yankee Pot Roast recipe (
  2. Fine, Red Wine-Braised Pot Roast (
  3. Fine, Beef Bourguignon (

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