Cast Iron

Fennel and Onion Braised Pot Roast with Carrots

October 22, 2012
4 Ratings
Photo by Tom Hirschfeld/
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

I used a small chuck round roast. Be forewarned it will shrink a lot, ours turned out to be about a 5-ounce portion per person. We aren't eating as much meat as we used to, so it was perfect for us. If you need to up the size of the roast, do so, just realize the cooking time might vary a little. —thirschfeld

What You'll Need
  • 2 pounds rolled chuck roast, salted on all sides and left on a cooling rack set over a tray and uncovered in the fridge
  • 1 1/2 cups fennel bulb, trimmed, core removed and julienned
  • 1 /12 cups yellow onion, peeled, trimmed, and julienned
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons rosemary, minced
  • 2 teaspoons fennel seeds, crushed
  • 2 cups carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch rounds
  • 2 1/2 cups dry red wine
  • kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
  1. Heat the oven to 325?F. Place a 4-quart enameled cast iron pot over medium high heat. When it is hot, add a glug or two of oil. You want to just coat the bottom of the pot.
  2. Pepper the roast and seat it till it is deep brown and delicious on all sides. Adjust the heat if necessary to keep from burning the oil. Remove the roast to the tray you had it on.
  3. Add the fennel bulb and onion to the pan. Season the vegetables with a heavy pinch or two of salt and a few grinds of pepper. Sweat the veggies until they become soft. Add the fennel seed and the rosemary. Once the two herbs become fragrant, add the wine.
  4. Bring the wine to a boil then reduce the heat to a simmer. Snuggle the roast into the onions, fennel and wine. Then, surround the roast with the carrots. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Cover the pot with the lid.
  5. Slide the whole pot into the heated oven and let it bake for 1 /12 to 2 hours. You want to be able to slice the meat so don't cook it so far it shreds.
  6. When the roast is done remove the roast from the pot and cover it with foil. Place the pot over medium high heat and bring the sauce to a boil. Reduce the liquid by half. Taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning.
  7. If the roast is still warm, slice it and serve. If you want to warm it up a touch put it back into the pot before slicing.
  8. Serve.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Audrey Chan
    Audrey Chan
  • Starmade
  • Micki Balder
    Micki Balder
  • AntoniaJames
  • Kathy Cooks
    Kathy Cooks

20 Reviews

missshelly August 6, 2020
Delicious! My roast was nearly 3lbs. I added potatoes on top as well and used 3 cups of merlot. I should have added the potatoes later on as I couldn't boil down the sauce because they were becoming too soft.
Great recipe! Thank you
Audrey C. May 3, 2020
My roast came quite dry & not soft & juicy as I put 1 hour cos my sauce was drying up in the oven. Do you need longer to make it come out soft & juicy? My carrots also wine colour as I hour in oven. I love the sauce though & add mushrooms next time as I love mushrooms 💛💛💛
James February 25, 2019
Delicious. The fennel/rosemary combination made the gravy great.

A few modifications that improved this in my view. Instead of browning on stovetop and braiding in Dutch oven, I roasted the meat an hour first in a roasting pan. Convention oven for great browning.

All veggies were prepared in advance-garlic, herbs, course salt and pepper and olive oil—and added them after an hour so they weren’t overcooked. Also added can of beef broth as wine was evaporating in open pan.

Total roasting time aboit 2 1/2 hrs. I like my roast shredding. At the end, added some tomato paste to thicken the gravy in the pan. The gravy was thick, rich and full of flavor. Veggies were perfectly done.
Starmade January 21, 2018
Made this yesterday, possibly the best pot roast I ever had; I think the salt trick took it over the top, but everything else about it seemed perfect and also perfectly simple.
Micki B. December 24, 2015
I'm excited to make this, but realized my dutch oven is definitely bigger than 4qt, and I'm afraid it'll be too big to use for such a small amount of meat. Do you think it'll be ok in a bigger dutch oven, or would it be better to just use a slow cooker instead, which is much closer in size to what you used?
AntoniaJames November 30, 2015
We enjoyed this tremendously. I made twice as much as we needed for dinner. Leftovers handsomely filled sandwiches on my homemade baguettes, and were also used on open-faced sandwiches with extra sauce, while leaving plenty to spare for a marvelous beef stew.
This recipe is a keeper. Thank you, Tom. ;o)
AntoniaJames November 5, 2015
Tom, would you cook for about the same length of time if using a shoulder roast? Thank you. ;o)
Radamik February 23, 2015
Recipe worked okay. I thought that the amount of rosemary could be reduced to 1TBSP however. I also cooked the roast at 250 F for 2.5 hours and it worked out fine. Thanks for sharing.
arcane54 February 4, 2015
Sure miss thirschfield on the site... Your bit of Midwest honest cooking reminds me of home.
Lucy November 21, 2013
So glad you added fennel; it adds a depth of flavor. Can't wait to make this :)
Kathy C. March 8, 2013
This was divine. I did keep it in the refrigerator for over 24 hours with the salt as suggested. So delicious. I also added mushrooms and that added another layer of deliciousness as suggested by drbabs..genius...
drbabs January 13, 2013
Tom, I eat very little beef these days, but my husband was craving pot roast, so I made this today. It was amazing. We loved the fennel and rosemary. I added mushrooms, too. Thanks so much for a great recipe.
Laurelb December 4, 2012
Made this tonight. Really flavorful sauce. Doubled the carrots and added mushrooms. For presentation next time I would spoon the veggies over the meat and then add some other veg or potatoes for color contrast
PickyNoMore November 26, 2012
I made this last night. Definitely a hit with my wife. I took the hint from earlier comments and added mushrooms (Seconded!). In general, I was a little bit more conservative with the salt, a bit more liberal with the pepper and added .5 tbsp of butter to sweet the sauce ever so slightly with a tbsp of flour to thicken. All together a VERY flavorful sauce and a wonderful dish for the 2 of us (2 nights). Enjoy!!!
Laurelb November 25, 2012
Why do you salt the roast? How long do you leave it for like that? Thanks
thirschfeld November 27, 2012
I salt the roast, usually 24 hours in advance but at least an hour before I want to start cooking it, so the seasoning has time to permeate the meat adding a layer of flavor. You will find that it is much easier to caramelize the meat during the browning stage because the exterior of the roast lacks moisture. This also causes it to splatter less when it hits the hot oil.
Jennface November 6, 2012
I made this last weekend and it was INCREDIBLE! I added mushrooms to the recipe, which added another layer of deliciousness. I can't recommend this recipe highly enough.
Muse November 4, 2012
This looks lovely...will be sure to try it soon...thank you for the recipe!
janecf October 24, 2012
Thank you for the lovely scene, and meal! I am currently without an oven so wonder whether some of these braises can take place wholly on the stove top?
thirschfeld October 26, 2012
yes you can do the entire braise on the stove top if you want