french onion pot roast
photo by Jennifer Johnson
I grew up hanging around the kitchen of my parents’ restaurant, where there was always a big pot of onion soup simmering on the stove (it was one of the staples on the menu). Today, I’ve taken all of the flavors of my dad’s recipe and turned them into a mouthwatering pot roast, perfect for slow-cooking and filling the house with enticing aromas.
2 ounces Gruyère (or Swiss) cheese, chopped
3 tablespoons panko breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
3 medium onions, peeled and sliced
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons dry sherry
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 3 3/4-pound boneless beef chuck roast, tied
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/4 cup white wine
3-3 1/2 cups low-sodium (or homemade) beef stock
1 bay leaf
Make cheesy breadcrumbs. Add cheese to a food processor and pulse until coarse crumbs form (you should have approximately 1/2 cup when finished). Transfer to a bowl and add breadcrumbs, toss, and set aside.
In a Dutch oven, heat 1 tablespoon butter over medium heat. Add onions and sugar and cook until golden brown, stirring constantly, 20-25 minutes. Once caramelized, add 2 tablespoons sherry to pan, scraping up browned bits from bottom. Remove pan from heat and transfer onions to a bowl and set aside. Return Dutch oven to medium-high heat. Add oil and remaining 1 tablespoon butter.
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Pat roast completely dry and season on all sides with salt and pepper. Place roast in pan, browning all sides (including ends), 15-20 minutes. Transfer roast to a plate and set aside. Remove pot from heat and carefully drain grease from pan.
Return pot to medium-high heat and slowly add remaining 1/4 cup sherry and wine to pan to deglaze, scraping up browned bits from bottom. Add roast back to pot along with 3 cups stock and bay leaf. Bring to a simmer. Remove from heat, cover, and place in oven. Roast for 2 1/2 hours, turning roast once halfway during cooking. Add caramelized onions to pot (add more stock if necessary) and cook for another 1 hour.
Transfer roast to a cutting board and remove twine.
Using a spoon, skim any fat off surface of cooking liquid. Turn oven to broil.
Carefully transfer roast back into Dutch oven, taking care to leave it as intact as possible. Top entire roast with cheese breadcrumbs. Carefully place Dutch oven under broiler and broil until breadcrumbs are golden brown, 3-5 minutes.
Cut or shred roast into big pieces. Place pieces on a serving platter and add onions and sauce. Pour remaining sauce into a serving bowl and serve along with meat.