For a good time (and a winter warm-up), just add wine and pot roast!

For a good time (and a winter warm-up), just add wine and pot roast!

Looking for a family favorite? Feeling the need to warm up? Want a hearty meal? Something simple to prepare?  Something that will make great meals the next day?

Then pot roast is for you and your loved ones!

It's a perfect pairing with JL WOOD Chardonnay. You’re probably questioning the pairing of meat with a white wine. Yes, you heard that right, a white wine.

Chardonnay is very versatile. In this case, a chilled JL WOOD Chardonnay stands on its own. Because of its natural acidity, it provides a refreshing compliment to the deep, complex, and fatty flavors of the meat.

Our recommended choice is one of our JL WOOD Premier labels, 21 or 22. Either one will provide the straightforward flavors and aromas to enhance and compliment this savory dish.


  • well marbled (because fat is good) pot roast of 2 to 4 pounds
  • 2 or 3 sliced onions, yellow or sweet
  • 1 or 2 potatoes, peeled and roughly cut into chunks
  • 2 or 3 sticks of celery cut into small pieces
  • 2 whole carrots cut into chunks or a handful pre-cut baby carrots
  • 1 peeled parsnip (root vegetable — well worth it), cut into small chunks
  • canola oil or bacon fat
  • 1 to 1.5 cups of JL WOOD chardonnay
  • 3 to 4 cups of homemade or a box of beef stock (stock, not broth)
  • 5 or 6 (or more) cloves of roughly chopped garlic
  • fresh or dry rosemary
  • dash or sprinkle to your taste of cayenne or hot pepper flakes
  • 3 to 5 tablespoons of corn starch
  • Fresh ground pepper
  • kosher sea salt
  • small box of unsliced or pre-sliced mushrooms, any type
  • Optional: cup of frozen peas
  • Optional: roughly chopped bell peppers (1)
  • Optional: chopped parsley for garnish
  • Optional: side of mashed potatoes, from scratch or instant
  • Optional: tablespoon of beef bouillon to amp up beef flavors
  • Optional: quarter cup of tomato sauce or a healthy squeeze of tomato paste

First a word about pot roast. The best cut is a chuck roast with a lot of visible fat. You should see these in the grocery store looking like gigantic steaks. Three to four pounds is a good size and will probably run you $20 to $25. You’re looking at 8 portions or more; so that pencils to around $3 per portion even though you’ll have a bit of sticker shock at first.

You’ll need to decide how much you want to make. We usually buy a big one and cut it in half, freezing the half that we don’t use for a later meal.

The internet is full of recipe video short-cuts. This recipe will give you a bit more control over things like salt and seasonings than those versions. For example, we use beef stock and fresh mushrooms rather than throwing in a can of cream of mushroom soup containing mystery ingredients from a chemistry lab.

You’ll need to get the meat in the slow cooker at least 6 hours from your chosen dining time. So, just before lunch or even mid-morning.

Create a first layer of vegetables in the slow cooker. We like to use carrots and some chopped celery for that purpose. We usually add some peeled and roughly cut potatoes and parsnip root.

Heat up a skillet. Use a low smoking oil like canola or bacon fat. You’ll want to get this to medium high before you add the meat. While you’re waiting, sprinkle a goodly amount of kosher salt on both sides of the meat.

When your pan is heated (you’ll notice the oil or fat just starting to smoke), place your meat on the pan, press it down, and give it a sear by leaving it on each side for about 90 seconds.

The longer you leave the meat on the hot pan will mean more “smoke”. If your stove is close a smoke alarm, we highly recommend using your cooking fan or opening a few windows.

Remove the meat from the pan and place in the center of your slow cooker on top of the vegetables. Add a half glass of wine to the pan and deglaze by scraping the pan and dumping the wine and flavorful bits into your slow cooker.

Now its time to add everything else. Add your chopped garlic around the edge of the pot roast. Then add the rest of your vegetables, starting first with the remaining potatoes and parsnips. Then thinly sliced onions. And last, sliced mushrooms (small box).

What you should see is the pot roast surrounded by the vegetables to about half-way up the side of the meat. If needed, adjust by pulling up or pushing down the meat in the slow cooker.

Next, add your seasonings. Sprinkle on the vegetables. One of the decisions you have to make is how much “heat” you want in the juices that you’ll have for later and to make sauce. Just remember that cayenne and pepper flakes will impart more heat than you expect in the slow cooking process.

And now, add the remaining wine followed by the beef stock until the combined liquids come half-way up the side of the meat. This is when you would add the optional beef bouillon.

Place the cover on the slow cooker and program to high. Initial cooking time will be a minimum of 4 hours. We usually go 5 hours and then low for another hour for a total of six. It’s ok if it cooks longer. The reason it takes so long is that you want to cook it long enough to break down the connecting tissues in the pot roast since it is a “tough” cut of meat.

You’ll see a lot of recipes that specify an all day cooking method on low. That works well too.

Once you put the cover on, you shouldn’t need to take it off or at least 5 hours.

As a last step before serving, add salt and pepper to taste.

Before you serve, decide if you want mashed potatoes, which you can make from scratch or use instant. Either works.

Lastly, you’ll want to make gravy. Remove 2 or 3 cups of liquid with cooked mushrooms and onions. Place in a pan heated to medium hot and prepare a slurry of corn starch and water, about half cup. Add the slurry slowly until you get the thickness of sauce that you want. If you want more mushrooms, you can use sliced fresh mushrooms but you’ll need to allocate more time, 20 to 30 minutes, for them to cook in the pan. Again, add salt or pepper to taste.

For serving: Use a slotted spoon to separate a potato size portion of pot roast from the whole and plate. Then add a few vegetables and your side of mash potatoes. Pour gravy over everything!

Serve with a glass of JL WOOD Premier Chardonnay.



You now have various choices for using the left overs. First, segregate your gravy from the vegetables and juices in the slow cooker.

Your first choice is to just have the same meal over again. We like to do that.

Another choice, which is a favorite, is to reheat the meat in a pot on the stove with some of the juices. Add some beer, dry chili powder, onion powder, and cumin. If you have them, a small can of Hatch “medium” chopped chilis will add a ton of flavor and some heat. Reduce the juices and you can use the resulting meat, shredded, in tacos, tostadas, or enchiladas. It’s ok if some of the potato and parsnips remain in the shredded meat mix. And some of the leftover gravy can be added to your favorite enchilada sauce.

Lastly, for a lighter meal, set aside strained juices. Sauté sliced onions in a medium heated pot with a little oil and cook long enough to partially caramelize (they turn light brown). Add the juices. Adjust with salt and pepper. You now have onion soup. Cut a slice of bread to fit inside of your soup bowl. Toast the slices of cut sourdough or other bread. Place shredded gruyere cheese or a slice of Swiss on the toast and put on a cookie or sheet pan under the broiler until the cheese is just melted. Put the onion soup in a bowl and float the toast with melted cheese on top.

A glass of wine will make every choice you make absolutely perfect!


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