This article was originally featured in The 30 Second Wine Advisor's FoodLetter on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2006.

Beef pot roast

INGREDIENTS: (Serves two)

1/2 medium sweet yellow or white onion
2 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 pound (approx 1 kilo) beef chuck or rump roast
Black pepper
1/2 cup red wine
1 cup beef broth
Bay leaf or sprig fresh thyme (optional)
2 carrots
2 stalks celery
10 or 12 fingerling potatoes


1. Peel the onion and chop it roughly; peel the garlic and chop it fine. Put both with the oil in a heavy dutch oven and cook over medium heat until the vegetables are well cooked and starting to brown, 10 minutes or so.

2. Salt and pepper the beef to taste and cook it in the dutch oven with the onions and garlic, turning frequently, until it's well browned. Turn the heat to medium-high and pour in the red wine, stirring to "deglaze" the pot and turning the meat several times; cook until the wine has reduced almost completely.

3. Pour in the beef broth and add a little water, if necessary, so the liquid comes about halfway up the side of the meat. Add the bay leaf or thyme, if using, and bring the liquid to a boil. Cover the dutch oven tightly and put it in a preheated 350F (175C) oven to cook for 1 hour, turning the meat once.

4. Toward the end of the hour, peel the carrots and cut them into thick (1/2-inch) rounds. Cut the celery into slices of similar size. "Blanch" the carrots, celery and potatoes in lightly salted simmering water for about 5 minutes to start them cooking. (If you don't have fingerling potatoes, peel 1 or 2 baking potatoes and cut them into 1-inch cubes.)

5. At the end of the first hour of cooking, drain the blanched vegetables and put them into the dutch oven with the meat. Cover, reduce the oven to 300F (150C) and cook for another hour or until the meat is falling-apart tender. Serve the meat, vegetables and the pan liquid as gravy, and dinner is done. (A little of the leftover meat and broth makes a fine soup the next day, especially if you bulk it up with barley, noodles or rice.)

WINE MATCH: "Red wine with red meat" certainly applies here, and whereas I might save the fine Bordeaux or Burgundy for rare rib eye or tenderloin, this hearty and more rustic beef finds its natural partner in similarly hearty red wines. It was a delight with the recently featured top-value Portuguese dry red, Ramos Pinto 2002 "Duas Quintas" Douro.