Beef Roast Braised in Red Wine

Not your everyday pot roast recipe! Beef roast braised in red wine, with pancetta, onions, carrots, celery, tomato, and garlic.

  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 3 hours, 30 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 6


  • 1 (3 1/2 pound) chuck roast, boneless
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • 4 oz pancetta, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
  • 2 medium onions, chopped medium (about 2 cups)
  • 2 medium carrots, chopped medium (about 1 cup)
  • 2 ribs celery, chopped medium (1 cup)
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 3 medium cloves garlic, minced or pressed through garlic press (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 1 (750 ml) bottle Zinfandel wine (can substitute Cabernet Sauvignon, or other full bodied red wine)
  • 1 can (14 1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh oregano
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary


1 Salt the roast and let sit at room temp while you prep the vegetables: If your roast is very fatty, trim some of the fat. But it is important to keep some fat, as this will keep the roast moist while braising. In many supermarkets chuck roasts will already be properly trimmed.

Salt the roast well and set aside at room temperature while you prepare all the other vegetables.

2 Render fat and crisp the pancetta: Pour a little water into a Dutch oven or other heavy, lidded pot. Set the pot over medium heat and add the diced pancetta. As soon as the water begins to simmer, lower the heat to medium-low and slowly crisp up the pancetta; the water allows some of the fat in the pork to render out without charring the pancetta.

When the pancetta is crispy and brown, remove it with a slotted spoon and set aside.

zinfandel-braised-beef-roast-1.jpg zinfandel-braised-beef-roast-2.jpg

3 Brown the roast on all sides: Preheat the oven to 300°F. Pat the beef roast dry with a paper towel, increase the heat to medium and brown all sides in the pot.

zinfandel-braised-beef-roast-2b.jpg zinfandel-braised-beef-roast-3.jpg

4 Sauté the chopped vegetables: Once the meat has browned remove it to a bowl and add the onions, carrot and celery. Sprinkle salt over the vegetables while they cook. Increase the heat to medium-high and sauté for 2-3 minutes.

Add the tomato paste and stir well, sauté for another 1-2 minutes. Add the garlic and cook a minute more.

zinfandel-braised-beef-roast-4.jpg zinfandel-braised-beef-roast-5.jpg

5 Add tomatoes, pancetta, herbs, wine, and the roast. Cover and cook: Increase the heat to high and add the tomatoes, the pancetta, herbs and red wine. Nestle the beef roast into the pot, cover, place in the 300°F oven and cook for 3 hours. At the halfway point, use tongs to turn the beef roast over.

6 Strain and reduce the sauce: Remove the pot from oven and transfer beef to a large bowl; tent with foil to keep warm. Allow the liquid to settle in the pot for a few minutes, if you'd like, skim off some of the fat with a wide shallow spoon. If you have an immersion blender, use it to blend the contents of the pot. If you don't, use a whisk to help break down the vegetables.

zinfandel-braised-beef-roast-6.jpg zinfandel-braised-beef-roast-7.jpg

Boil the sauce until it is reduced to about 3 1/2 cups. Strain liquid through large fine-mesh strainer, pressing on solids with spatula to extract as much liquid as possible; you should have a couple cups strained sauce.

Add any accumulated juices from the bowl you have the beef in. Boil the sauce again until it has reduced to 1 1/2 cups. Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper.

7 Slice the meat and serve with the sauce: Cut the meat into roughly 1/2-inch-thick slices and pour the sauce over them. Serve with a bold red wine and crusty bread or mashed potatoes.

Click on the comments you'd like to print with your recipe. Grayed out comments will not print.


  • sunshine bear

    I had been bored to tears with squishy, wet, mushy pot roast with your basic carrots, onion and potato like Grandma (or in my case, Dad) used to make. This recipe, however, will appeal both with the slushy meat people and the carveable beef roast people. (Find out how below.)

    I always change something in a recipe since I usually have something I want to do differently. First I used a RUMP instead of a chuck roast. Other than marbling and fat (chuck has more, rump has less), both are fine for this recipe, however, add back in 1 or 2 Tbs of olive oil to equalize the fat. Second, I do not keep pancetta on hand, but bacon is the same meat only it’s smoky. You can very easily use a blanching technique to remove the smoke flavor–the smoke will overwhelm the vegetables if you do not remove the smoke flavor by blanching. (You can find this technique in Julia Child’s vol. 1 of The Art of French Cooking and also online.) Third, I used 2 sun dried tomatoes instead of the tomato paste. Other than those changed, I followed the recipe to the letter.

    The sauce of the recipe is so easy and quick to make, and after the braise of 3 hrs, you will have a nice simmered down vegetable stew in pot. I took out the braised roast, merely pressed the vegetables through a sieve, and returned to the remaining sauces to the Dutch oven, sliced the roast and placed it back into the dutch oven to warm while I made the other fixin’s (tomato/spinach/cucumber salad, baked potato). Voila! Plate the food, you’re done.

    As for texture, you have a lovely roast which is also shreddable! So you can please your guests who enjoy more of the homey stew flavor, just serve it in a nice rich beef broth and make extra vegetables to put in the bowl before you sieve them.

    I agree with the others who stated that the complex vegetable flavor, and the rustic pancetta/bacon and the richness of the beef make a very enjoyable flavor. The wine’s richness goes great with the sweet tomato, and the celery and carrot brighten up the dark roasty flavor. No one single flavor stands out, but because of the red color, your guests may detect tomato.

    In all, this is a very easy, satisfying meal with not a lot of prep that you can pop out of the oven, serve, and enjoy a nice evening.

  • Chuck Deming

    I don’t know if this thread is still active, but I’d like to try the recipe. The only problem: I don’t have an immersion blender, and don’t normally have a use for one. Can I use a blender instead? And does the sauce need to be processed to the consistency of puree?

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Chuck, you can simply use a whisk to help break down the vegetables if you don’t have an immersion blender.

      • sunshine bear

        An immersion blender is just a blender. There is no difference except convenience. Yes… you need to puree the heck out of everything, so that when you sieve, all the flavor has already been extracted and as little as possible remains in the sieve. The goal is to push every ounce of flavor through the sieve leaving nothing behind except MAYBE a missed bit of peel.

  • Teri baker

    This sounds fantastic but I am allergic to red wine (not sulfites, rather the histamines or tannins)… What a shame. Anyhow, I have two questions: first, does anyone know if the tannins/histamines/etc. cook off or are instead concentrated more by cooking; and second, would white wine work also (not sure with beef) or a Bougelais? If neither, what liquid(s) would provide the richest flavor as a substitute? Thanks!

    • Alfonso Casal

      White wine would definitely work. In fact, you’d end up with a classic regional (Sardinian) Italian dish.

    • sunshine bear

      Teri, my thought is that is more of a scientific question, chemistry, than a cooking question. Report back your research findings!

  • Martha Wilborn

    This is delicious!!
    The sauce reminds me of a good molé…not the flavors but the construction—Lots of ingredients but no one ingredient or flavor stands out. We are eating Paleo around here and the sauce was so rich and thick we didn’t even miss the conventional, grain based thickeners. Definitely a keeper.

  • Sabrina

    This sounds great, I have a perfect sized bit of beef in the freezer waiting for this recipe. One question though on ingredient replacement… my husband hates celery! I understand why its in this recipe, the flavours would work well together, but i just don’t think i can sneak it past him. Any suggestions for an alternative veg that would lend a strong enough flavour?

    Really, really love this blog by the way!!

    You will not be able to taste the celery. It blends in with everything else and gets pushed through a sieve. If you absolutely cannot use celery, use parsley – stems and all, but a smaller amount than the celery which is mostly water. ~Elise

  • Rose

    What I want to know is how you keep the beef hot while making the sauce? I can’t imagine that tenting the beef is enough to keep the beef hot while all that reducing and blending is going on.

    It keeps it warm enough. ~Elise

    • sunshine bear

      The warmer function on your oven can be used to quell your fears, however, be as quick as possible so your roast isn’t gonna dry.

  • Timbo

    This was fantastic! Used a good bottle of Italian Red Zinfandel (Luccarelli Primitivo) and didn’t bother straining the liquid before hitting it with an immersion blender.

    I received rave reviews for this.


  • Gary Westcott

    This was great! Did vary by using 2 cups beef stock made from base and 2 cups good red wine we had left over from last night. Also used a small amount of Wondra flour to very slightly thicken the resulting strained jus – very slightly. We could have just drunk the sauce that was left over, but decided to use it with the leftovers tomorrow night and then freeze whatever ( if any) is left after that. 5 star recipe! Thanks for putting it up.

  • Greg Sanders

    Would this work with say a 10lb sirloin roast and a bottle of Louis Jadot Beaujolais-Villages (which I almost always have on hand)?

    • sunshine bear

      I wouldn’t! Because your roast is about 3x the size of the chuck roast… and you’d have to chop that into thirds in order to get the sear correctly… and then of course, you’d have to triple everything else. (As for the wine, I am using a very full bodied wine but… if you wanted to try it, I’m sure you would love the outcome since it sounds like the Beaujolais is well-loved in your home).

  • Robert Kahwaty

    Sounds amazing and I will try it when the locusts descend, um I mean when the family visits. Only problem is that I need to know how to increase the ingredient proportions for 20 people. Help!

    Make three of them? Or make two of them with lots of sides. ~Elise

  • Judith

    This is very similar to my version of Julia Child’s Beef Stew with Zinfandel. Instead of using chuck (whole or cut up) I use thick slices of beef shanks. I buy 5 or 6 lbs of them, cut about 1″ thick, complete with the bones. I salt and pepper them and brown them (much easier than browning smaller pieces of meat). Then I deglaze the pan with sliced onions and carrots(cut in 1-2 inch chunks) until they are golden, and add the garlic. Then I add a bottle of Zin, a 28-oz tin of chopped tomatoes, and beef stock if needed to cover the meat. I also add Herbes de Provence or just thyme depending on how I feel. I let it cook in the oven at 325 for a few hours. After that I take out the bones, skim the fat, reduce the sauce if necessary (usually not) and serve with noodles, rice or potatoes. The marrow in the bones and the connective tissue in the shanks give the sauce a particularly smooth deliciousness. This improves after a day or two in the fridge, and also freezes well.

  • Paula

    Elise, I have a question. I know that everyone says the alcohol cooks out of the wine when your heating it, but can I make this for my family? I have 4 kids and a large chuck roast in the freezer. (I also have Zinfendel in the house, because I have 4 kids.)
    Anyway, this looks absolutely delish and I want to try it. Should I hold out for “date night” with hubby, or make it for Sunday dinner?.

    This is perfectly fine for a family meal. There may be a trace of alcohol left after all that cooking, so if you are allergic to alcohol, then you shouldn’t cook with it at all. But for serving to a family? You’ll be fine. ~Elise

  • Sheri J

    Sorry if this is a stupid question, but do you salt the beef then pat it dry or pat it dry then salt the beef? I am a beginner cook and it seems patting after salting will remove the salt?

    Great question. You can go either way actually. But one reason to salt the roast first, while it is coming to room temp, is that the salt will help draw the moisture to the surface. Then when you pat the roast dry, it will more easily brown. The roast will have absorbed some of the salt. ~Elise

    • sunshine bear

      Totally agree with Elise… you have over 3 hours of cook time at boiling (212 degrees) to 300 degrees… the alcohol burns off much quicker than the liquid in the wine!

  • Mike

    Nice to see this recipe featured again. I’ve made it several times and it never fails to please. Don’t get too picky on the wine–any dry red works just fine.

  • Reese

    It occurs to me that this would be a fantastic way to cook Venison!

  • Liane

    This recipe was my weekend project. I did all the steps up until boiling/putting in the oven on Saturday, then cooked on Sunday. This made a truly great dinner. The sauce looked so good after the first reduction/whisking that I left it alone and will use the extras as a sort of stew over rice. Served with simple steamed asparagus and bread for sopping up the sauce. Excellent.

  • Kathy

    I bought white zinfandel by mistake, so I used a bottle of merlot that I had in the pantry. This was fantastic. I didn’t add sugar, nor did I feel that I had to strain the vegetables. We enjoyed them right along with the roast.

  • Tricia

    Is there a way to make this a slow cooker recipe?

    You should be able to do step 3 in a slow cooker. Just don’t stir. ~Elise

  • Elizabeth

    Made this on Sunday and it was fabulous! Like another poster, I went the less expensive route and used thick cut bacon instead of the pancetta and switched out a bottle of 2 Buck Chuck Shiraz for the Zinfandel. The sauce is so good!

  • Diamondback Dave

    Very nice recipe, flavorful, makes a wonderful finishing sauce. Has been added to my cook binder.

  • Michelle

    Absolutely Fantastic! My brother made for Christmas Dinner and everyone raved. I wasn’t too sure about a whole bottle of wine, but it leaves a fantastic rich sauce. I will certainly make this receipe myself. Enjoy!

  • kpc

    We made this yesterday and it was delicious. I don’t like chuck roast so we used a Beef Brisket and it came out so tender we didn’t even need a knife to cut it. Even though we cook with wine a lot, we had never used a whole bottle before but it was excellent. The only change we made was not straining the veggies as we like them in the sauce. Will make again for sure!!

  • Jason

    My mother and I just made this roast two nights ago. We didn’t have a Zinfandel on hand, so we ended up using a Yellow Tail Cabernet Sauvignon, as per your recipe. The result was quite wonderful, and we served it with egg noodles and Brussels sprouts. I must say the whole family was rather pleased, so this recipe is definitely one to keep. Thanks.

  • James

    Followed advise from RH for crockpot method. Did some low budget modification with Ralph’s thick cut bacon for pancetta and a bottle of 2 Buck Chuck petite shiraz for the Zin. Super yummy.

  • RH

    For Lynn, who asked about a crockpot method: I browned the beef in a cast iron skillet, put it in the crockpot, then made the sauce in the skillet (omitting the flour). Poured the sauce over the beef, cooked on low for the usual crockpot time. Pulled out the beef, strained the sauce and placed into a sauce pan. I reserved a half cup, added flour to it in a shaker, shook it up, then added it in the saucepan to complete the gravy. Worked great.

    Crockpots are an essential tool for us working moms.

  • Kyle S

    After having this recipe bookmarked for several months, I finally got up the determination to stand over the stove.

    I am fairly reserved when it comes to cooking with so much red wine. A previous experience with a braised lamb shank and a bottle of corked Pinot Noir had rendered me wary.

    The only adjustment I made to the recipe was in the timing of the addition of the tomato paste. I waited until the garlic went in, just before flouring.

    I used a slightly better bottle of Zinfandel than I would normally select just in case.

    The recipe may seem daunting before you actually get into the kitchen, but all in all, the preparation is quite simple and the clean up a breeze.

    The roast came out beautifully and it tasted great. Searing the beef in the pancetta drippings well is key to maintaining a nice coloring in my opinion.

    The sauce probably could have used a little beef broth to darken it up.

    The family gave this a thumbs-up.

  • Maynard

    I can honestly say that this was absolutely ghastly. The suace was weak and sour, the meat was flavorless and tough.

    If you want to try this one, I suggest you use a meat with a good bit of fat in it otherwise the meat will not break down to the level of tenderness you are looking for out of a Braised Beef.

    A chuck roast is the best cut for braising, make sure you are using that cut and not another. Also, because this recipe calls for an entire bottle of wine, using a bottle of wine that you enjoy drinking is important. The better the wine going in, the better the sauce is going to be. If the wine isn’t particularly good (or you don’t really love drinking it) it isn’t going to make a decent sauce. Finally, sometimes the roast just isn’t tender enough after 3 hours and needs more time in the oven. ~Elise

  • John

    MAN was this good! We made it with the scalloped potatoes recipe. It is not very often that we both truely savor a meal together… we LOVED this one.

    My wife did say that it was a bit more labor intensive than her typical pot roast..but this was not your typical pot roast! Definitely give it a try.

  • Diana

    This was so very, very good. I wanted to drink the sauce while I was putting away the leftovers. I didn’t– but I wanted to. Thanks for the recipe!

  • Katie

    I made this yesterday – the first recipe I’ve tried off this site – and its lovely!! Perfect for a cold rainy day! Thanks!!

  • chefJustin

    Whatever you do, DON’T SKIMP ON THE WINE! Buy a decent bottle ($8-10 range), because any wine you cook with is reduced in volume–therefor the flavor will intensify. If it doesn’t taste good in a glass, it will taste even worse in your dish!

    Also, try finishing the sauce by whisking in a few tablespoons of unsalted butter (not margarine, for God’s sake). It will taste much smoother and richer.