Pot-roast beef with French onion gravy

Pot-roast beef with French onion gravy

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(74 ratings)

Prep: 15 mins Cook: 2 hrs, 15 mins


Serves 4
Silverside and topside are cheaper and leaner cuts of meat, well-suited to slow-cooking. The stock and juices make a great sauce when combined with caramelised onions

Nutrition and extra info

  • Freezable
  • Healthy

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal487
  • fat17g
  • saturates5g
  • carbs19g
  • sugars15g
  • fibre5g
  • protein6g
  • salt1g
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  • 1kg silverside or topside of beef, with no added fat
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
    olive oil

    Olive oil

    ol-iv oyl

    Probably the most widely-used oil in cooking, olive oil is pressed from fresh olives. It's…

  • 8 young carrots, tops trimmed (but leave a little, if you like)



    The carrot, with its distinctive bright orange colour, is one of the most versatile root…

  • 1 celery stick, finely chopped



    A collection of long, thick, juicy stalks around a central, tender heart, celery ranges in…

  • 200ml white wine
  • 600ml rich beef stock
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 500g onion



    Onions are endlessly versatile and an essential ingredient in countless recipes. Native to Asia…

  • a few thyme sprigs


    This popular herb grows in Europe, especially the Mediterranean, and is a member of the mint…

  • 1 tsp butter



    Butter is made when lactic-acid producing bacteria are added to cream and churned to make an…

  • 1 tsp light brown or light muscovado sugar
  • 2 tsp plain flour


  1. Heat oven to 160C/140C fan/gas 3. Rub the meat with 1 tsp of the oil and plenty of seasoning. Heat a large flameproof casserole dish and brown the meat all over for about 10 mins. Meanwhile, add 2 tsp oil to a frying pan and fry the carrots and celery for 10 mins until turning golden.

  2. Lift the beef onto a plate, splash the wine into the hot casserole and boil for 2 mins. Pour in the stock, return the beef, then tuck in the carrots, celery and bay leaves, trying not to submerge the carrots too much. Cover and cook in the oven for 2 hrs. (I like to turn the beef halfway through cooking.)

  3. Meanwhile, thinly slice the onions. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a pan and stir in the onions, thyme and some seasoning. Cover and cook gently for 20 mins until the onions are softened but not coloured. Remove the lid, turn up the heat, add the butter and sugar, then let the onions caramelise to a dark golden brown, stirring often. Remove the thyme sprigs, then set aside.

  4. When the beef is ready, it will be tender and easy to pull apart at the edges. Remove it from the casserole and snip off the strings. Reheat the onion pan, stir in the flour and cook for 1 min. Whisk the floury onions into the beefy juices in the casserole, to make a thick onion gravy. Taste for seasoning. Add the beef and carrots back to the casserole, or slice the beef and bring to the table on a platter, with the carrots to the side and the gravy spooned over.

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Comments, questions and tips

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23rd Oct, 2015
I have cooked this twice and love it. Instead of using 200mls White wine, I used about 50 mls plus some cheap whiskey we had. Turned out lovely! Also I used red onion instead of celery and it was fine. Def leave the meat to sit for at least 30 mins.
4th Oct, 2015
This was delicious. I removed the carrots half way through so they were not mushy. I also added a little more stock as had round joint. Will make again as perfect for Sunday roast and can be left to do its thing.
16th Sep, 2015
Loved this recipe, had it for Christmas Lunch last year and had it again for a Sunday lunch with friends, meat was melt in the mouth and the gravy was delicious.
16th Sep, 2015
5 star gravy and 3 star beef. I would do this in an actual slow cooker next time to keep the beef more succulent.
18th Aug, 2015
This is the only way I cook beef now - I use a supermarket-bought Topside/Toprump joint and just alter the timing dependant on size. I just put a chopped onion in with the carrots and stock and the resulting sauce is amazing, though it definitely needs more flour than the recipe states to make a gravy. It reheats well too and is especially good made a day ahead, sliced when cold and reheated in the onion gravy. Very easy. Utterly delicious, and a real favourite with everyone I've cooked it for.
13th Mar, 2015
I would be interested to know if anyone has tried cooking this in a slow cooker???
1st Mar, 2015
Delicious....cooked this evening...added some red wine as well as white wine to make up quantity required...forgot to add flour so added some gravy granules to thicken up a little.....served with mashed potatoes.."loved it so tasty
Susan Stickley
1st Feb, 2015
The recipe looks good but this website is a complete mess of pottage. Come on BBC, you can do better than this. How, for instance, can one change an email address? How and where do you sign in? This is after about half an hour of searching. It really should not be this difficult.
1st Feb, 2015
Lucynzsky, I make this often and I think you need to get your oven temperature checked. I cook it at 150c and usually for about 3 hours turning the meat at least twice. I add garlic to the onions and put the thyme into the stock at the start rather than the onion mixture as I think it gives much better flavour to the gravy. I also increase the wine (red better colour) and stock I don't bother with the carrot or the celery as I don't think it makes much difference and prefer to cook my carrots al dente which I serve with the meat. Yorkshire pudding, mashed potatoes (all that lovely gravy), the carrots, sprouts and green beans and it is one of my favourites.
tracieah's picture
18th Jan, 2015
This is a regular Sunday meal in our house. Just put it in the oven and forget about it for a few hours. Everyone loves it very tasty and easy to make


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