Pot-roast beef with French onion gravy

Pot-roast beef with French onion gravy

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(46 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 (see tip, below)
  • 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 carrot, 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 leaf
  • 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 (52)

moirashaw1's picture

Cooked for the family and was a real winner. The onion gravy was amazing. I used good quality shop bought beef gravy and think that made the difference. A lovely rich, deep flavoured sauce. Cooked 2kg silverside for 3 hrs as the piece of meat was thicker at one end. Will definitely make again.

fizzh89's picture

Made this today, used 1.8kg piece of silverside, and was amazed it cooked in the 2 hours quoted for the 1kg piece. It was absolutely delicious! I added some parsnips to the carrots. When I make it again, which I will definitely do!, I will use more than 2 teaspoons of flour to thicken the gravy, as it was a little thin for my liking. The meat was really tender, I served it with new potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, Savoy cabbage and Yorkshire puddings.......lovely!

fizzh89's picture

We used the remaining meat two days later, I left it in the gravy in the casserole dish with the lid on, and set the oven to automatic, 70 mins at 150c, the result was amazing, the meat was even more tender, and absolutely fell to bits, spectacular!

vrog's picture

Delicious and easy. Have done beef pot roasts many times before but the gravy made this one special. I've also used beer instead of wine, and as others have suggested the veg can be swapped according to season. I tip off some of the fat from the pot before adding the onions, and use this for roast potatoes.

dianasparkler's picture

This is delicious and perfect! I do play around with different veg, as others have said below. I use red or white wine. I cook it for 30 to 60 mins longer and make extra volume of gravy because I freeze half the joint to defrost and gentle heat through again.

c.dinsmore's picture

I made this today for my partner, she is the talented one in the kitchen but today I impressed her, the onion gravy was epic although I thought the onions might catch fire :) I added awesome parsnips to the pot + garlic at every step and served with ready made Yorkshire puddings, bon appetit...

shelleyt123's picture

Delicious and Easy 10 out of 10. Made Lovely gravy all in one. Has become a family favourite.

jimiskewl's picture

Hmmmm..... Simply delicious! As with other meats it is best to remove from fridge and leave for about 30 minutes in order to come to room temperature before putting in a hot pan. I always find that this helps keep the meat tender.

Joannalbutler's picture

This is a delicious and pretty easy recipe to follow. I have made it with topside and it literally fell apart, it was so well cooked but still everyone enjoyed it. I am not a confident cook when cooking beef so this is ideal for me - tender beef in a tasty onion gravy with not too much effort required. Ideal. 5 star!

lynchipp's picture

Beautiful -we had this over the Christmas holidays and couldn't wait to get at the leftovers!

dianasparkler's picture

Excellent melt in the mouth beef. V rich and quite sweet gravy/sauce - totally lovely. Used parsnip and a leek instead of celery. Used red wine instead. Cooked it 30 mins longer on lower heat. Saved!

laine1223's picture

Absolutely delish, gravy fab & the stock from the meat is really tasty, making it again this weekend - definitely a keeper!!!

HarryCobeans's picture

I cooked this last night and it was a big hit with the family. The French onion gravy was superb. The only thing I changed was that I used parsnips instead of celery and they were scrummy.

kathryndonna's picture

The meat was very soft and tender but took on a rather strange texture, on balance I think I prefer a traditional roast. I took others advice and added a little more flour to the onions for the gravy but should have stuck to the recipe as it became rather gloopy although tasted good. Carrots were hideously overcooked and should not not have gone in until half way through the cooking.

samilou1989's picture

I don't quite understand the point of the celery but regardless this was lovely, lovely soft meat. Added some new potatoes to the dish and mixed in some onion gravy granules at the end to thicken it up a bit. Brill will be making this again.

noisysmurf's picture

Good recipe. Pretty fail safe for the tougher cuts of beef. Made twice now and both times were delicious. Used celery salt as had no celery. Added bouquet garnet bag to the beef casserole along with with bay leaves. Also did not make the onion gravy part. Just used the beef juice to make my usual gravy.
Extremely tasty. Will definitely make again.

owenbartley1's picture

Fantastic recipe. Loved it

Hannah Solomon's picture

A great recipe! ...the best food I've cooked yet...the combination goes so beautifully and the end result is very impressive :)

keeleyberry1993's picture

Ever since I can remember, I've never been too excited about roast beef. Any time my mum would cook beef, it would come out like a tough old boot. This roast beef is the best I've ever had and I was so impressed by it I just HAD to make an account and let you all know how great and easy this recipe is! I've never seen so many clean plates at tea time from the family, including 2 very fussy children who even asked for seconds!

Few tips - make sure you've got some massive roasting forks to stab into the beef whilst you're searing it, it can be quite heavy.
Also use a roasting bag - makes the beef so soft and juicy.
When making the gravy, add extra flour if you like it thicker :)!

Enjoy! I'm definitely keeping this recipe.

koolk_2009's picture

beautifully soft meat, even my fussy son ate some! I would put more flour in the gravy next time as it was a bit thin.


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