Pot-roast beef with French onion gravy

Pot-roast beef with French onion gravy

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(50 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 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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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
tracieah's picture
11th Jan, 2015
Have made this several times and always works. Very tasty and takes care of it's self once it's in the oven. Always a hit with the family
13th Dec, 2014
Omg, I just made this for my boyfriend and it was embarrassing! The driest meat ever, like old boots! Two hours, seriously? I followed the directions to the T. I don't understand how people had this be remotely moist after two hours! Half that maybe.
1st Dec, 2014
Made this last night and it was a disaster, the meat was so incredibly dry. This was the second time i made it, first time was perfect but last night was really bad, i couldn't even eat the meat. Really not sure what went wrong, perhaps the cut of meat. So disappointed!
30th Nov, 2014
I got a piece of Silverside (789gm) on offer and looked for a recipe here Although my meat was less than the recipe I used the same amount of wine and stock. Having read the previous reports and as I am not a fan of celery I substituted this for fennel and also added garlic to the onion mix. I added the carrot and fennel 1 hour in as recommended her and it was perfect. As none of my family like thick gravy the quantise provided were just right for us loved it and will make again and again.
24th Nov, 2014
Made this at the weekend using just under a 1kg piece of silverside and cooked for just over 2.5 hrs. I substituted the bay leaves (as I didn't have any) for 2 small garlic cloves. The gravy was a little on the thin side for me so I added some cornflour to thicken. The gravy was just amazing and my normally fussy-eater husband thought it was the best beef I'd ever cooked - lovely, melt-in-the-mouth tender. A real winning dish and definitely will be making often. Served it with crispy roast potatoes and red cabbage. Yum!


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