Coffee-Braised Pot Roast with Caramelized Onions

  • Active Time 20m
  • Total Time 3h 15m
  • Rating ****

10 servings, about 3 ounces meat & 1/3 cup gravy each

This recipe is reminiscent of a pot roast made with onion-soup mix, but the flavors are true and pure--and nobody misses the excess sodium. (For a slow-cooker variation, see below.)

Make Ahead Tip: Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days.


  • One 4-pound beef chuck roast (see Ingredient note), trimmed of fat
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 large onions, halved and thinly sliced (4 cups)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 3/4 cup strong brewed coffee
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch mixed with 2 tablespoons water
  • Ingredient Note: Although it is not the leanest cut of beef, chuck is still our choice for pot roast because it doesn't dry out during braising. You will find pockets of fat as you carve it, but they are easy to remove.


Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.

Season the beef with salt and pepper. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a Dutch oven or soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the beef and cook, turning from time to time, until well browned on all sides, 5-7 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

Add the remaining 2 teaspoons oil to the pot. Add the onions, reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring often, until softened and golden, 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic and thyme; cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Stir in the coffee and vinegar; bring to a simmer. Return the beef to the pot and spoon some onions over it. Cover and transfer to the oven.

Braise the beef in the oven until fork-tender but not falling apart, 2 1/2 - 3 hours. Transfer the beef to a cutting board, tent with foil and let rest for about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, skim the fat from the braising liquid; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the cornstarch mixture and cook, whisking, until the gravy thickens slightly, about 1 minute. Season with pepper. Carve the beef and serve with gravy.

Slow-Cooker Variation: In Step 2, transfer the browned beef to a slow cooker. In Step 3, use just 1/2 cup coffee. Add the onion mixture to the slow cooker. In Step 4, cover and cook until beef is tender, 4 1/2 - 5 hours on high or 7 to 8 hours on low. In Step 5, pour the liquid into a medium saucepan and continue as directed.

Recipe reprinted by permission of Publisher. All rights reserved.

RecID 8894

nutrition information per serving

252 calories; 6g total fat; 2g total saturated fat; 67mg cholesterol; 99mg sodium; 4g carbohydrates; 0g fiber; 32g protein

These nutrition facts are calculated according to the ingredients listed in this recipe. Any substitutions will change these facts. Although we strive for accuracy, please note that food manufacturers occasionally change their food formulas, which could affect the calculations as shown.

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