Classic Pot Roast with Parsley Gremolata


I had an unexpected visit from my parents the weekend before spring break due to a death in our family – my great aunt Theresa. She lived in Roanoke, so my parents came to Blacksburg for a couple of days before her funeral. Everyone who met my aunt Theresa was captivated by her spunky attitude and positive outlook on life. She was one amazing woman. I have seen her at the Houck family reunion in West Virginia every year in August since I was a baby, and always loved being embraced by her like she hadn’t seen me in forever. Luckily, my sister, Morgan, and I really got to know her this past reunion as we were one of the first people to arrive in West Virginia. We had dinner with our Nanny and Papa, two of our cousins, and our aunt Theresa and listened to them tell stories about their childhood and past family reunions. It was such a treat. One story in particular really shocked me. When Theresa was in her forties she had a surgery to remove nodules on her throat, but the surgeon accidentally cut her vocal cords. Most people would be outraged if this happened to them, but my aunt Theresa just accepted that it happened and lived her life to the fullest with no animosity towards the surgeon. Although this accident changed her voice drastically and limited her career choices, she battled through all of the obstacles that came her way with strong faith in the Lord and His plan for her. I only wish I could have seen her more before she passed away. From what I learned at the funeral, she was also a gourmet cook. I have a feeling we would have had lots of fun in the kitchen together.

I miss you aunt Theresa, and the Houck reunion won’t be the same without you. You influenced so many people throughout your life. Thank you for being such an inspiration to my family and me.

Click here and get to know the beautiful lady I am talking about.

When my parents walked in the door that Friday evening, I had this pot roast cooking for them. It made the house smell amazing! It’s a delicious one-pot meal and warms the soul. I served it alongside a simple salad with a lemon vinaigrette, and of course I had dessert made as well – homemade salted caramel bread pudding and vanilla ice cream. It was a fun night. That weekend before heading to Roanoke for the funeral, we hiked to the Cascades, I showed them my favorite bakery and café in Blacksburg called Our Daily Bread, and went out to a nice dinner when Morgan got here on Saturday evening. Although it wasn’t under the best circumstances, it was wonderful to be around not only my immediate family, but also to see my second and third cousins that I usually only see once a year. I hope everyone enjoys this recipe!


Classic Pot Roast and Parsley Gremolata: (adapted from Ina Garten)

Prep Time: 30 minutes          Cook Time: 2 hours 30 minutes          Servings: 8


  • 1 (4 lb.) boneless beef chuck roast (the recipe says to tie it, but I didn’t know how to and also didn’t realize I was supposed to tie it until after it came out of the oven…oops)
  • Salt and pepper
  • All-purpose flour
  • Olive oil
  • 4 carrots, chopped
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 4 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 3 leeks, chopped and cleaned thoroughly
  • 1 1/2 lb. fingerling potatoes, halved lengthwise
  • 5 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 cups red wine (I used a Cabernet Sauvignon)
  • 2 tablespoons Cognac
  • 1 (28 oz.) can whole plum tomatoes
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 chicken bouillon cube
  • 3 branches fresh thyme
  • 2 branches fresh rosemary
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped


  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme, chopped
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • Dash of crushed red pepper flakes
  • Salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 325°.

Pat the beef dry with a paper towel. Season the beef all over with salt and pepper. Dredge the whole roast in flour, including the ends. In a large Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add the roast and sear for 5 minutes on each side, until nicely browned. Remove the roast to a large plate.

Add 2 tablespoons olive oil to the Dutch oven. Add the carrots, onions, celery, leeks, potatoes, garlic, and salt and pepper and cook over medium heat for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender but not browned. Add the wine and Cognac and bring to a boil. Add the tomatoes, chicken stock, bouillon cube, and salt and pepper to taste. Make the sachet d’epices (or bouquet garni or sachet bag) by placing the thyme, rosemary, bay leaves, and cloves in cheesecloth and then tying the cheesecloth with kitchen twine to make a bag. Place the sachet d’epices into the pot. Put the roast back into the pot, bring to a boil, and cover. Place in the oven for 2 1/2 hours, until the meat is fork tender. Turn the heat down to 250° after about an hour to keep the sauce at a simmer.

Remove from oven and stir in fresh chopped parsley. Remove pot roast from Dutch oven and place on a cutting board to slice. Serve with all the vegetables and the sauce. Top with the gremolata.



love, maddie


2 thoughts on “Classic Pot Roast with Parsley Gremolata

  1. I loved the remembrances of Aunt Theresa. We are blessed to have had her influence in our family.

    That recipe looks too hard for me, and I don’t even know what gremolata is??? It sure looks good though.

    1. I know she was special. And haha you could definitely make it! A gremolata is usually a fresh herb and citrus mixture to put on top of dishes as a garnish – they are especially good on dishes that have been cooked low and slow like this pot roast 🙂

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