Spaetzle with beef, carrots, and potatoes in a gravy-like sauce

Grandma’s Goulash Pot Roast

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Spaetzle in a bowl topped with beef, potatoes, and carrots with a gravy-like sauce
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I love my grandmother’s goulash recipe, which I’ve actually never posted. This pot roast is inspired by her goulash, as is this beef stew. I had a hard time naming this recipe. It’s definitely a pot roast, but has some goulash-like qualities in the way it’s finished. Goulash is more of a stew, but this pot roast recipe is not quite a stew – but almost.

This is one of the best recipes I’ve ever made, hands down. I made it for Valentine’s day to have with my boyfriend. I was going to make my red wine pot roast, but decided I wanted to do something a little different. We might’ve been standing there eating pieces of meat directly from the pot on the stove (OK, yeah, we were). I was a little concerned at first that the beef would be too dry, but no, it ended up being perfect.

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I made this in my Le Creuset dutch oven, but you don’t need a dutch oven to make the recipe. Pretty much any oven-safe pot will do, as long as it fits the beef. I don’t recommend using a slow cooker unless you switch out half of the wine for stock, as the wine won’t reduce in the slow cooker like it does in the oven. You’d also need to transfer the cooking liquid to the stovetop to finish making the gravy, and that could get messy. – but if you do this, probably use only half of the liquid because the liquid in the oven version reduces. If you’re in the market for a dutch oven, but don’t want to splurge on the Le Creuset, Lodge also makes very nice enameled cast iron dutch ovens.

Continue reading after the recipe card for step-by-step photos.

Spaetzle with beef, carrots, and potatoes in a gravy-like sauce
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5 from 1 vote

Grandma’s Goulash Pot Roast

This recipe is the definition of comfort food. The beef braises slowly in the oven, and the braising liquid makes a perfect sauce.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Inactive Cooking Time2 hrs 30 mins
Total Time3 hrs
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, German
Keyword: dutch oven pot roast, dutch oven recipe, goulash, pot roast
Servings: 8 people

Ingredients

  • 2½ to 2¾ lb top round roast
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 onion sliced thin
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 bottle red wine
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 4 carrots sliced, if sliced in advance keep in fridge in water
  • ¾ lb red potatoes medium dice, if diced in advance keep in fridge in water to prevent browning
  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • ¼ cup cold water
  • Maggi liquid seasoning (substitute Worcestershire if you can't find Maggi)
  • kosher salt to taste
  • Spaetzle or egg noodles
Dry Rub

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 325°.
  • Combine all ingredients for the dry rub. Generously coat all sides of the beef with the dry rub (and use your hands so it sticks to the beef).
  • Heat dutch oven on the stovetop over medium-high heat.
  • Toss together the onions, 2 tbsp olive oil, and 1 tsp garlic powder. Once the dutch oven is hot, transfer the onions to the pot. Cook, stirring frequently, until they begin to soften.
  • Move the onions to the side to make room for the beef. Place beef fat side down and cook for about 4 minutes, then flip and cook 4 minutes on the other side. Stir the onions occasionally while the beef is browning (onions will begin to caramelize).
  • Remove beef from pot and set aside.
  • Deglaze the pot: Pour 2 cups of the wine into the pot. Use a wooden spoon to scrape all of the browned bits from the bottom of the pan.
  • Turn off the heat on the stovetop, and return the beef to the pot. Add the rest of the wine. Add chicken stock until the beef is covered by half (you might not need all 3 cups, or you might need a little more depending on the size of your roast).
  • Transfer the pot to the oven and cook with the lid on for 1½ hours.
  • Remove the pot from the oven and carefully add the potatoes and carrots. Return the pot to the oven and cook for another hour.
  • Remove the pot from the oven. Remove the roast from the pot and set aside, covered with foil.
  • Stir together ¼ cup cornstarch and ¼ cup cold water. Heat dutch oven on the stovetop and bring to a boil. Slowly stream in the cornstarch mixture, stirring the liquid in the pot constantly. Boil for 1 minute, then reduce to low and cover with the lid. Stir occasionally.
  • When the beef is cool enough to handle, hand shred the meat. Transfer the meat to the dutch oven and stir until it's incorporated. Add salt and a few dashes of Maggi liquid seasoning or Worcestershire to taste.
  • Serve over spaetzle or egg noodles cooked according to the package instructions.
Sliced onions cooking in a dutch oven

The recipe starts with cooking onions tossed with garlic powder (not garlic salt) and olive oil. Once the onions get soft, add the beef.

Onions and top round roast cooking in a dutch oven. The roast has a dry rub on it.

Cook the beef for about 4 minutes with the fat side down. Stir the onions occasionally while the beef is browning. The onions will begin to caramelize. Flip the beef.

Onions and beef cooking in a dutch oven. The beef is seared on top.

Cook the beef for another 4 minutes after flipping it. Continue to stir the onions occasionally. The beef should have a nice sear on the top. You’ll also have some burned bits in your pot. Don’t worry at all about those. That’s how the flavors develop, and we’ll get rid of them soon. After the beef has cooked for 4 minutes on the other side, remove it from the pot and set it aside. Now we’re going to take care of the burned bits on the bottom of the pot. Pour 2 cups of wine into the pot and use a wooden spoon so scrape all of the burned, stuck-on bits from the bottom of the pot.

Deglazing the pot with red wine using a wooden spoon

After that’s done, put the roast back in the pot. Add the rest of the bottle of wine, then enough chicken stock to cover the roast by half. Why did I use chicken stock instead of beef stock? I didn’t have any beef stock.

Beef in a dutch oven with red wine and chicken stock.

The piece of beef I had was a bit wedge-shaped, so I covered most of the short side with the liquid. I didn’t want to cover it entirely on the short side because I wasn’t trying to poach or boil the meat. Next, transfer the roast to the oven and cook with the lid on for about an hour and a half.

Beef in a dutch oven with carrots, potatoes, and braising liquid

Remove the roast from the oven. You’ll see that the liquid has started to reduce a bit, and the meat is starting to look really tasty. Carefully add the potatoes and carrots, and return the pot to the oven. Cook with the lid on for another hour.

Beef in a dutch oven with carrots, potatoes, and braising liquid

Remove the roast from the oven. See how tasty that looks? Remove the beef from the pot and set aside, covered with foil. Combine the cornstarch and cold water. Place the pot on the stovetop and bring to a boil. Stream in the cornstarch and water, stirring constantly. Cook at a boil for 1 minute, then reduce to low. The liquid will thicken as it continues to cook. Stir occasionally. Once the meat is cool enough to handle, shred it with your hands and return the shredded pieces to the pot. Stir until the meat is well-incorporated. Serve over spaetzle or egg noodles cooked according to package instructions.

Shredded beef, carrots, potatoes, and sauce in a dutch oven

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