Chilied Pot Roast

James Beard

Author and Educator

“This recipe adds the favorite spices of California, Texas, and New Mexico. It is a delicious dish with polenta or tortillas and hominy.” —James Beard


  • One 5-pound beef chuck roast, tied
  • 3 cloves garlic, sliced
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly cracked black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons beef suet or olive oil, divided
  • 4 medium onions, sliced into 1/4-inch thick half-moons
  • 2 tablespoons chile powder, or more, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon Tabasco
  • 2 cups low-sodium beef broth
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro or parsley
  • Polenta, hominy, or tortillas, for serving


Preheat oven to 325°F.

Cut several incisions in the meat and insert the sliced garlic. Season with 3 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon black pepper; rub evenly all over. Sprinkle and rub flour into meat, dusting off any excess.

Melt 2 tablespoons beef suet or olive oil in a large braising pan over high heat and brown the meat well on all sides. Take care not to use a fork, but turn with the aid of two wooden spoons, a pair of spatulas, or tongs. When the meat is nicely colored, about 3 minutes per side, transfer to a plate. Wipe out any burnt bits from the pan and reduce heat to medium. Add 1 tablespoon beef suet or olive oil and the onions and sauté until they are just softened, about 5 minutes.

Add chile powder, oregano, coriander, cumin, Tabasco, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, sprinkling evenly about the pot, and cook in the fat until toasted and aromatic, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the broth, tomato sauce, and return meat with collected juices back to the pan; bring to a boil. Cover the pot and roast in oven until fork-tender or until the meat registers about 160°F internally, 2 1/2 to 3 hours.

When meat is tender and starting to fall apart, remove the butcher twine and place roast on a warm platter. Taste and correct the seasoning of the sauce, if needed. Spoon sauce over the roast. Garnish with cilantro or parsley. Serve with polenta, hominy, and tortillas.


Adapted from James Beard's original recipe. Recipe photo and food styling by Judy Kim.


6 to 8 servings