Beef Pot Roast: A British Beef Classic

Matt Bulmers walks us through his traditional take on this classic Beef dish.

“There’s something so unmistakably British about a Beef pot-roast. Now, I’m nowhere near old enough to have been alive during World War II, but whenever I make this meal my mind drifts back to episodes of Dad’s Army, the iconic British propaganda posters of the time and a lingering line from that old Vera Lynn song ‘We’ll Meet Again’.

‘Beef and two veg’ is a staple dish of the British diet, but it’s by no means derivative or unoriginal; despite many exciting new techniques and flavours that I’ve come across as a chef, I’ve yet to find any recipe that showcases British beef as brilliantly as this simple but effective one-pot meal.”


Approx 1kg of quality boned and rolled British Beef brisket

Vegetable Oil

2 large onions, halved and sliced

3 celery sticks, finely chopped

2 large carrots, sliced

250g large mushrooms, stalks chopped and heads thinly sliced

Knob of butter

500ml bottle of brown ale

Fresh thyme

2 bay leaves

2 tsp light muscovado sugar

500g parsnips


Preheat your oven to 190/Gas 5. Rinse your meat in cold water, then pat dry and season with salt and pepper. Heat some oil in a deep casserole pan and then brown your beef all over before removing to a pan. Reduce the heat and then fry the onions, celery, carrots and mushrooms stalks for 7 minutes.

Carefully place the beef back in the pan before adding the beer, bay leave, thyme and sugar. Top up with water if needed to bring the liquid two-thirds up the beef. Season then bring to a simmer, cover and cook in the oven for 20 minutes before reducing the heat to 160C/Gas 3 for two hours, turning every half an hour.

With an hour to go, roast your parsnips in a baking tray above the beef with seasoning and oil, turning them after half an hour to avoid burning.

Once the beef is ready, remove it to a plate and tent with foil to keep war. Then turn your oven back to 190C/Gas 5 and stir in your roasted parsnips and mushrooms. Check seasoning and then cook in the oven for a further 20 minutes. Now is the time to prep any sides like mashed potato or greens to go with your meal.

When everything’s ready, remove your veg with a slotted spoon and arrange around your beef before serving with your potato/bread. Scoop off any excess fat before whisking your mustard into your gravy and tucking in!