Rich balsamic vinegar and a small section of oxtail give this pot roast a very rich and savory flavor. Get it started the night before or in the morning for a stress-free dinner. This is an excellent recipe for a dinner party.


• 4 pounds chuck roast, removed from refrigeration 1 hour before cooking
• 3 or 4 inch sections of oxtail (optional, but it really makes a difference in the sauce flavor and texture)
• 2 tablespoons fat
• 1 large onion, chopped
• 2 cloves garlic, crushed
• 4 inch of fresh rosemary (or 1 teaspoon dried)
• 1 cup water, beef or chicken stock, or dry red wine
• ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
• 2 cups finely chopped tomatoes

SERVINGS: 6 with leftovers


1. Warm a few tablespoons of fat or oil in a big, heavy skillet and brown the chuck roast on all sides. Put the section of oxtail at the bottom of the slow cooker. Put the roast on top of the oxtail. Add the onion, garlic, and rosemary on top of the beef.

2. Add water, stock, or wine to the pan and deglaze by scraping and dissolving the brown bits on the bottom. Add the liquid to the slow cooker, along with the balsamic vinegar and tomatoes.

3. Don’t Shock the Meat

4. Meat that goes directly from a cold refrigerator to a hot pan has a hard time adjusting to the extreme temperature change and won’t cook evenly or in the amount of time a recipe suggests. Before you cook meat, let it sit out (covered, of course) for at least a half hour. This is enough time for the meat to come up to temperature so it will cook evenly, but it is too short a time to promote any significant bacteria growth due to a lack of refrigeration.

5. Cook covered on a low setting for 8 hours. Remove the roast to a warmed serving platter. Strain the liquid, discarding the oxtail bones and rosemary stem (leave the leaves), then place the remaining onions and tomatoes on top of the roast. Cover the roast with foil to retain heat.

6. Simmer the strained liquid until reduced by half—it will be rich and flavorful due to the oxtail section that cooked along with it.

7. Spoon some of the reduced sauce over the roast and pass the rest of the sauce in a gravy dish at the table.