Italian Pot Roast

Italian Pot Roast
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If you have young children like we both do, you’ve probably spent the last few weeks watching your fair share of classic Christmas cartoons. Our favorite hands down is “A Charlie Brown Christmas.”

A close runner up is “How The Grinch Stole Christmas.” The reason these movies top our charts are more than the charming characters and old school animation. They are classics yes, but we love them for the messages they speak to us and our children.

Some of our children may be too young to truly grasp the reason we celebrate Christmas, but they are catching on quickly. We are trying to teach them about generosity and giving and letting them know that Santa is, well, not really the one handing out gifts.

Italian Pot Roast

There are many touching scenes in “A Charlie Brown Christmas” but the one that tugs at the heart strings the hardest is when Linus teaches Charlie Brown the true meaning of Christmas. Picture it if you can. “And they were in the same country, abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night…..” He is reciting the King James version of Luke Chapter 2 from the Bible. Christmas is afterall a celebration of the birth of Jesus. We appreciate that these cute cartoons remind us to steady our pace and put down our to-do lists and remember why we are celebrating in the first place.

And speaking of celebrating. Good food and feasting with friends and loved ones is at the top of our to-do lists this year. We hope you are planning the same. Queue our second favorite children’s Christmas movie, “How The Grinch Stole Christmas.” We can’t help but laugh at the Grinch. At the top of the mountain, scheming in his snow cave with his cute little puppy Describing everything he can’t stand about Christmas. “Then the Whos, young and old, would sit down to a feast. And they’d feast! And they’d FEAST! FEAST! FEAST! FEAST! They would feast on Who-pudding, and rare Who-roast beast.” While not the inspiration for this post, who can eat Pot Roast during the week of Christmas after having watched this movie a dozen times over the past 2 weeks without chuckling at Dr. Seuss’ clever play on words, roast beef/beast.

The movie ends, with the Grinch’s heart growing three sizes and he ends up being the one carving the beautiful roast beast centerpiece. He observes that the Who’s down in Whoville also know that Christmas isn’t about presents, sparkly decorations or even that fabulous roast beast. At the core of it, How The Grinch Stole Christmas” is a story about redemption and forgiveness. The movie ends with everyone holding hands singing a catchy little tune. “Christmas day is in our grasp, so long as we have hands to clasp.”

Our hope for this week is that we would enjoy greatly those around us. Family, friends, even strangers and grinches. Savor every meal, sing Christmas carols at the top of your lungs and cuddle with someone while watching cute movies. Remember that Christmas is not about what you are giving or gifting. It is about love.

Italian Pot Roast

Serves 6


3 lb chuck roast, trimmed and cut
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup pancetta (or good quality bacon)
6 garlic cloves
2 small onions, finely chopped
2 celery spears, finely chopped
1 cup diced carrots
2 sprigs of fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
2 tbsp tomato paste
kosher salt
freshly ground pepper
2 cups red wine
italian parsley for serving
mashed potatoes or egg noodles for serving


  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Generously salt and pepper the meat. In a large dutch oven heat olive oil over medium-high. Once steaming, brown meat in batches until brown on all sides. Remove from dish and continue until all the meat is cooked. Set the meat aside.
  2. Still over medium-high heat, cook pancetta until crispy. Add onions, carrots and celery stirring constantly to scrape up brown bits. If your vegetables are sticking to the bottom, add another tablespoon of olive oil. Cook the onions, carrots and celery until softened. Add garlic and stir until fragrant.
  3. Using tongs, nestle the meat into the vegetable mixture. Pour the wine over the meat. The meat should not be completely covered. Stir in tomato paste. Add the bay leaves and thyme. Bring the liquid to a boil. Once the liquid is boiling, cover with the lid and move to the oven. Cook for 2 hours.
  4. Once the roast is done, the meat should be tender. Move the meat to a serving dish and tent with foil. Without the lid, bring the liquid and vegetables to a boil over medium-high heat. After about 8-10 minutes the liquid should thicken and reduce by about ⅓. This will be your “gravy”. Pour the gravy over the top of the meat. Garnish with Italian parsley and serve warm over egg noodles or mashed potatoes.