The daylight hours are increasing, but cool nights and rain continue to remind us we are still in winter. My insides gravitate toward the warmth of soups and stews. This hearty pot roast takes some time, but is totally worth it. This blend of meat and vegetables calls for an equally impressive blend of hearty red wine from a local vintner.

Hearty Pot Roast

2 1/2 lb. bottom round, beef shoulder or tri-tip, cut into 1-inch chunks

1/3 c. all-purpose flour

1/4 tsp. salt

1/8 tsp. black pepper

1/4 c. canola oil

1 onion, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch thick lengthwise slices

2 medium carrots, peeled and cut diagonally into 1-inch pieces

2 stalks celery, sliced

3 to 4 c. water

1 lb. Roma tomatoes, coarsely chopped

1/2 c. hearty red wine

2 bay leaves

1 tsp. dried marjoram

10 black peppercorns


1 lb. green beans, trimmed and cut diagonally into 1-inch pieces

1 lb. Russet potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch chunks

Cut beef into 1-inch chunks. Mix the flour with salt and pepper, and dredge the beef chunks in the flour mixture.

Heat 2 tablespoons canola oil in a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, but not quite smoking, brown the beef on all sides until the pieces turn an even rich color, about 8 to 10 minutes.

Transfer the meat to a plate. Add the other 2 tablespoons canola oil, the onions, carrots and celery, to the skillet and cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Deglaze the skillet with 1/4 cup of the water and stir, scraping up any browned bits. Remove the skillet from the heat.

Place the beef, onions, carrots, and their cooking juices in a 12-quart stockpot. Add the tomatoes, the wine, and enough of the remaining water to cover. Make a bouquet garni with the bay leaves, marjoram and peppercorns in cheesecloth, add to stew and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to medium, partially cover the pot and simmer until meat is tender, 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally to prevent the meat from sticking to the bottom of the pot.

Add the green beans and potatoes, stirring them into the stew. If the stew is very thick, add more water, as the mixture should be liquid enough to cook the beans and potatoes. Continue cooking, partially covered, until the potatoes are tender, about 30 to 45 minutes. Adjust seasoning to taste.

Pair this hearty dish with Bridlewood’s 2014 Blend 175. A well-balanced expression of the Central Coast region, Blend 175 is comprised of syrah, grenache, petite sirah and viognier. This full-bodied wine’s dark, jammy fruit flavors and rich, soft tannins are framed nicely by notes of sweet oak, culminating in a graceful, lingering finish. Legend has it that the original Blend 175 was named for the 175 blends their winemaker put together before he found it worthy.


John David Finley is a freelance writer and author of the cookbook, "Sacred Meals from our Family Table," which features Santa Barbara County wines. He can be reached at