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Pot-roast Beef with French Onion Gravy

This recipe for pot-roast beef with a delicious French onion gravy uses lean cuts of meat, making it a lighter version of this classic family favourite, perfect for a Sunday roast.


Silverside and topside are cheaper and leaner cuts of meat, well-suited to slow-cooking. You’ll need a large slow cooker to make this.

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800g-1kg piece silverside or topside of beef that will fit your slow cooker, with no added fat
2 tbsp olive oil
8 young carrots, tops trimmed (but leave a little, if you like)
1 celery stick, finely chopped
100ml white wine
300ml rich beef stock
2 bay leaves
500g onions
A few thyme sprigs
1 tsp butter
1 tsp light brown or light muscovado sugar
2 tsp plain flour

Essential kit

You will need: a large slow cooker.


1. Heat the slow cooker if necessary. Rub the meat with 1 tsp of the oil and plenty of seasoning. Heat a large flameproof casserole dish and brown the meat all over for about 10 mins. Meanwhile, add 2 tsp oil to a frying pan and fry the carrots and celery for 10 mins until turning golden.

2. Lift the beef into the slow cooker, splash the wine into the hot casserole and boil for 2 mins. Pour it into the slow cooker with the stock, then tuck in the carrots, celery and bay leaves, trying not to submerge the carrots too much. Cover and cook on High for 1 hour and then Low for 8 hours. If you can, turn the beef once during cooking.

3. During the first hour of cooking, thinly slice the onions. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a pan and stir in the onions, thyme and some seasoning. Cover and cook gently for 20 mins until the onions are softened but not coloured. Remove the lid, turn up the heat, add the butter and sugar, then let the onions caramelise to a dark golden brown, stirring often. Remove the thyme sprigs, stir in the flour, cook for 1 min, then add the onions to the slow cooker.

4. When the beef is ready, it will be tender and easy to pull apart at the edges. Remove it from the cooker and snip off the strings. Slice the beef and bring to the table on a platter, with the carrots to the side and the gravy spooned over.

Good to know: healthy • low-salt
Per serving: kcals 487 • fat 17g • saturates 5g • carbs 19g • sugars 15g • fibre 5g • protein 6g • salt 1g

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