Pot Roast with Cipollini and Fennel

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Pot Roast with Cipollini Onions in a cast iron pot

Pot Roast with Cipollini and Fennel ~ a fragrant fall and winter family meal that cooks low and slow in the oven and fills the house with wonderful aroma!

cipollini onions for Pot Roast with Cipollini Onions


Cipollini (chip-oh-LEE-nee, or ‘little onion’ in Italian) are in season right now.  I just saw a beautiful bin of them at my market the other day.  They’re a small variety with a squat shape and a glossy white, very thin, skin.  The flavor is super sweet and mild, and they’re perfect for stews and pot roasts like this one.


As I was paying for my onions I wondered aloud if it could possibly be worth the trouble to peel them and the checkout woman told me about two methods…one is to put the onions in the freezer for 20 minutes before peeling, and the other is to blanch them in boiling water for 15 or 30 seconds and then plunge them in ice water.  Supposedly the skins will slide right off.

I tried both ways.  The result: the freezer method is a bust, but the boiling/ice water does the trick!  The skin slid right off as promised.  I’m so happy to know this, because these onions are great roasted, and I’m already devising future plans for the little guys.

My chuck roast is almost 2 1/2 pounds.  That will feed the two of us with leftovers for tomorrow.  I’m going to add the vegetables for the last 2 hours of cooking so they don’t get too soft, and I’m going to roast everything at 325.  I’m also going to make the broth into a gravy.

Pot Roast with Cipollini Onions in a cast iron pot

I vividly remember my mother browning meat.  I can remember standing way back from the stove in awe of her as she stood over the sputtering pot of meat and Crisco.  It made a great racket, a huge mess, and a smell that permeated every corner of the house ~ yum!

tvfgi recommends: enameled cast iron dutch oven

Talk about a workhorse ~ an enameled cast iron Dutch oven is an essential, if you could only have one pot; it would be this one.  It’s heavy (cooks evenly,) enameled (food doesn’t stick,) large (it can handle your biggest roast,) and gorgeous (I leave mine out on the stove!)

*The View from Great Island is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program ~ Your cost is the same, but I earn a small commission from Amazon which helps keep tvfgi in the kitchen!

Pot Roast with Cipollini Onions in a cast iron pot
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Pot Roast with Cipollini and Fennel

Pot Roast with Cipollini and Fennel ~ a fragrant fall and winter family meal that cooks low and slow in the oven and fills the house with wonderful aroma!
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Cook Time 4 hours 30 minutes
Total Time 4 hours 30 minutes


  • tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 2 1/2 lb. boneless beef chuck roast
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups 3/4 lb. cipollini onions, peeled
  • 3 medium carrots peeled and chopped into 3/4 inch pieces
  • 1 medium fennel bulb sliced into 1/2 inch pieces
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves peeled and crushed
  • 1 cup dry sherry
  • 4 cups beef broth
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 4 tbsp flour


  • Set oven to 325F
  • Heat the olive oil in a large heavy bottomed pot. Salt and pepper the meat, and brown it for about 2 or 3 minutes on each of the 6 sides. Then add in the sherry, broth, herbs, and garlic. Cover the pan and put in the oven.
  • Peel the onions, peel and chop the carrots into large chunks, and trim and chop the fennel bulb into slices. After the meat has roasted for about 3 hours, take the meat out of the pan and put all of the veggies in. Then set the meat on top, cover and continue roasting for 1--1 1/2 more hours.
  • When the meat is done, take everything out of the pan and set the pan on the stove on low to medium heat. Add in 4 tbsp of flour mixed with 1/2 cup of water or stock, or if you have Wondra flour, just whisk it in. Stir until the gravy thickens. Taste for seasoning, and add in salt and pepper as needed. Slice the meat, and serve with the vegetables on the side (I like to include egg noodles as well), with gravy over all.
  • Note: Use a gluten free flour or thickener if you like.


recipe adapted from Confessions of a Picky Eater


Pot Roast with Cipollini and Fennel ~ a fragrant fall and winter family meal that cooks low and slow in the oven and fills the house with wonderful aroma! #potroast #dinner #recipe #onions #beef #easy #chuckroast #comfortfood #fall #winter #cipollini

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  • Reply
    shannon weber
    October 19, 2012 at 9:42 pm

    oh, sue, i love a good pot roast when it’s cold out! we nearly always end up making one for our post-christmas “let’s just eat something hearty” meal, so i have super good memories attached to it. I love cipollini onions, and the fennel in this looks so interesting! i feel like i can already smell it in my kitchen. 🙂

  • Reply
    A Feast for the Eyes
    October 23, 2011 at 7:18 pm

    Haha! We were both on a pot roast kick. I am a huge fan of Cipollini Onions. I discovered a clever recipe, using these. I’m keeping it under wraps until I make it. I just need to find these at Whole Foods. Beautiful pot roast, with a fresh twist.

  • Reply
    October 21, 2011 at 1:12 am

    Yum! What a delicious and comforting looking stew.

  • Reply
    October 20, 2011 at 8:45 pm

    I really could take care of that extra serving you plan to use for leftovers :-). What time is dinner? This sounds delicious and your photos give the dish great eye appeal. I hope you have a great day. Blessings… Mary

  • Reply
    October 20, 2011 at 1:21 pm

    oh gosh…i am so hungry!!!!! looks fantastic! 🙂

  • Reply
    October 20, 2011 at 7:45 pm

    Looks like a great hearty meal! Great comfort food!

  • Reply
    October 20, 2011 at 5:22 pm

    Just made the Trader Joe’s version (pre-marinated and spiced) and was underwhelmed- will be eating myleftovers thinking of your recipe which I plan to use next time.

  • Reply
    Hungry Dog
    October 20, 2011 at 3:39 pm

    Sounds fantastic, and now of course I want this tonight too (even though it’s only 8:30am here!) I love pot roast. It often gets a bad rap but it can be so delicious–especially when the veggies aren’t overly soft. I’d never heard the freezing idea for cippolinis, but since it didn’t work anyway, I’ll stick to the boiling!

  • Reply
    October 20, 2011 at 10:45 am

    Admittedly I’m not an onion lover. But that roast and the carrots look divine.

  • Reply
    Inside a British Mum's Kitchen
    October 20, 2011 at 10:41 am

    What a fabulous meal – I can smell it cooking – your photo’s are really fantastic – lovely post – your’s always are!
    Mary x

  • Reply
    Jane and Lance Hattatt
    October 20, 2011 at 8:57 am

    Hello Sue:
    We could almost detect the aroma from this side of the computer. We absolutely love slow roasts when all the ingredients over a long cooking period just seem to melt together in a glorious whole. This receipt looks wonderful and, we are sure tastes fantastic. Nearly enough to entice us into the kitchen and make it ourselves….nearly!

  • Reply
    October 20, 2011 at 5:24 am

    Awesome! Glad the blanching method worked for the onions! 🙂

  • Reply
    October 20, 2011 at 2:29 am

    My mouth started to water while I was reading this. ‘Sounds’ delicious!