Chuck Roast with Caramelized Onions and Baby Bella Mushrooms

I recently mentioned to my husband that I could probably devote an entire blog to meals I make just using food that friends drop off at my house. Truly, this is an amazingly frequent occurrence. I know that I have some awesome friends here in Charlotte but I also think that when an errant bulb of fennel or container of peppermint is left at my front door, the giver KNOWS for certain that I will put his or her gift to good use. And I do. Always.

The gifted mushrooms

The gifted ingredient in this meal is beautiful baby bella mushrooms.

My son’s friend showed up at the bus stop the other morning reluctantly dragging his backpack behind him, but proudly holding out two beautiful mesh bags of produce – one of which contained about a dozen mushrooms. After eyeing these mushrooms for a few days, I knew they would taste amazing slow cooked with chuck roast for Sunday dinner.

To make this simple, yet delicious roast, I layered the mushrooms in the bottom of the pan, topped the roast with caramelized onions, and drizzled red wine and water over the top. Doesn’t that sound almost too easy to be true??

Three ingredients + a little red wine + 6 hours or so in a crock pot = Delicious!


2.5 lb bone-in chuck roast
2 large onions, sliced and caramelized
A dozen or so Baby Bella mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup red wine
1/2 cup water
Salt and pepper


1. Caramelize the onions: Sunday morning, while my father-in-law was cooking breakfast for the little people, I stole the pan with which he had fried up some bacon and used that to caramelize my onions. Sooo… not my healthiest moment but, wow! were those onions delicious.

Thinly slice onions and cook for 30 to 40 minutes
until they are golden brown but not burnt

Thinly slice onions and cook them over low/medium low for about 30 to 45 minutes in a decent amount of olive oil (or bacon drippings) until they are dark brown but not burnt.

2. Brown the chuck roast: My chuck roast is from a North Carolinian cow, of course, raised by Gil and Amy Foster on Gilcrest Natural Farm in Iron Station – no hormones, antibiotics, or growth stimulants – just pasture grasses, hay, and a little bit of grain. Rub salt and pepper into the roast on both sides and cook over high heat in a large frying pan for a few minutes on each side to give it a nice sear.

Brown the roast on both sides
Place the chuck roast in the slow cooker

3. Slow cook the roast: Put the browned chuck roast and mushrooms in the bottom of a crock pot. Spread the caramelized onions over the top of the roast and mushrooms. Gently pour 1/2 cup red wine around the roast and mushrooms and then add a 1/2 cup of water. Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.

Ready to slow cook

4. Serve the Roast … Au Jus! After six hours or so, the meat will be completely falling off the bone. I gently arranged the meat and mushrooms on a serving plate, removing some of the fat that had been around the edges of the roast. (Do not cut away the fat before you cook the roast!) Using a large spoon or a ladle, make sure you scoop out the wonderfully flavorful juice that remains in the bottom of the slow cooker. I transferred it to a gravy boat and put it on the table so everyone could add a little bit to their own plates.

Can you see the meat falling off the bone?
Au Jus

Final Notes … This roast was truly delicious and tasty. So much flavor! We served our roast and mushrooms with a simple side of steamed Candy Roaster Squash. (Candy Roaster Squash, you ask? Stay tuned for details …)

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Erin Brighton

I am a native New Englander now living in beautiful Charlotte, North Carolina and enjoying summers in sea-breezy Scituate, Massachusetts with my five small kids and two large dogs. I love to cook easy, local, and gluten-free for friends and family.

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