Our recipe calls for carrots, celery, and pearl onions, but you can swap them out for equal amounts of your favorite vegetables. We’ve also called for red wine (a common ingredient in modern pot roasts) for richer flavor. If you prefer not to use it, substitute extra beef stock. For best results, use a heavy-bottomed Dutch oven to sear the meat on the stovetop; then continue braising in the oven, where steady heat surrounds the pot evenly, preventing a scorched bottom.
Preheat your oven to 350° and position a rack in the lower half of the oven. Pat the meat dry and season liberally on all sides with salt and pepper.
Set a large Dutch oven over medium- high heat, and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the beef to the pot and sear evenly on all sides, using tongs to turn the roast, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
Lower the heat to medium and add the remaining olive oil. Add the onion, garlic, and chopped herbs, and cook, stirring often, until the onions are translucent, about 6 minutes.
Deglaze the pot: Add the wine and 1 cup of the beef stock, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Add the tomato paste; then return the browned roast to the pot, adding more stock to come a little more than halfway up the meat (the amount of stock you’ll need will vary with the size of the roast). Bring to a simmer.
Once it’s simmering, remove the pot from the heat. Cover the top with a sheet of aluminum foil; then cover with the lid. Transfer the pot to the oven and cook until the beef is quite tender, 2 to 2½ hours. Be sure the liquid in the pot is simmering, not boiling, and that there’s enough liquid to prevent the meat from drying out.
Remove the pot from the oven and arrange the vegetables, bay leaf, and herb sprigs around the meat. Cover and return to the oven for an additional 20 to 30 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender and a knife slips easily in and out of the meat. Transfer the roast to a plate and tent with foil for 15 minutes.
To serve, slice against the grain, or use two forks to pull the beef into chunks. Discard the bay leaf and herb sprigs; then arrange the beef and vegetables on a platter. Spoon the sauce over the beef and vegetables alongside mashed potatoes, buttered egg noodles, or rice.