Lilac Chef-owner Jeremy Engebretson Shares His Recipe

The face of two busy Billings restaurants, chef Jeremy Engebretson is a cornerstone of the local food scene. Engebretson, chef and owner of Montana Avenue’s Lilac, can also be found serving as executive chef-in-residence of the Petroleum Club. It’s not surprising that he’s a pretty busy man.

“Life, well it can be crazy,” Engebretson admits.

Despite a hectic schedule, Engebretson places importance on introducing his family, including his two children, to classic food and family favorites. He points out that we don’t give kids enough culinary credit.

“I like a nice roast because it’s simple, full of flavor and a great way to spend a few hours enjoying around the table.”

Sunday Roast

The day before


  • • 3 pounds chuck roast
  • • 1 bottle dry red wine, such as cabernet or sangiovese
  • • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • • 1 head garlic, halved
  • • 1 small white onion, quartered
  • • 2 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
  • • 5 bay leaves
  • • 5 sprigs fresh whole thyme
  • • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • • 15 peppercorns
  • • 2 tablespoons canola oil


  1. 1. Coat garlic, onion and carrots in canola oil in a medium saucepan. Cook, stirring often, over medium heat until onions are translucent and carrots are starting to soften.
  2. 2. Add remaining ingredients sans beef; bring to a simmer for 15 minutes. Cool completely before putting roast in a zip-close bag, topping with marinade. Refrigerate overnight.

The next day


  • • Marinated roast
  • • 4 ounces mixed mushrooms
  • • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • • 1 small minced shallot
  • • 2 1/2 cups beef broth
  • • 2 1/2 cups dry red wine
  • • 2 tablespoons butter
  • • 2 tablespoons flour
  • • ½ bunch flat leaf Italian parsley


  1. 1. Remove roast from marinade and pat dry with paper towels. Season generously with salt and pepper.
  2. 2. Sear all sides in a very hot braising pan. Remove and wipe clean.
  3. 3. Add 2 cups of beef broth and 2 cups red wine, bring to a simmer, add roast. Cover tightly and braise in a 250-degree oven for 4-5 hours, until meat falls apart.
  4. 4. Meanwhile, sauté mushrooms in butter until caramelized. Add garlic and shallot; cook until softened.
  5. 5. Put flour over vegetables, stirring constantly until flour smells toasty. Add ½ cup red wine and ½ cup beef broth. Bring to a simmer, stirring to incorporate flour. Add salt and pepper to taste. 
  6. 6. When beef is done, bring gravy back to simmer and mix in chopped parsley, tasting again to adjust salt and pepper.