Beef Braised in Chianti
Total time: 4 hours 40 min broken into 3 stages Night before: 10 minutes; Afternoon of: 20 minutes Braising time: 4 hours plus 10 minutes to finish
I love doing long-cooking, wine-infused, meat in the cool months. It's a wonderful way to get the most out of 'cheap cuts' and, usually it's the cheap, flavorful cuts that we want. They have the most flavor and get meltingly tender. I always plan for leftovers.
- 32oz (960gr) beef roast, chuck or rump, suitable for stewing or braising
- 1 medium onion
- 1 carrot
- 1 rib celery
- 2 bay (laurel) leaves
- 1 tbs juniper berries
- 1 tsp black peppercorns
- 1 bottle Chianti - a lesser version of what you want to drink, if possible
- 1 tbs olive oil
- 4oz (120gr) mushrooms
- 15oz (450gr) whole tomatoes
- 3 tbs cornstarch dissolved in 3 tbs water or reserved marinade
- The night before:
- Remove any big chunks of fat from beef, cut into large pieces, about 3" (8cm).
- Put the beef into a bowl just large enough to hold it.
- Slice the onion, carrot and celery and add to beef.
- Add the bay leaves, juniper berries and peppercorns.
- Pour the red wine over, cover and refrigerate at least 12 hours. (24 or 36 is okay).
- The afternoon of:
- 4 1/2 hours before dinner take the meat out of the marinade and let drain, reserving all of the marinade.
- Heat oil in the braising pot. Add beef and brown well, about 15 minutes total.
- Strain the vegetables, reserving marinade. Add vegetables to the beef.
- Open and drain the tomatoes. Roughly chop the tomatoes and add to beef.
- Clean mushrooms. Roughly chop and add to beef.
- Add 1/2 of the reserved marinade, cover, reduce heat and let simmer, gently, for 4 hours. Check it periodically and add more reserved marinade as needed. It should almost cover the beef. I used all but about 1 cup.
- Remove beef from pan and keep warm.
- Strain vegetables, reserving wine/pan juices. Skim off any excess fat if you can (use a spoon or fat separator), then put juices in a saucepan.
- Heat juices to boiling.
- Slowly add cornstarch mixture to thicken. You probably won't need all of it so stop periodically and let it cook to test consistency.
- Remove bay leaves from vegetables and discard. Add reserved vegetables to saucepan and heat through. Arrange some of the beef on a platter. Spoon some sauce around and serve, extra sauce on the side.
Note: For leftovers, see Beef with Mushrooms and Beef on Potato Patties