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Saturday, February 4, 2012

Beef Braised In Red Wine (Brasato al Vino Rosso)

This is my own version of a recipe based on a famous dish from the Piemontese region of Italy which produces some of the best  Italian wine, Barolo and it is Italy's version of Beef Bourguignon! I like Brasato al Vino Rosso a little better then Beef Bourguignon because first of all it's Italian : ) but also because it has those yummy Italian flavors my family enjoys like garlic, pancetta, and rosemary mmmmmm. I have taken the traditional recipe and used a more economical cut of beef  and a cheaper wine bot don't worry  it produces similar results as it is high in tannins like a Barolo.
3 1/2 - 4 lb. boneless chuck roast (I get a twin pack at Costco and use 1 for this and freeze 1 for a Ragu)
1 bottle (750) of Cabernet Sauvignon (Charles Shaw or Oak Leaf are both under $3, pick up two bottles one for the beef and one to drink with the dinner!)
*optional 2 ounces pancetta or bacon chopped into small pieces
1 large onion peeled and cut into slices
2-3 stalks celery cut into 1-2 inch chunks
2-3  carrots cut into 1-2 inch chunks (or use baby carrots)
*optional 1/2 cup dried mushrooms
2-3 garlic cloves still whole but w/ skin removed
1 rosemary sprig
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon peppercorns (You can wrap these in a cheesecloth with the bay-leaf and rosemary if you don't want to be fishing them out)
sea salt & ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons butter
butchers twine (not a must at all but very helpful in making a nice presentation and easier cutting)
dutch oven or large heavy bottomed pot with a tight fitting lid
Slice the onion, celery, and carrot ~The Holy trinity of Italian cooking~and put them in a large bowl with the meat, mushrooms, bay leaf, garlic cloves, rosemary, and peppercorns, as well as the whole bottle of wine-- I love the sound of a whole bottle of wine chug-a-lugging into the bowl it makes me  feel so extravagant-- cover with plastic wrap. Place in fridge and allow to marinate for a few hours or over night.
Remove the meat and reserve the marinade.
Pat the meat dry and remove any hard pieces of fat leaving behind all soft fat pieces.
Rub some olive oil, salt, and ground pepper liberally all over.
Tie the meat with string so it keeps its shape.
Heat up the pot and fry the pancetta or skip the pancetta and move on, add your butter and olive oil and melt/heat-up.
Add your beef and brown it on all sides. 
Add the marinating liquid along with all the veggies and seasonings, bring to a simmer and cover.
Simmer over a med/low heat (just simmering) until the meat is done, right around 3 1/2- 4 hours, turn the meat every 1/2 hour or so. The meat is done it will cut with a spoon!
Remove it to a platter and take off the string. Cover with foil until ready to cut, 10-15 minutes.
Strain the liquid over a bowl, discard the bay leaf, rosemary stem, and peppercorns, place the veggies around the roast or in a separate serving bowl, and pour the liquid back in the pot.
Reduce the cooking liquid over medium heat into a saucy consistency. Mine took a good 10-12 minutes! Remove from the heat and add two tablespoons of whole butter, stir smooth and season with salt and pepper to taste.

In Italy this is served with a side of light fluffy Soft Polenta , Risotto,or homemade buttered Tagliatelle 
my favorite is polenta!
Buy this book HERE!
And of course another bottle of the same vino you cooked the beef in : )

Upon cooking this I couldn't help but think of this book I read while back. It is called Barolo by Matthew Gavin Frank.  Here is a description of the book:
"After a childhood of microwaved meat and saturated fat, Matthew Gavin Frank got serious about food. His “research” ultimately led him to Barolo, Italy (pop. 646), where, living out of a tent in the garden of a local farmhouse, he resolved to learn about Italian food from the ground up. Barolo is Frank’s account of those six months.
At once an intimate travelogue and a memoir of a culinary education, the book details the adventures of a not-so-innocent abroad in Barolo, a region known for its food and wine (also called Barolo). Upon arrival, Frank began picking wine grapes for famed vintner Luciano Sandrone. He tells how, between lessons in the art of the grape harvest, he discovered, explored, and savored the gustatory riches of Piemontese Italy. Along the way we meet the region’s families and the many eccentric vintners, butchers, bakers, and restaurateurs who call Barolo home. Rich with details of real Italian small-town life, local foodstuffs, strange markets, and a circus like atmosphere, Frank’s story also offers a wealth of historical and culinary information, moments of flamboyance, and musings on foreign travel (and its many alien seductions), all filtered through food and wine."

*OPTIONALS: These are my additions you can use them or leave them out. Some people also like frozen peas in this as well.

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