If you find yourself kitchen-bound in the winter and you are looking for a hearty dish to keep you warm, look no further than braised meat–your bones (and your taste buds) will thank you for it.
- 3 tablespoons grapeseed oil
- 2 pounds beef (shank, shoulder, or chuck that has lots of connective tissue and marbling)
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 carrots, chopped
- 2 stalks of celery, chopped
- 4 garlic cloves
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 cups red wine (dry)
- 4-8 cups beef stock
- 2 bay leaves
- 8 parsley stems
- 4 sprigs of fresh thyme
- Salt and pepper as needed
- Season & Sear. Remove the meat from the fridge and let it come to room temperature (about 30 minutes). This step allows for a more even sear as the cold meat won’t cool down your hot pan. Heat the pan on high and add grapeseed oil. Season the meat with salt and sear both sides. Remove meat from the pan and turn temperature down to medium.
- Sauté Mirepoix (onion, carrot, celery). Mirepoix is the base for any soup, sauce, or braise. Add a little more grapeseed oil to pan and sauté onions until tender. Add the carrots and celery and sauté until tender. Add garlic and sauté until aromatic.
- Deepen the Flavor. This is a crucial step that is often overlooked. After the mirepoix is tender, add one to two tablespoons of tomato paste and sauté for two more minutes. This step adds a deeper flavor and complexity to the dish.
- Pour on the Liquid Heat. Add wine to the pan and scrape the browned bits off the bottom (the remnants of the sautéed meat and vegetables). Reduce the wine by half and add the meat back to the pan. Add beef stock (just enough to cover the meat and vegetables), bay leaves, parsley stems, and thyme to the pan. Do not cover the dish. Braise the meat low and slow for 4−5 hours (depending on the amount and cut of meat) or until plastic-fork tender—the meat should easily fall off of the bone with the touch of even a plastic fork.
- Reduce Reserves. Once the meat is braised, remove some of the remaining liquid to a separate sauté pan. Bring the liquid to a simmer and reduce it until it becomes nappé (or covers the back of a spoon). Strain away any fat or impurities as liquid is reducing. Once the sauce is the right consistency, turn the heat off and whisk in butter to balance out the flavor.
- Plate and Serve. Plate the meat (you can shred it or leave it whole) with roasted root vegetables and fresh herbs. Drizzle the reduction sauce over and serve immediately. This dish pairs well with egg noodles, rice, or mashed potatoes.
Recipe from The Local Palate
Photo by Jennifer Hitchcock