Braised beef

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I still have loads to learn about the anatomy of a cow to be able to name all the muscles and bones that are appropriate for particular dishes. In the meantime, I went to a butcher and asked for some braising beef. The piece I got was about 800 g, just enough for a weekend’s worth of food.

The recipe I used is a modification of a recipe from Giorgio Locatelli’s book “Made in Italy. Food and stories.” He used veal shanks, with the intention of making them into ravioli. I had the same ambition with my braised beef. But first things first.


3 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 carrot, sliced
a handful of chopped smoked bacon
500 mL white wine
1 tablespoon tomato paste
500 mL water or stock
3-4 saffron threads
1 bouquet garni: a mixture of a few springs of rosemary, sage, and thyme and a couple of bay leaves, tied together in a piece of sterile gauze
800 g piece of braising beef
1 tablespoon vegetable oil


Preheat the oven to 200 C.

Heat olive oil in a pot that will transfer to the oven, add the vegetables and sauté gently for about 10 minutes, until the vegetables are soft.

Add the bacon and fry for a couple of minutes.

In the meantime, sear the meat with some oil in a separate pan.

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Remove the meat and set to the side. Add the wine and scrape the bottom to remove all the bits from the bottom. Reduce the liquid a bit, cooking it for a couple of minutes.

Add the reduced wine to the pot with the vegetables, and cook until there is no liquid left.

Put the vegetable mixture to the side of the pan and add the tomato paste. Fry for a minute or so, and then mix everything together.

Add the stock or water and saffron to the pot. Bring to the boil, add the seared meat and the bouquet garni. Season generously with salt.

Put in the oven for about 3 hours, checking periodically that the liquid does not dry out.

Serve sliced, with some photogenic vegetables.

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