No Happy Memory Monday this week, everyone… I finally got around to writing this post, so this is what’s being published today. Eating this has left me with many happy memories….
At last! The long-awaited first edition of Cat’s Kitchen! Hopefully this ‘recipe’ doesn’t disappoint…
But first thing’s first… WTF was up with the chilly weather last week? In the middle of August! The runner in me was thrilled, but the beach bum? Not so much!
Whatever the case, the cool weather inspired me to put the cover on the BBQ, and bust out the fall ‘recipes’… casseroles, soups, and so on. I am in love with this particular dish for three reasons. One- it tastes AWESOME! Two- it’s really easy. And three- my lazy ass hates doing dishes, and to make this, all you need is one big-ass dutch oven.
BEEF BRAISED IN RED WINE
- Beef (duh!)- you can use whatever cut you like in this recipe. It is often recommended that you use tougher cuts for braising, so the meat doesn’t fall apart, but I say- what the hell is wrong with the meat falling apart? If it falls apart, you just get to sop it up with a big piece of bread! Yum! I used cross rib here. You’ll need 2-2.5 lbs.
- Onion- 2 small, or one large. I prefer vidalia, but use whatever you have on hand.
- Garlic- 2-3 cloves. Or more, if you are attempting to ward off vampires.
- Beef broth- approx. 1 cup. Good on ya if you make your own. But the canned stuff is perfectly fine. I prefer to use the low sodium stuff- otherwise you run the risk of the end product being too salty.
- Red Wine (again, duh!)- approx. 1.5 cups. Make sure it’s something you like to drink… because you will. I used a nice Pinot Noir here.
- Tomato paste- a generous spoonful.
- Olive oil- 3-4 tablespoons-ish.
- Flour- a couple of tablespoons should do.
- Salt and Pepper
- Fresh herbs– Whatever you like, or whatever you have… I like sage, thyme and rosemary with beef. A little bit of chopped flat leaf parsley added after cooking is complete is a nice touch as well.
- Coarsely chop the onions and garlic. Braising involved cooking over very long periods of time. The onions and garlic will be unrecognizable after three hours in the oven, so don’t worry about perfection here. No need to prep the fresh herbs- I just toss whole sprigs into the pot, and pluck them out once cooking is complete.
- Trim the beef of any visible fat, and chop it into bite-size pieces.
- Toss the beef in enough flour to coat.
- Pre-heat the oven to 300 degrees.
- Bust out that dutch oven- one that is safe for both oven and stove-top cooking. Here’s mine- she’s approximately 10-12lbs of cast iron goodness. I’m very proud.
Heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat in the bottom of the dutch oven- when it is sufficiently heated, cook the onions and garlic until browned and softened- this takes 8-10 minutes, typically. Once finished, remove from the pot, and set aside.
- Add a couple more tablespoons of olive oil to the dutch oven, and increase the heat to high. Add the flour-coated beef, turning each piece to brown on
allmost sides. It doesn’t have to be perfect- some browning just makes it taste better. And don’t worry if the meat sticks a little- all of those bits will be scraped off in the next step.
- Once the meat is browned, add in the wine. Don’t worry about measuring- just eyeball it! A cup and a half is somewhere between 1/3 and 1/2 a bottle. Stir this mixture, scraping all the yummy brown bits from the bottom of the pot as you go. Lots of flavour there. Allow this mixture to come to a boil. Pour yourself a glass of wine while you wait (and no- I don’t care if you’re doing this at 9:00 in the morning- if you’re cooking with wine, you’re entitled to a glass. End of story).
- Remove from heat. Add in beef broth (again- you really don’t need to measure… it doesn’t have to be exactly one cup), onions and garlic, tomato paste, a bit of salt a pepper, and a few sprigs of your favourite herbs. Be cautious with the salt- you can always add more later, but if you add too much, you can’t take it back. Trust me.
- Cover the dutch oven with a tight fitting lid, and place it in the preheated oven for 2 1/2 to 3 hours. This is a wonderful opportunity to drink the rest of that bottle of wine! Or, in my case, go for a walk to the dollar store with your four-year-old. Check out what we found there… I loved playing with this stuff when I was a kid!
- Once the cooking time is complete, remove the pot from the oven. Stir the mixture well. Find those sprigs of fresh herbs, and remove them- no one wants to eat those woody stems. Trust me. Taste, and add more salt if needed. If you want to add some chopped fresh parsley for colour, do so immediately before serving.
- Serve with a big hunk of freshly baked bread to soak up all the delicious juices (I bake my own, but the stuff from the grocery store will do quite nicely), and vegetables of your choice (I chose steamed green beans with honey-lemon vinaigrette. Yum!). And of course- a big glass of red wine. If you have any left. And no, I am not an alcoholic. I’m sure you were wondering.
A couple more hot tips….
- If you don’t have a dutch oven… well, you should. Kidding- if you don’t have one, the stove top portion of this recipe can be done in a large saucepan, and in step 7, transfer all ingredients to a large casserole dish. You’ll just have an extra dish to do at the end, which kinda sucks.
- If you use a rather fatty cut of meat, and the final product appears to be swimming in grease, you can allow the dish to cool after removing it from the oven. Once cooled, you can scoop off any fat that has congealed on top (sounds delicious). Then just reheat on the stove top over medium heat, and serve.
Happy Monday everyone!!!