wine braised beef

wine braised beef 7

I don’t really consider myself a team player. I’ve never been excited about sharing or compromise (which makes me really fun to live with, as you can imagine). And yet, in the last several months, two good friends have asked me to collaborate with them on big projects.

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The first was a dinner party for twenty women. It didn’t need to be fancy or involved, except that we wanted it to be. Through a long series of emails, discussing the merits of lasagna versus baked stuffed chicken versus braised meat, we finally decided on a “deconstructed stew” theme, with glazed carrots, mashed potatoes, and beef slow-cooked in a pot of simmering wine and broth. And then just for kicks, we added pesto palmiers, cheese and crackers, mushroom farro soup, orange cream tarts, truffles, and cranberry bliss bars to the menu. Also mulled wine and flavored waters.

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Around this time, the call for proposals to present at the BlogHer Food conference was released, and Brady had asked me if I was interested in submitting a proposal with her about free photo post-processing software programs. Of course I was! Brady and I got our proposal accepted, and so we’re traveling to Seattle the second week of June to talk about editing photos, and, most importantly, doing it using free software.

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Surprisingly, to myself at least, both projects have been unqualified successes. The dinner party was great fun, to plan, to prepare, to serve, and to eat, and my friend invited me to host with her again next year, so I couldn’t have been too hard to work with! Brady and I are still in the beginning stages of planning our presentation for the BlogHer Food conference, but just the fact that our proposal was accepted is a positive sign of our ability to work together. Maybe I’m not so bad to team up with after all.

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One year ago: Toasted Almond Scones
Two years ago: Honey Wheat Cookies
Three years ago: Honey Yogurt Dip
Four years ago: Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas

Printer Friendly Recipe
Wine-Braised Beef

Serves 4-6

The goal was that the main dish be stew-like without being stew. It was going to be served on plates, so it couldn’t be too saucy, but we wanted meltingly tender chunks of beef. A cheaper cut of meat so we could serve a crowd was definitely a bonus. It also doesn’t hurt that there’s no last-minute work and it can be made in advance and actually improves with being stored overnight.

I’m a big fan of Yellowtail’s wine for recipes like this. It’s cheap but pretty good. I used a Shiraz/Cabernet Sauvignon blend.

1 tablespoon canola oil
1 (3 to 3½-pound) boneless beef chuck roast, cut into 2-inch cubes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 ounce pancetta, diced into ⅛-inch cubes
1 yellow onion, diced fine
1 medium carrot, diced fine
1 celery stalk, diced fine
3 cloves garlic, minced
1½ cups dry red wine
1½ cups chicken broth
1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes, with juice
1 sprig thyme
2 tablespoons butter, room temperature
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, for garnish

1. Heat the oil in a 5-quart Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Pat the meat dry, season it generously with salt and pepper, and arrange the pieces, without touching, in the Dutch oven. (You may need to do this in two batches.) Cook the meat, without stirring or flipping, for 2-3 minutes, until the bottoms are deeply browned. Turn the chunks of meat and brown a second side. Transfer the meat to a plate. Discard any fat in the pan (but leave the cooked-on brown bits).

2. In the same pot over medium heat, cook the pancetta until fat starts to render, 3-5 minutes. Add the onion, carrot, and celery; cook, stirring occasionally, until the edges of the onions start to brown, about 6 minutes. Add the garlic; cook and stir for about one minute. Pour the wine into the pot, scraping up the sticky brown bits on the bottom of the pot. Add the stock, tomatoes with their juice, thyme sprig, and reserved meat back to the pot. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a simmer. Once the liquid simmers, reduce the heat to low, partially cover the pot, and simmer slowly until the meat is tender, about 3 hours.

3. Mix the butter and flour in a small bowl until smooth. Remove the thyme sprig from the pot. Whisk the butter/flour paste into the sauce. Increase the heat to medium to medium-high and simmer, uncovered, until the sauce is thickened. Serve, topping each portion with a sprinkling of parsley.

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Comments

  1. Amy Tong says:

    What a beautiful dish to serve at the party! :) Congratulations for getting the proposal accepted. I wish I can join the BlogHer conference! Will need to work with my hubby’s schedule to work things out. :)

  2. Caitlin says:

    When can I be invited to a dinner party you host? I’m impressed by how extensive the menu is! Then again, I do small dinner parties which require fewer dishes to keep everyone happy – our apartment doesn’t fit that many people at once :) Have fun speaking at BlogHer!

  3. Jessy says:

    So excited for you with the BlogHer conference. That is awesome. I love the idea of using pancetta instead of bacon with the beef. This looks incredible.

  4. Patty says:

    Ooohhh… Yummy! Have fun at the BlogHer conference! You’ll do fantastic!

  5. Cara says:

    I could only be a team player with certain people. Certain people whose brains seem exactly aligned with mine when it comes to important things like food. I’m pretty sure we’d make a good team :)

  6. branny says:

    Obviously you’re a better team player than you give yourself credit for!

  7. Knowing that you and Brady are presenting makes me wish I were going to the conference that much more! It would be so great to meet you both in person. :)

    And I love braised beef and the idea of a deconstructed stew. I bet that guests at your dinner party were in heaven.

  8. emiglia says:

    As far as things to discover about yourself, that’s not half-bad! Also, the “stew” looks amazing. I’m bookmarking this one!

  9. Melissa says:

    Mmmm, that stew! Go team Midget. Love the plating. Seattle sounds fun. So much good food to eat there- especially seafood. Great, now I’m craving stew and fresh seafood.

  10. Congrats on your proposal being accepted! That sounds like it’s going to be a great presentation. And congrats on a successful dinner. Sounds like a great meal.

  11. Dana says:

    Just made this for dinner – it was delicious! Thanks for sharing!

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