Updated: Jan 7
Here's one recipe for the soul taken in the proper context that savoring a few choice morsels that rise to the highest level of satisfaction, can and should be eaten in moderation. Know that this indulgence is not one to abuse where one's health is concerned. So that said eat, enjoy and do be certain to craft your menus in such a manner as to allow your family to relish fabulously satisfying dishes like this braised beef on occasion. Braised meats are simply too good to forgo in a lifetime brief and bereft that it can be.
There are volumes on the topic of braised meat and I continue to consider the various new approaches brought to bear to produce a better braise. Uncertain there really is improvement for a braised meat dish. While sous-vide method may produce perfectly cooked product that one could in-fact cook, dine, and even preserve the balance if using a resealable pouch, the matter of the joy of the ceremonious aspect of preparing this dish of great emotion is lost somehow by the convenience and exacting aspects of beef cooked in plastic. To my simple view, a grand reason to prepare this dish is to experience the scene, the touch, the scents, the oration, the sounds - the glass of wine while preparing the dish and the conversation that compels all of the family aroma seekers to gather and gasp a glimpse of what lies ahead,
Braised Beef with Red Wine
Serves 2 - 3
Prep time: about 8-10 minutes
Cook time: about 1 hour
Preheat Oven to 390ᐤF
Note: While not essential, starting your oven high then lowering the heat when the pan of ribs is inserted aids in keeping it hot while the whole reaches the desired braising temperature rather than drawing the caramelized flavors and colors from the foods as it bathes in the sauce while rising to the desired cooking temp.
Select bone-in cuts of grass-fed beef from your region - short ribs, oxtails or cross-cut shanks. Boneless cheeks or 2-inch pieces of cubed chuck or round are suitable too but cooking time will need to be adjusted down accordingly. We selected short-ribs from our regenerative ranching friend Cory of Carman Ranch here in the Wallowa’s of Eastern Oregon. We’ve prepared this dish with wines from our region and around the globe with great success so do use your favorite dry red wine and serve it with the same wine used to prepare the dish for an appropriate if not perfect pairing. For this recipe, we prepared and served this dish with outstanding wine gifted from our friend Don Kneeland of Delphi Vintner’s. His limited production private collection of this 2016 Merlot, Red Mountain AVA is crafted from select commissioned fruit from a celebrated Eastern Washington vineyard.
1 pound beef with bones
freshly ground black pepper
Dry mustard, ground, or mustard flowers minced
2 tablespoons wheat flour
⅓ cup good cooking olive oil
2 tablespoons each of ¼ inch diced carrot, onion and celery
2 - 3 cloves peeled garlic, minced
½ cup dry red wine
1 ½ cups beef broth
½ cup peeled and diced ripe tomatoes
1 bay leaf
¼ cup loose measure, fresh tarragon leaves, divided - bundle and use stems to braise if you have cooking twine. ( Substitute 1 tablespoon dry tarragon leaves)
To prepare the braised beef
In a bowl, generously season the beef with the salt & pepper. Season lightly with the dry mustard. Sprinkle about half the flour over the beef, turning it to coat evenly. The balance of the flour, including the dredging remains will be added later to make a thin braising sauce.
Place a heavy (cast iron skillet or enameled cast iron) pan with the lid removed over medium-high heat. As the pan just begins to throw up a wave of steam (or light plume of smoke) add the oil. Mindful of the hot oil, carefully place the prepared pieces of meat in the skillet and cook. Without overcrowding the pan, cook turning on all sides to caramelize.
Add the diced vegetables and cook lightly browning the edges while stirring the vegetables with a wooden spoon. Add the garlic and cook stirring for a few additional minutes. Turn the meat chunks then add the balance of the flour to the vegetable mixture and stir to combine. The mixture should be like thick, heavy cream so add additional oil if necessary to adjust if the mixture is crumbly rather than fluid. Cook, stirring until the flour turns to the color of caramel, about 3 -4 minutes.. .
Away from the heat, add the wine while stirring to fully incorporate into the flour mixture. Back on the heat, add the broth and continue stirring until the mixture comes to a simmer. Turn the meat over, add the tomatoes, bay leaf and half the tarragon.
Cover and place the pan into the oven and lower the heat to 350ᐤF. Set the time for 25 minutes. At the 25 minute mark, remove the pan from the oven closing the oven door, turn the meat as you check progress. Cover tightly and return to the oven. Again, set the timer for 25 minutes and cook until the meat is fork tender. About 50 - 60 minutes total cooking time or more depending on your beef and the cut selected. Top the dish with the remaining tarragon and serve with creamy polenta, buttered cooked barley or mashed potatoes.
Braised Pork or Game in Red Wine
Ribs, breast, shoulder and shanks of pork or game are especially suited for this preparation. Try wild boar and deer.
Braised Beef in Ale, Madeira, or Viognier ( or other white wine)
Try this with any of your favorite fermented beverage and vary the herbs to your liking. Ale and sweet rosemary (and it's early blooming flowers if late winter or spring), Madeira and celeriac, a white varietal like Viognier with leeks.
Beef Braised in Red Wine with Reduced Fat and Gluten Free
Forgo the flour and pour off the searing oil after doing so in the first step. Skim the fat after braising and add a bit more wine or broth. Remove the meat and keep covered and warm then reduce the sauce to the consistency of syrup.
Delphi Valley, Olympia, Washington, USA