When we were dating, I started to experiment more with cooking. I had begun to cook for myself during college, but it was more of a necessity than anything else. Dating Claire allowed my cooking experience to become something that I truly enjoyed.
I remember wanting to try something out of my comfort zone, and so I settled on braising beef with wine. It was the first time I ever cooked with wine, and the smell of wine cooking, is…really quite something. What I mean to say is that it is one of the BEST SMELLS EVER CREATED. I loosely followed a recipe I found online (that I cannot find to this day, of course), and since I did not have a Dutch oven, I used a large covered soup pot cooked over low heat on the stove top.
The meat was finished, and I was in awe of how tender it was, especially since I couldn’t even pull it out of the pot without it breaking apart. But now the real challenge was ahead: making a sauce. I strained the vegetables and reduced the broth-wine down. Almost by accident, I let it go too long. It was a deep, dark red color and I thought I had screwed it all up. All my hours of planning had come down to…an unbelievable, full bodied, tasty sauce. I couldn’t wait to share it with Claire!
Since then I have become (a little) less clumsy in the kitchen, and I have created a base recipe for braising beef. The sauce never comes out the same way twice, and that is a good thing! I use this recipe as a roadmap, and I like to try something different each time. This is a perfect cozy meal when you’re stuck inside on a cold day – I hope you enjoy it!
Braised Beef with a Red Wine Reduction Sauce
For a printable version of this recipe, click here.
1 chuck roast, 3-4 pounds
1 carrot, minced
2 celery stalks, minced
1 sweet onion, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 large vine-ripened tomatoes (or a 14-ounce can of crushed tomatoes)
3 cups red wine, divided
3 cups bone broth, divided
1 teaspoon olive oil
3 tablespoons butter
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon oregano
freshly ground black pepper
- Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium high heat.
- Pat the chuck roast dry and then season on all sides with salt and pepper.
- Sear the chuck roast on all sides in the Dutch oven until it has a golden brown crust.
- Remove the chuck roast and set aside.
- Add the carrot, celery, and onion to the Dutch oven and turn the heat to low. Cook for roughly 5 minutes or until soft. It’s important that these vegetables are cut as small as possible. The smaller they are, the better chance they have to dissolve into what will become your sauce.
- Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Do not burn the garlic. DON’T BURN THE GARLIC (I have a lot of experience with this one – just check out my resume. Let me be the expert on this one. Trust me.)
- Slice the tomatoes into quarters and crush by hand over the Dutch oven. Add any tomato bits in your hands to the rest of the vegetables. Cook for 20 minutes.
- Add the roast on top of the cooked vegetables. Add 2 cups of wine and 2 cups of broth. You may need more or less of each depending on the size of your roast. You want about half of the roast sticking out of the liquid.
- Add the bay leaf and oregano. Cover the Dutch oven and cook for 3-4 hours. Once again, this depends on the size of the roast. The best way to tell if the meat is tender enough is by trying to remove the roast from the Dutch oven with a fork. If it falls apart and you can’t quite get it onto the fork, it’s ready!
- Drain the liquid into a separate sauce pan over medium-high heat. The more liquid the better, but you want to save some to keep the roast warm.
- Add the remaining 1 cup of wine and 1 cup of broth. Whisk in the butter and cook uncovered for 1 hour or until the sauce can coat the underside of a spoon.
- When the sauce is nearly finished, remove the roast onto a plate and pull apart with two forks. This should be quite easy, and any fat will easily be removed from the meat.
- Season the sauce with salt and pepper to taste. Be careful with this part – any time you reduce a sauce it becomes more salty. Make sure to taste test the sauce before seasoning.
- Pour the sauce over the meat and serve on a bed of mashed potatoes!