This slow cooked, Italian Braised Beef is a show stopper of a meal and yet most of the cooking time is inactive. Serve over Parmesan Polenta to impress your guests.
As you may know, I loved a good themed meal. During COVID lockdown, I dreamed of all the themed dinner parties I would host once things went back to “normal”. Jokes on me, right?
Despite the madness, we have managed to host a few smaller outdoor gatherings when the weather cooperated (or not as we heavily used our gas-powered space heater for porch visits during winter), one of which actually had two renditions.
I can’t recall where I got it in my head, but hosting a full nine course Italian dinner party was at the top of my list (because the Seven Hobbit Meals weren’t enough). But when the primary people I had hoped to invite had conflicting schedules, I decided to do it twice. Yes, I know I’m nuts.
I’m not going to get into the entire menu just yet (I’ll post the full menu in its own post), but the first time I hosted the Italian dinner party I made beef braciole as the meat course. As a testament to it’s deliciousness, I lacked the patience to ensure I captured good photos.
Instead, I am sharing the Italian braised beef I made the second time around! I honestly cannot say which I liked better. Both were different enough to be uniquely delicious. Also both catered to their accompanying other courses. But I digress, as that will be shared later.
What you need to know about this recipe, is that once your brown up the outside of the beef chunks, saute the veggies, and cook down the wine, you combine it all back in the Dutch oven to simmer in the oven, for 3-4 hours. Towards the end of the cooking time, whip up the polenta are serve the beef on top. It’s hearty, flavorful, and absolute comfort food.
We may have required an extended break between courses after this one – ha.
One year ago: Whipped Feta with Honey
Two years ago: Buckeye Milkshake
Six years ago: Grilled Chocolate Chip Cookies
Seven years ago: White Chocolate Peanut Butter Milkshakes
Eight years ago: Bacon Wrapped Mac & Cheese Jalapeno Poppers
Ten years ago: Carrot Cake Batter Dip
Eleven years ago: Strawberry Mojito
- 3 pounds beef chuck roast, cut into 1.5-inch cubes
- 3 Tbsp all-purpose flour*, divided
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, peeled and chopped
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
- 2 stalks celery, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 3 Tbsp Italian parsley chopped, plus more for garnish
- 1 cup dry red wine
- 2 dried bay leaves
- 1 cup beef broth, plus extra if needed
- 1 cup tomato sauce
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 2 cups water
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 cup dry polenta
- 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, divided
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus more for garnish
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- In a gallon zip-top bag, place the beef cubes, 1 tablespoon of flour, salt, and pepper. Seal the bag and shake to coat. Shake off excess flour and set aside.
- Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch Oven (or other pot with an oven-proof lid) over a high heat. When the oil is hot, add the floured beef and cook until evenly browned on all sides, turning as needed (may need to batches depending on pot size). Remove the beef to a plate.
- Add the onion, carrot, celery, garlic, parsley, rosemary, and season with additional salt and of pepper to taste. Cook 8-10 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender. Remove to another plate.
- Add more oil if needed to total 2 tablespoons in the bottom of the pan. Stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons of flour and cook for about 6-7 minutes for a medium roux. Add the wine and scrape up any bits that cling to the bottom of the pan; cook until the alcohol evaporates, and the wine reduces, about 5 minutes.
- Add the beef broth, tomato sauce and bay leaf and bring to a gentle simmer. Return the beef and vegetable back to the pot, place the lid on top, and transfer to the oven. Cook for 3-4 hours or until so tender that you can slice your beef with a spoon. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- About 45 minutes until the beef is done, prepare the polenta. Pour broth, water, and salt in a large sauce pan and place over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil and then slowly pour in polenta, whisking constantly until there are no lumps. Reduce heat to low and simmer, whisking often, until polenta starts to thicken, about 5 minutes. Cover and cook for 30 minutes, whisking every 5 minutes. Polenta is done when texture is creamy and individual grains are tender. Turn off and remove from heat.
- Stir in butter until partially melted. Add 1/2 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and stir until cheese has melted. Cover and let stand 5 minutes to thicken. Season with salt to taste before transferring to a serving bowl or platter, top with beef, and more parmesan and parsley for garnish. Serve immediately.
*You could also use cornstarch for gluten free.