Today I’m sharing one of my favorite beef roast recipes that somehow has not found it’s way onto the blog already. And that is a pity, because it’s one of my go-to roast recipes. There are so many wonderful things to love about this dish. Let me start by saying that this recipe (like most recipes) can be braised in a Dutch oven or a slow cooker. I generally make it on the oven, but have on occasion made it in a slow cooker. Both versions are incredibly delicious. So, depending upon your needs, you have the option to cook it however you like. This dish is also a perfect make-a-day-ahead dish, as it reheats beautifully and the flavors get even better the next day.
There are a wonderful array of flavors that are combined with this roast. I’m guessing you are figuring out that I love the combination of red wine and rosemary together since one of my recent posts also featured these flavors. I can’t help it, they are perfect with beef. I chop up carrots, celery, onion, and garlic into very small pieces that break down into a wonderful, delicious sauce. Fresh rosemary and thyme and a bay leaf are added to the vegetables, along with the red wine and a dab of tomato paste. Left to braise for just a few hours in the oven, or all day in the slow-cooker, the beef becomes tender and you are left with a very rich and flavorful sauce. The next step is up to you– there are a few options. When the roast is done cooking, remove it from the pan. At this point you can purée the sauce if you don’t want tiny bits of vegetables, or reduce it if you want it thicker. However, here’s what I do. I combine a bit of butter and a bit of flour (equal parts) with a fork until they form a paste. I whisk that into the sauce, to thicken it just slightly. And that’s it. I don’t strain or purée it, because I really enjoy the chunky texture of the cooked down vegetables. I re-season with salt and pepper and add some fresh parsley to brighten it up. We love this meal. Truly, it’s one of our favorites. The red wine need not be expensive, something dry works well. And as always, something you’ll want to drink, because there will be a bit leftover.
Along with braising some beautiful dishes this winter, I’ve taken up sourdough bread-baking using wild yeast. This has been so fun and exhilarating. I absolutely love to learn new techniques in the kitchen. Back in the day before commercial yeast existed, this is how people had to make their bread –capturing and manipulating wild yeast spores that were in the air, on the flour, and even on their skin. It is all very fascinating to me. A lot of observing has gone into this process. Being able to know when my starter is ready to be used or when it is hungry and needs to be fed. Dealing with a cold, Minnesota house and predicting how long it will take my dough to get to the point where it is ready to be baked. I’ve enjoyed the process and we all have enjoyed the bread. And now it’s become part of our routine.
I hope you make this beef roast and either bake up some warm crusty bread or buy yourself a loaf, because that sauce will be begging for some. Enjoy!
The Recipe: Braised Beef Roast with Red Wine and Rosemary
2 tablespoons olive oil
3-6 pound beef roast, preferably grass-fed (no need for an expensive cut)
1 medium white onion, finely chopped
5-6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 large carrots, peeled and finely chopped
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
4-5 fresh rosemary sprigs (either left whole or leaves removes and minced)
small bunch of fresh thyme (either left whole or leaves removed and minced)
1 dried bay leaf
2 tablespoons double-concentrated tomato paste
2 cups red wine
2 cups water
1 1/2 – 2 tablespoons softened butter
1 1/2 – 2 tablespoons flour
fresh parsley, for serving
Slow-Cooker Method: I’m not going to list cooking times in this recipe. Most everyone’s slow-cooker cooks at a different rate and the size of your beef will effect the amount of time needed, as well. If cooking entirely on low– I’d give yourself 12 hours or so. You may want to do a combination of slow/high temperatures, if wanting to shorten the length of time. Dry off the beef and season liberally with salt and pepper. In a deep pan, such as a dutch oven, add some olive oil and when the pan is hot, brown all the sides of the beef. You want a deep caramel color. Remove the beef from the pan and place it into the slow-cooker. Add the vegetables and a bit more olive oil to the hot pan. Cook just a few minutes until softened a bit. Then add the tomato paste, red wine, and water and bring to a boil, scraping up anything on the bottom of the pan. Pour it over the beef in the slow-cooker and cook either on high or low, or whatever works best when cooking meat in your slow-cooker. Add the rosemary, thyme, (they can be left whole, just remove the stems before serving, or remove leaves and mince, if you don’t enjoy large rosemary leaves) bay leaf, and a bit of salt and pepper. The beef is done when it is very tender and can be easily maneuvered with a fork. If it doesn’t feel tender, leave it a bit longer.
Dutch Oven Method: Preheat oven to 325°F. Add the olive oil to the pan and heat. Dry off the beef and season liberally with salt and pepper. Brown all the sides until it reaches a deep caramel color. Remove beef from pan. Add more olive oil, if necessary and sauté the vegetables for a few minutes until softened. Add the tomato paste, red wine, and water and bring to a boil, scraping up any bits on the bottom of the pan. Place the beef back into the Dutch oven, along with the rosemary, thyme (they can be left whole, just remove stems before serving, or remove leaves and mince, if you don’t like large rosemary leaves) bay leaf and a bit of salt and pepper. Cooking time will vary depending upon how big of a piece of beef you braise. Begin checking at 2 hours for a smaller one, larger ones will take around 2 1/2 – 3 hours, or more. The beef will be done when it is very tender and can be maneuvered easily with a fork. If it doesn’t feel tender, braise it longer.
Before serving for both methods: remove the beef and scrape off any visible fat. You may reduce the sauce if you want, or purée it. I don’t. Remove and discard the bay leaf and any rosemary or thyme stems (if there are any) from the pan. In a small bowl, combine the butter and flour with a fork until a paste forms and whisk it into the liquid over medium-high heat on the stovetop. If using the slow-cooker method, it is a good idea to transfer the sauce to a pan and place on the stovetop when adding the butter/flour mixture over medium-high heat. Re-season with salt and pepper (sometimes a lot of salt is needed to bring out the flavor, but don’t worry– it’s a big piece of beef) and add fresh parsley before serving. This roast goes beautifully with regular mashed potatoes or a potato mash combined with parsnips or celery root. One more note, this is a perfect make-a-day-ahead meal, as the flavors get even better after sitting overnight. Enjoy!
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