Sunday, March 4, 2007

Red wine braised beef

I got the idea for this recipe from Cucina Ebraica. This makes a great meal for a weekend when you have a few hours to let the beef and vegetables simmer. I served it with polenta and sauteed italian broccoli. To make removal of the whole spices and orange peel easier, place them in a square of cheesecloth and tie it up with some kitchen twine.

Red wine braised beef
Serves 2-3

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound beef stew meat
1 large onion, medium dice
2 carrots, medium dice
2 celery stalks, medium dice
7 ounces of canned diced tomatoes in juice
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 orange zest strip, about 3 inches long
1 cinnamon stick
2 cardamom pods
2 to 3 cups of dry red wine
salt and pepper
sliced green onions or chopped parsley for garnish
cornstarch (if needed to thicken the sauce)

Cut a square of cheesecloth large enough to make a bundle with the orange zest, cinnamon stick and cardamom pods. Tie the bundle with kitchen twine. Heat the olive oil in a large pan over high heat. Season the beef with salt and pepper and add it to the pan in a single layer. Brown all sides of the beef. Transfer the beef to a heavy pot. Add the onions, carrots, celery, tomatoes and garlic. Add the spice bundle. Pour in the wine to cover the meat and vegetables. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for about 2 hours or until meat is very tender and pan sauce has started to thicken. If necessary, make a slurry of equal parts cornstarch and cold water (try about 2 teaspoons of each) to add to the sauce if you prefer it to be thicker. Remove the spice bundle, season the meat and vegetables to taste with salt and pepper, and garnish with green onions or parsley.

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