Monday, December 29, 2008

Another day, another braise

I've been doing a lot of braising this cold weather season, everything from radishes to pork shoulder. This time around, I made braised beef with carrots from Patricia Wells' Vegetable Harvest cookbook. The recipe is unique because it's as much about the carrots as it is the beef. Many braising recipes use vegetables only to enhance the flavor of the meat - by the end of the cooking period, the vegetables are usually mushy and get strained out of the sauce. This recipe produced a tender piece of meat with an abundance of perfectly cooked carrots. The carrots held their shape, and even had a slight bite to them.

I always get fun cookbooks for the holidays, and this year was no exception. I got the Campanile cookbook, which is great because I'm a huge Nancy Silverton fan. I made kale with crispy garlic from the book to go along with the beef. The recipe is actually really simple - thinly sliced garlic cloves are crisped up in oil, and added to cooked kale seasoned with a squeeze of lemon and salt. I used lacinato kale, which is also known as dinosaur kale or cavalo nero. I prefer the flavor and texture, but regular kale would work just as well.
Braised beef with carrots
Adapted from Vegetable Harvest
Serves about 6

A 3lb boneless piece of beef meant for braising (anything labeled chuck is a good bet)
3 lbs of carrots, peeled and thinly sliced on the diagonal
2 cans of tomato paste
2 cups of red wine
2 cups of chicken or beef stock
4 sprigs of fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons of olive oil
salt and pepper

Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large heavy pot. Season the beef generously with salt and pepper and brown on all sides. Add all of the remaining ingredients to the pot, bring to a simmer. Cover the pot and cook at a low simmer for about 3 and a half hours, or until the meat is tender. Turn the meat once per hour. After the meat is cooked, remove it from the pot and cut into thick slices. Spoon the carrots over the top. Discard thyme sprigs and bay leaves. Season to taste with salt and pepper.


Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Healthy, tasty and delicious!

Best wishes for the New Year!



Priscilla said...

Mmm, that all looks so good! Yummy.

Vanessa said...

Thanks so much for the comment, Sara, and I love your blog! This braising recipe looks fantastic!
Have a great new year,
Vanessa :)

The Blonde Duck said...

I loved braised meat!

Maria said...

Nice work here! Happy New Year to you!

Sherry Trifle - Lovely Cats said...

I love these. I always find plain cranberries a bit too tangy, so I'm going to make your recipe.

Clumbsy Cookie said...

This is a wonderful meal! Your carots looks perfectly al dente! Happy new year!

Yasmeen said...

Hearty platter of food,Yum!.Have a wonderful and healthy new year:)

Patsyk said...

I discovered braising last Winter and plan to do it quite often this year as well. There's nothing better than a slow cooked meal like this one!

Happy New Year!

Judy said...

Yumm. My hubby loves beef.

Erica said...

Awesome recipe. I hate when vegetables get strained out of recipes :( You need protein and veggies! Hope you have a great new years

Rosie Hawthorne said...

I love carrots and think they are so underutilized. I'll have to try this.

Thanks and Happy New Year!

Kevin said...

That looks like a tasty meal. Happy new year!

Jo said...

Oh yum! Looks wonderful :)

Happy new year!

Helene said...

Happy New Year!

LaDue & Crew said...

Yum! I am so jealous of your pic with Michael Chiarello! What a cutie!

Anonymous said...

Happy New Year 2009 !

Ana Powell said...

Excellent, I do love braised meat.
Happy 2009 x

Lisa said...

I love braised meat and veggies. I also think I might have to try the cranberries. Happy New year!

My Carolina Kitchen said...

Thanks so much for this recipe Sara. I think I'll give it a try this weekend as it's cold in the mountains and a perfect time to prepare a braise. Like everyone, I love your blog and visit often.