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Brasato: Beef Braised in Red Wine (Great Make-Ahead Meal)

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Brasato served with creamy polenta and sugar snap peas

Brasato served with creamy polenta and sugar snap peas

What Is Brasato?

Brasato is a traditional Italian recipe for beef braised in red wine. It is the perfect make-ahead type of meal, and this preparation is better when prepared at least one day in advance of serving it.

If you have family members or guests in your home that crave delicious beef dinners and you wish to satisfy them with an Italian-style, home-cooked meal that offers succulent and well-developed flavors, then this is a recipe for you. They will will certainly be asking you for the recipe at the end of the evening!

We generally refrigerate the meat and sauce (after being cooked) in separate containers overnight. The meat is much easier to slice when cold and fat can be skimmed from the surface of the sauce.

After this has been accomplished, simply cover the sliced beef with the wine and vegetable sauce and reheat in a covered dish prior to serving.

This makes it a perfect company dish with most of the work being done ahead of time. Simply add your side dishes and voilà!

Prepare yourself for many compliments!

Some of the ingredients readied for the brasato preparation

Some of the ingredients readied for the brasato preparation

Cook Time

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

45 min

3 hours

3 hours 45 min

6 to 8 servings

Ingredients

  • 3 to 4 pounds beef, chuck or shoulder roast
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, plus extra for dredging meat
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (mixture of butter and bacon fat may be used)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, regular or lite, preferred
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 medium carrots, diced
  • 2 ribs celery, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely minced or pressed with a garlic press
  • 3 tablespoons parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons rosemary, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon sage, finely chopped
  • 1 full-sized bottle (750 ml) red wine

Photo Guide: Veggie and Herb Prep

Chop the celery.

Chop the celery.

Chopped celery and carrots

Chopped celery and carrots

Onions

Onions

Chop the onion.

Chop the onion.

Parsley and rosemary

Parsley and rosemary

Chop the parsley.

Chop the parsley.

To remove the rosemary leaves from the stem, just use your fingers and pull up towards the tip of the branch to remove the individual leaves.

To remove the rosemary leaves from the stem, just use your fingers and pull up towards the tip of the branch to remove the individual leaves.

Chop the rosemary.

Chop the rosemary.

Sage

Sage

Chop the sage.

Chop the sage.

Garlic

Garlic

Chop the garlic.

Chop the garlic.

Instructions

  1. Take the meat out of the package and dry with paper towels. Salt and pepper both sides of the meat and dredge the meat in a mixture of flour and paprika.
  2. Brown the meat in a mixture of olive oil and butter or bacon fat in a large oven-safe casserole or pan.
  3. When meat is crusty brown on both sides, remove to a platter.
  4. Add the chopped onion and celery to the pan and sauté over low to medium heat until the vegetables are soft.
  5. Next add the garlic, parsley, rosemary, and sage and stir to combine.
  6. At this point, add 2 tablespoons of flour and stir to combine.
  7. When combined, stir in 1 cup of wine and boil over high heat until the wine is reduced by at least one-half. Stir occasionally during the reduction.
  8. Pour in remaining wine, adding the beef back into the mixture.
  9. Cover and bake at 300 degrees Fahrenheit for at least 3 hours or until very tender.
  10. Turn the meat every hour while cooking.
  11. When done, slice the meat and serve with the sauce. If the sauce is too thin, boil to reduce to the consistency you desire. (This is where we stop and refrigerate the meat and sauce separately as noted at the top...to be served another day. The flavors get even better and for those people watching their calories, it can be de-fatted before being reheated and served. This also freezes well!)

Photo Guide: Cooking Process

Brown the beef roast.

Brown the beef roast.

Transfer the browned meat to a platter.

Transfer the browned meat to a platter.

Saute the celery and carrots.

Saute the celery and carrots.

Add the garlic, parsley, rosemary and sage.

Add the garlic, parsley, rosemary and sage.

Stir to combine.

Stir to combine.

Add the flour.

Add the flour.

Again stir to combine.

Again stir to combine.

Add 1 cup of red wine.

Add 1 cup of red wine.

Cook over high heat.

Cook over high heat.

The wine mixture will reduce by half.

The wine mixture will reduce by half.

Add the rest of the wine and roast back into the pan.

Add the rest of the wine and roast back into the pan.

Cook in the oven for 3 hours.

Cook in the oven for 3 hours.

Cooked roast removed from the pan...tender and ready to serve, or chill and slice and serve another day with the vegetable wine sauce.

Cooked roast removed from the pan...tender and ready to serve, or chill and slice and serve another day with the vegetable wine sauce.

Brasato al Barolo

In Italy, this recipe is often made with Barolo wine; hence the traditional name of the dish, brasato al Barolo. However, the recipe is also excellent and less expensive when made with Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, or any full-bodied red wine.

Serve the same varietal used for cooking, but not necessarily the same wine depending upon your budget.

Buon Appetito!

So many things can accompany this delicious brasato beef entrée, all depending upon your personal preferences. The day that I took these photos, we had creamy polenta and sugar snap peas, plus a fresh-tossed salad as side dishes to this meal.

Be forewarned... on a scale of one to 10, the fragrance of the enticing aromas coming from your kitchen will rate a good 12 or more!

Enjoy and buon appetito!

© 2012 Peggy Woods