After reading about this braised beef recipe with red wine and rosemary, also known as brasato al barolo in Italy where it originated, I gathered the ingredients and made it for my family.
When there is not much talk at the dinner table as my family digs in, I know I have a recipe I'll be making again.
Tender shreds of beef in a rich gravy over polenta, you'll want to make this for your gang soon.
Love Italian food as much as we do? You'll want to make these amazing easy Italian Stromboli Crescent Rolls from this list of our favorite Italian appetizers.
What is Braised Beef?
Braising is a method of cooking where you first sear and then cook, covered, in the same juices.
I used my Le Creuset to sear and then put the lid on after adding the rest of the ingredients. This gives you a roast that falls apart and is so flavorful.
Another book by Marlena De Blasi sends me to the grocery store immediately after reading about something she ate in Italy.
Antonia and Her Daughters is the fifth book I've read by De Blasi. She makes a frittata on page 125 that will make your mouth water.
If you love food and travel, you'll want to pick up one of her books. I'll suggest you begin with the first, A Thousand Days in Tuscany, so you can follow along, though each could be a stand-alone read.
My husband found De Blasi first, and now I'm ahead and passing her books onto him. We both dream of living in Italy and France for a month or so eventually.
A week is not long enough to truly experience a new destination. Even two weeks are not enough.
I was in Indonesia for a couple of weeks a few years ago and though I made it to Papua, I never spent time in Bali. To go so far and not see one of the top destinations is hard! By the way, Indonesian food is amazing.
And when I was leaving for Singapore to spend 20 days on a ship in Southeast Asia with Holland America, I thought it would be such a long trip. It was over before I knew it and I was hungering for more.
Speaking of hungry, the day after I made this braised beef recipe, everyone wanted it for lunch. That's another good sign of a recipe's success!
By the way, if you're having one of those days (or weeks!) where you just don't have 2 ½ hours to braise beef, this Instant Pot shredded beef is done in less than half the time.
I hope your family enjoys this braised beef roast as much as we did. Marlena De Blasi often has recipes in the back of her books, but this one didn't make the cut so I had to search for it.
This one was on Great Italian Chefs. I didn't follow it exactly, but it's close.
You'll need about a two and a quarter-pound chuck roast. This will give you six servings of tender meat. We shared the leftovers, so if you want to have more for the next day or are serving more people, adjust accordingly.
Most of us already have these ingredients in our pantry for this simple recipe, but if you don't, pick up olive oil, an onion, celery, carrots, garlic, fresh thyme and rosemary, a bay leaf, and tomato puree when you're doing your grocery shopping.
Other than these items and the Barolo wine, you'll just need salt and fresh ground pepper. This is a great recipe even for the novice cook!
I had to make an extra stop at the liquor store as my grocery store didn't have Barolo wine. Be prepared to spend $20-$25 for the bottle of wine if you want to have the same flavor. Buying a cheap wine can ruin your dish.
If you're serving this braised beef recipe over polenta as we did, you'll need a polenta, vegetable stock, and butter.
How to Make Braised Beef
At least a couple of hours, and at best the night before you plan to start cooking, salt the beef with about a teaspoon per pound and put it in a large baggie in the fridge.
Making this the first thing you do when cooking meat makes a huge difference, whether making this braised beef recipe or beef stew.
If you love food and haven't read Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat, please pick it up, or at least watch the show on Netflix. The book is a good thing to have on hand for everyone from beginner cooks to the more experienced.
Samin Nosrat will teach you so much about cooking, and it begins with salt. She says she likes to salt meat as soon as she gets home from the grocery store so she doesn't forget. This makes the meat so tender. Be sure to use the meat within a day or two so it doesn't dry out.
Before searing the meat, sprinkle about a teaspoon of pepper all over the roast.
Heat oil in your large dutch oven. My 2 ¾ quart Le Creuset was the perfect size for this roast. You really don't want it to be much bigger than the meat you're cooking.
Place the roast in the pan in the hot oil and sear it all over. Once it's browned on all sides, remove it and set aside.
Add the onion, celery, carrots, and garlic and saute until softened. Next, add the fresh herbs and tomato puree. Cook for a couple of minutes, stirring up all the pieces that are sticking to the bottom of the pot.
Return beef roast back to the pan. Pour the entire bottle of wine over the roast. (Optional: Drink a half glass of the wine. You deserve that by now. I did and can promise it won't affect the flavor. Enjoy!)
Bring to a boil and then set to simmer.
Cover the pan and let it cook on low for 2 ½ hours, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon. If the wine doesn't cover the roast, you may want to turn it over every now and then so no part dries out. I ladled the braising liquid over it every so often as it was almost covered.
Making the Gravy
Remove the roast after the 2 ½ hours and set aside, keeping it warm. The slow cooking really makes the braised beef so tender. Remove the bay leaf with a slotted spoon.
Using a hand blender, blend all the vegetables until the sauce is thick and glossy. Be careful as this mixture will be hot, so use the lower setting on the hand blender. Be sure to scrape up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan for extra flavor.
Let the sauce continue to simmer. I like a thicker sauce, so I added about two teaspoons of cornstarch to thicken it.
Preparing the Polenta
Prepare the polenta with vegetable stock. The polenta only takes about 15 minutes to cook. Add butter as soon as it's soft and mix well.
With a sharp knife on a cutting board, slice the beef into medium thickness slices. Serve the braised beef roast over the polenta.
This reminds me of the pot roast I ate as a kid, but so much better! I hadn't had it in a long time and I can't wait to make it again. This recipe is comfort food at its best. It works for a casual supper but is elegant enough for Christmas dinner.
What Other Side Could I Serve?
If you're not a fan of polenta (though you should really try it if you haven't!) mashed cauliflower, mashed potatoes, or egg noodles would also be delicious with this flavorful beef. All would hold up well if you want to serve the beef over them as I did with the polenta.
I might try the mashed cauliflower or sweet potatoes the next time as we love them both! For a green vegetable, try these air fryer green beans or a simple green side salad.
These tomato tarts would make a wonderful appetizer before dinner.
How Long Does This Recipe Keep?
This beef will be even better the next day, so you can make it ahead of time or enjoy the leftovers for a couple of days if you're serving fewer people. If it sauce needs to be thinned, just a little beef broth or water.
Braised Beef Wine Pairing
We drank a fantastic California red blend from Murrieta's Well vineyard with this meal. I can't wait to get out to Livermore Valley to visit some of their amazing wineries. Check out their website for ordering options.
Need help choosing wine? The Simply Red Club which includes 2 different Red Wines through California Wine Club is a great place to start.
If you're thinking of serving dessert, this Sacher Torte is heavenly, pretty easy to make, and pairs well with red wine.
More Beef Recipes
For more ideas on how to prepare beef for dinner, check out this easy beef stroganoff recipe, beer braised short ribs, or this appetizer of roast beef on toast points.
Can I ask a favor? If you make this recipe, please rate it! Your rating will help more people see it. Thank you!
Braised Beef Roast Recipe
- 2 ½ pound Beef chuck roast
- 1 onion chopped
- 6 carrots washed, peeled, sliced.
- 1 stalk celery chopped
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1 sprig rosemary leaves
- 1 sprig thyme leaves
- 1 T tomato puree
- 1 C dry Polenta
- 2 T butter
- Vegetable stock
For the Roast
- At least a few hours before cooking (preferably overnight) salt the beef with about a teaspoon per pound and put it in a large baggie in the fridge.
- Before searing the meat, sprinkle about a teaspoon of pepper all over the roast.
- Add about two tablespoons of olive oil to your dutch oven. My 2 ¾ quart Le Creuset was the perfect size for this roast. You really don't want it to be much bigger than the meat you're cooking.
- Add the roast to the pan and sear it all over. Once it is seared on all sides, remove it and set aside.
- Add the onion, celery, carrots, and garlic and saute until softened. Add the herbs and tomato puree. Cook for a couple of minutes, stirring up all the pieces that are sticking.
- Add the beef roast back to the pan. Pour the entire bottle of wine over the roast. ( Optional: Drink a half glass of the wine. You deserve that by now. I did and can promise it won't affect the flavor. Enjoy!)
- Bring to a boil and then set to simmer.
- Cover the pan and let it cook on low for 2 ½ hours, stirring occasionally. If the wine doesn't cover the roast, you may want to turn it over every now and then so no part dries out. I ladled the broth over it every so often as it was almost covered.
For the Gravy
- Remove the roast after the 2 ½ hours and set aside. Remove the bay leaf.
- Using a hand blender, blend all the vegetables until the sauce is thick and glossy. Be careful as this mixture will be hot, so use the lower setting on the hand blender.
- Let the sauce continue to simmer. I like a thicker sauce, so I added about two teaspoons of cornstarch to thicken it.
For the Polenta
- Prepare the polenta with vegetable stock. The polenta only takes about 15 minutes to cook. Add butter as soon as it's soft and mix well.
- Serve the braised beef roast over the polenta.
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