Braised beef is a simple and inexpensive meal that you can feed your family or guests, for just a couple dollars per serving.
Best of all though, this delicious meal will give your house the savory aroma of a home where someone knows their way around the kitchen.
Braised beef is a great meal to make when you feel like spending some time in the kitchen and doing some real cooking. It isn’t complicated in the least, but this is not fast food.
What is Braising?
Braising involves a combination method of cooking, using both dry and wet heats.
Typically the braising process starts with searing the food over at a high heat and then finishing it off in a hot oven, usually while sitting in some liquid such as a broth or stock.
Let’s Make this Braised Beef!
Let’s start with a 2 lb. chuck roast. When making braised beef, look for less expensive cuts that aren’t super lean.
You’re going to cook this beef for several hours and leaner and pricier cuts are going to to give you a tough and dry finished product. We want tender and juicy!
Start by seasoning your meat on all sides with kosher salt and fresh ground pepper. Be generous with the seasoning as this is a big hunk of beef.
Sear the Meat
Add some butter and olive oil to a Dutch oven and heat it to just before the smoke point. Then place the beef in the pot and don’t touch it for four or five minutes.
The goal is to get a nice crust on this chuck roast Use a couple of big flat wooden spoons to help flip the rost to the other side.
Browning the meat with a hot sear will add a nice depth of flavor to y0ur braised beef.
As the heat and caramelization increases, the amino acids of the meat and reducing sugars will add tons of flavor to the meat.
This actually has a chemical name, called the Maillard reaction and it is critical to making braised beef.
When the beef is seared on both sides, take it out of the pot and set aside.
Saute the Mirepoix
Use the same pot and with some of the drippings from the searing process, add some chopped carrots, onion, and celery.
Or, you can use a separate pan for the mirepoix as I did here.
Start with the carrots and heat and stir them until they get a caramel-color, taking care not to scorch them .
This will turn the carrots sweet and add mounds of flavor to the braised beef.
For a little added complexity and flavor, we melt some anchovie fillets into the mirepox as well.
Deglaze the Pot
We use a combination of beef broth and red wine for the braising liquid in this braised beef recipe.
This combination of the acidic wine with a savory stock helps round out the flavor of your braised breef.
Water has no flavor and thus deglazing with water will greatly diminsh the flavor of your finished dish.
Add the liquid to deglaze the pot and stir up and loosen all those little brown bits (fond) on the bottom and sides of the pot.
Deglazing your pot will release all the little brown bits of flavor bombs that have adhered to the pot during the searing and sauteeing process.
The deglazing process will greatly enhance the flavor of your braised beef.
When choosing a red wine for the delgazing, choose one that you would drink and that will pair will with the braised beef. Consider a Cabrent Sauvignon or a (red) Zinfindel.
Now it’s time to place the meat back into the pot, with the braising liquid and the mirepoix.
Be sure the meat isn’t submerged as you don’t want to boil it and too much liquid will dilute the taste of the sauce at the end of the braising process.
If you have some on hand, toss in a hanful of cherry tomatoes which will add flavor and color to the dish.
Bring the pot to a simmer, then cover it and place in the oven at 300°. F.
Plan on brasing the beef in the oven for at least three or four hours depending on the size of the roast.
Your braised beef masterpiece is done when you can shred it with a fork.
Take Your Braised Beef to the Next Level!
Now that you know the four essential steps of how to braise beef, there are a couple of things you can do to make it taste even better.
Add More Vegetables at the End
Add some extra vegetables like mushrooms or potatoes, about 45 minutes before the braised beef is done.
This will add some great flavor and texture to the braised beef, without over cooking the added vegetables.
Reduce the Braising Sauce
When the braised beef is fork tender, take it out of the pot, with the vegetables and set them aside.
Reduce the remaining sauce over medium heat until it will coat the back of a spoon. Return the meat and vegetables to the concentrated sauce and spoon the sauce over the meat before serving.
- 2 lbs Beef chuck roast
- 2 tbsp kosher salt
- 1 tbsp black pepper fresh ground
- 2 tbsp butter
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 carrots washed and sliced into 1/2 inch pieces.
- 2 stalks celery sliced into 1/2 inch pieces.
- 1 onion coarsely diced
- 2 oz anchovies drained
- 1 cup red wine
- 1 cup beef stock
- 5 sprigs fresh thyme
- Set the beef roast out for an hour before you start the recipe, to bring to room temperature. Next, blot the roast dry with a paper towel, on all sides. Generously season with an even coating of kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper, on all sides.
- Preheat oven to 300° F. Place butter and olive oil in a 6-quart Dutch oven, over medium-high heat until hot. Sear the meat for 4 to 5 minutes on both sides, do not move the meat around the pot while it is searing. Reduce heat and remove meat from the pan and set aside.
- Using the juices from the meat, saute the mirepoix over medium heat, starting with the carrots. Add additional butter or olive oil if necessary and cook the carrots until they are golden-caramel in color. Add the celery and onion and saute and stir for another 4 or 5 minutes until tender. Add the anchovies and stir for a couple more minutes until they are melted into the mirepoix.
- Add the wine and stock to the pot to deglaze and be sure to stir up the brown bits until they are released and dissolved in the liquid. Stir in thyme leaves and return the meat to the pot.
- Cover the Dutch oven and place in oven. Allow it to braise for 3 to 4 hours. Add (optional) additional vegetables about 45 minutes before removing from oven. The braised beef is ready to come out of the oven when you can shred it with a fork.
- After you remove the braised beef from the oven, allow the meat to rest in the braising liquid until ready to serve. Remove meat from the Dutch oven and reduce braising liquid, if desired, then serve with the braised beef.