There’s something magical about beef braised in red wine. Tossing a cheap cut of beef, a bottle of wine, and some vegetables in a single pot and having it turn into a sigh-inducingly tender roast beef, complete with glossy, magazine-worthy pan sauce, is alchemy of the most ethereal sort. Thankfully, while braising requires a little time to work its considerable magic, it takes very little effort, making it a superlative weekend meal that’s ideal for entertaining No wand required.–Angie Zoobkoff
How To Ensure Your Red Wine Braised Beef Is Magnificent
According to the author (and Italian tradition), there are just three simple things about this near-foolproof recipe that you need to do to ensure you elicit the most knee-wobbling results.
1. Use almost the entire bottle of Barolo (or other relatively robust red wine, preferably a Nebbiolo-based grape) to cover the meat. The wine acts as a tenderizer and flavor enhancer. I cannot recommend enough that you choose a wine that you like; it doesn’t have to be expensive or even a Barolo, but do pick one that you would happily drink yourself. [Editor’s Note: Same goes for quality beef stock. You may not want to sip it, but the cheapest canned broth at the store is going to compromise the quality of this braise. It calls for few ingredients so it helps when each is of utmost quality.]
2. The beef needs a little marbling; if it’s too lean, it will easily become dry after cooking for so long. Ask your trusted butcher for a simple roast from around the shoulder of the cow.
3. Allow ample time. Make the braise well in advance, which ensures your meal is even more hands-off. A whole night’s rest in the fridge after cooking it is always a good idea for braised beef—even obligatory, I would say. The meat relaxes and the sauce thickens and intensifies in flavor. (A couple nights will do it even more good.)
Red Wine Braised Beef
- One (2 1/2-to 3-pound) boneless beef roast, such as chuck roast or pot roast
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium onion, thickly sliced
- 1 small carrot, roughly chopped
- 1 celery stalk, roughly chopped
- 3 1/2 tablespoons butter, cold
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled
- 2 to 3 bay leaves
- Handful of mixed fresh herbs, such as rosemary, sage, and thyme
- 3 cups dry red wine, such as Barolo, Merlot, or Cabernet Sauvignon
- 2 to 4 cups store-bought or homemade beef stock, to cover
- Italian parsley, finely chopped, for serving (optional)
- Pat the beef dry and season it with salt and pepper. If necessary, you can tie the beef with kitchen string to help it keep its shape during cooking.
- In a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil. Add the beef and sear, turning as needed, until a browned crust develops all over, about 5 minutes per side. Remove the beef from the pot and reduce the heat to low.
- Toss the onion, carrot, and celery into the pot along with a good pinch of salt and half the butter and gently cook until the vegetables are soft and translucent, 8 to 10 minutes.
- Return the beef to the Dutch oven, add the garlic cloves and herbs, and then pour in the wine. Season with salt and pepper. Increase the heat to medium-high, bring the wine to a boil, and let it simmer rather fiercely for about 5 minutes.
- Pour in the stock. Ideally, you should have enough to cover the meat or almost cover it. Bring the liquid back to a boil, cover with a tight-fitting lid, and reduce the heat to low. Let it simmer gently, turning the beef occasionally, until the beef is very tender, 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Alternatively, you can slide the braised beef in an oven preheated to 320°F (160º) for the same amount of time.
- Transfer the meat to a cutting board and let it rest while you finish the sauce. Remove and discard the bay leaves and rosemary or thyme stalks, if you used them.
- Using an immersion blender, blitz the vegetables and liquid until smooth. (Alternatively, you can carefully transfer the hot liquid and its contents to a blender, blitz until smooth, then return to the pot.)
- Reduce the sauce over medium heat, uncovered, until slightly thickened, about 30 minutes. Drop in the rest of the butter and swirl it through the sauce until glossy. Taste for seasoning, adding salt and pepper if necessary.
- Cut the beef into slices about 1/2 inch (12 mm) thick and return them to the sauce. (If you wish, you can let the entire pot of beef and sauce cool and then refrigerate it overnight or for up to 3 days. Before serving, skim any fat from the surface, bring it back to a simmer on the stovetop, and then let it warm, uncovered, for about 10 minutes.)
- Sprinkle with parsley and serve immediately.
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Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
Dinner for family and friends doesn’t get much easier or more delicious than this red wine braised beef! Maybe 20 minutes to prep, cover the pot tightly to braise for a few hours, and voilà! A beautiful roast! Bonus—your house will smell wonderful.
The meat was meltingly tender and the sauce was delicious as-is. What I really liked was not having to worry about “will the meat be rare/medium or overcooked/undercooked”? Just leave it in a slow oven for 2 1/2 hours and it’s done!
I served a few portions the same day and enjoyed the rest for a few nights thereafter.
This red wine braised beef is a little more work than your basic pot roast but well worth it. This was a lovely meal and would be great for a dinner party.
I used a 2 1/4-pound boneless shoulder roast which fit beautifully in a 5-qt oval Le Creuset Dutch oven. Since I added more veggies than called for, I let them cook for about 15 minutes and that was perfect.
I did mince my garlic out of habit, then read that the recipe called for adding 2 whole garlic cloves. I think either method would work fine.
I used a Mercato wine based on a recommendation that it would be great with red meat dishes. (And I very much enjoyed the 1/2 glass that was left over.)
I used beef stock and needed to add about 3 cups to almost cover the meat. I left this on the stove on a gentle simmer for 2 hours, removed it from the heat, let it cool, and then placed it in the refrigerator for 24 hours. The next day, I skimmed the fat off the top and brought everything back to a boil. I used an immersion blender to blend the vegetables and the liquid until smooth. I let this reduce for about 30 minutes on medium heat and then sliced the meat into 1/2-inch slices and returned them back to the pot to warm up before serving with buttery mashed potatoes.
More work than I really wanted to do on a Saturday and Sunday, but the results paid off for a beautiful Sunday night supper and only one pot to clean up.
I am a huge fan of braising any sort of meat; its a hands-off way to produce a meal that is both memorable and always super delicious! This Italian version of a pot roast was no exception when served over a helping of creamy polenta. I loved the simplicity of ingredients here and the rustic Italian nature of the finished product as well.
I already had all of the ingredients for the braised beef in the house. I had some homemade beef stock in the freezer which I used to cover the meat. For the herbs, I used a combo of rosemary, thyme and sage; tied together with butcher’s twine so that it was easy to remove after the beef was cooked. For the wine, I had a nice, rich Cabernet Sauvignon on hand which was lovely. We even finished it off the bottle with dinner to accompany the lovely braised beef!
I used my trusty 7-quart Dutch oven for this dish and decided to braise it in the oven instead of on the stovetop. I used 4 cups beef stock to cover the beef. I think the sauce would benefit from the addition of some tomato paste or diced tomatoes?
I served this lovely braised beef dish immediately. How could we wait until the next day to dive into this fragrant, tempting Italian pot roast!?
This is without a doubt the best braised beef I have ever made.
I used a 1.5-kg bottom sirloin roast, trimmed of excess fat on top. With minimal time and effort, this roast was ready for its long braise. I used a bottle of Merlot that we had on hand and rather than open a container of broth I used 3/4 cup water to make sure the roast was covered. While this was cooking, the house smelled amazing. After simmering on low on the stove top for about 3 hours. I removed the meat and let it cool long enough to slice and then blended the sauce. After simmering the sauce again for 20 minutes further, it was a little thicker. I took a little taste and it was marvelous. Put it all back into the pot and allowed it to chill in the fridge for 36 hours. When reheated it was OMG GOOD!
We served it with mashed cauliflower and steamed vegetables. It was rich in flavor but not heavy. We had the same Merlot to drink with dinner as I used in the recipe. We all enjoyed the lighter sauce instead of a heavier gravy. From that roast I got 10 thick slices of the beef and tons of sauce. The first night we each had a serving. Next day a couple of us had lunches with some of the leftovers. Two nights later we had the rest of the beef and sauce over pasta. So yummy. This is what I’d call a Winner Winner Dinner!