This beef braised in Barolo from Cook’s Illustrated is an impressive Italian dinner made with a chuck roast that’s slowly cooked with pancetta, carrots, onions, and celery in a red wine and tomato sauce. Perfect for entertaining.
Once upon a cold winter’s night, the editors of Leite’s Culinaria made this beef braised in Barolo and were too sated and happy by the insanely rich Italian comfort food to type…–Renee Schettler Rossi
Beef Braised in Barolo
- One (3 1/2- to 4-pound) boneless beef chuck eye roast pulled apart into 2 pieces, trimmed, and tied with kitchen string
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 4 ounces pancetta* cut into 1/4-inch (6-mm) chunks
- 2 medium onions chopped
- 2 medium carrots peeled and chopped
- 2 celery stalks chopped
- 2 medium garlic cloves minced (about 1 tablespoon)
- 2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme leaves plus more for garnish, if desired
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
- 1 tablespoon unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon store-bought or homemade tomato paste
- 1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
- One bottle Barolo wine*
- One can diced tomatoes drained
- Cooked polenta (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 300°F (150°C) and adjust an oven rack to the lower third position.
- Pat the beef dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking. Brown the beef on all sides, 7 to 10 minutes, reducing the heat if the beef begins to scorch. Transfer the beef to a large plate.
- Pour off almost all the fat in the pot, add the pancetta, and cook over medium heat, stirring often, until browned and crisp, about 8 minutes. Add the onions, carrots, celery, and 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring often, until softened, 8 to 10 minutes.
- Stir in the garlic, 1 teaspoon of the thyme, and the rosemary and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the flour, tomato paste, and sugar and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Slowly whisk in the wine, scraping up any browned bits, until smooth. Stir in the tomatoes and bring to a simmer.
- Add the beef, along with any juices that accumulated on the plate, to the pot and bring to a simmer. Cover, place the pot in the oven, and cook until the meat is very tender and a fork inserted into it meets very little resistance, 3 to 3 1/2 hours, turning the beef every hour.
- Transfer the beef to a cutting board and tent loosely with foil.
- Meanwhile, strain the braising liquid into a fat separator or bowl, discarding the solids. Defat the braising liquid by pouring off the fat, skimming the fat with a ladle, or refrigerating the whole shebang overnight so that the solidified fat can be lifted from the surface.
- Add the remaining 1 teaspoon thyme to the defatted braising liquid, bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, and cook until thickened, saucy, and reduced to about 1 1/2 cups, 15 to 20 minutes. Season the sauce with salt and pepper to taste.
- Remove the kitchen string, slice the beef against the grain into 1/4-inch-thick slices, and transfer to a serving platter with polenta, if desired. Spoon the sauce over the beef, garnish with thyme, if desired, and serve.
*What You Need To Know About Ingredient SubstitutionsBarolo is obviously the wine of choice for this stew; however, an inexpensive bottle of it may require some searching. You may substitute a Cabernet Sauvignon or Zinfandel. Pancetta can commonly be found thinly sliced and prepackaged…but don’t use that here. Instead, look for pancetta at the deli counter or in an Italian market where it can be sliced 1/4 inch thick to order. If pancetta isn’t available, substitute an equal amount of salt pork (find the meatiest piece possible), cut it into 1/4-inch cubes, and boil it in 3 cups water for 2 minutes to remove excess salt.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
This recipe was killer and I’ll make it over and over. The roast was absolutely wonderful. It was “self shredding”—it just fell apart. It was so moist and, with the braising liquid, extremely delicious. Full-seasoned flavor where present in the sauce: you could taste the pancetta, herbs, vegetables, and wine. It was truly wonderful.
We served it with roasted vegetables and asparagus spears with hollandaise. What a wonderful meal on a cold day.
Succulent and packed with flavour, this braised beef dish is an excellent company dish. Our guests very much enjoyed it, as did we. The aromas were fantastic! This is definitely another recipe from LC that I’ll be making again in the future.
This is a great braised beef recipe, not very difficult, and exceptionally delicious. The beef was braised perfectly and fell apart into nice pieces, so slicing wasn’t even needed. The sauce came out perfectly.
Be sure to trim some fat off the meat before you start, and you’ll have very little (for me it was nothing) to skim at the end.
I suggest serving this with some rice or boiled potatoes. You need a starch to balance the richness of this dish. We thought this was an outstanding recipe and very economical considering the type of meat you’re using.
I served this beef dish for a group of friends who needed a break from work and grad school. I thought it would be great cool weather meal. This was easy to pull together. (Except for the beef, I had everything I needed on hand.) The sauce was probably the best part and was great with both the meat and the chive/thyme mashed potatoes I made.
I followed the recipe exactly, but using basically the same recipe, and letting it cook even slower, would make it a great meal to throw in the oven before heading to work. Get home, make a salad and mashed potatoes (or polenta), pour a glass of wine, and you have a complete meal.
Originally published March 03, 2020