Boeuf A La Mode (Beef Braised in Red Wine)

Many nights of my childhood were spent at my grandparent’s house, sitting in front of a fire and listening to stories. They lived in the same woods my family did and we had a well worn path between our two homes. I remember walking it in all seasons, the wooded path became a prelude to the warmth, aroma and love that was Grandma Max’s kitchen. Sundays were roasts, usually beef, and usually this recipe. Make and eat it with love, Grandma would like that.

This recipe is a variation of  Julia Child’s 1961 cookbook Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Here is the inscription in the front cover, To La Belle France–whose peasants, fisherman, housewives, and princes-not to mention her chefs-through generations of inventive and loving concentration have created one of the world’s great arts.”

This recipe calls for a 12-24 hour marination, I usually prep it the day before cooking.

  • Ingredients

    1 cup each: thinly sliced carrots (2), onions (1 medium), and celery stalks (3)

    3-4 garlic cloves, cut in half

    1 TBSP thyme, half this amount if using fresh

    2 bay leaves

    ¼ cup (1 bunch) minced parsley…I just snip it with scissors

    5 pound piece of braising beef (Rump Roast, Chuck, Sirloin are all good choices)

    1TBSP salt

    ¼ tsp pepper

    5 cups red wine (whatever you would drink, and I just pour in the bottle)

    ⅓ cup brandy or cognac (whatever you would drink)

    ½ cup olive oil

  • Directions

    1. Place half the vegetables, herbs, and spices in the bottom of a dutch oven

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  • 2. Rub the meat with salt and pepper and place it over the vegetables

    3. Spread the rest of the vegetables and herbs over the meat.

    4. Pour  on the wine, brandy, and olive oil

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  • 5. Cover and marinate the meat 12-24 hours, turning the meat every so often

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Half an hour before cooking, drain the meat on a rack. Just before browning, dry it thoroughly with paper towels. Meat will not brown if it is damp.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

  • 6. Add ghee to a fry pan (I like cast iron to brown meats in), and place over high heat. When fat is on the point of smoking, brown the meat on all sides. This takes about 15 minutes.

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  • 7. As the meat browns, heat the wine marinade over moderately high heat, bring to a boil and reduce it by half.

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  • 8. Once beef is browned, remove it from the pan and place it in the wine marinade you are reducing. The marinade should come ⅔ the way up the beef, if it doesn’t you can add bone broth.

    9. Cover the dutch oven and set in lower third of preheated oven.

    10. Cook for 2 ½ to 3 hours

    When the meat is tender, remove it to a platter and keep warm.

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  • 12. Skim the fat off the braising juices, and then boil reducing the liquid to about 3 ½ cups.

    13. With an immersion blender, blend the the vegetables into the sauce to make gravy.

    14. Plate and serve.

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