Manzo brasato al Barolo (Beef braised in Barolo Wine)
The weather is beginning to heat up, flowers are in bloom and we are approaching the longest day of the year— summer is here! Impress your family and friends while capturing the essence of Bountiful Piedmont using this fantastic braised beef recipe for your next Sunday dinner.
1 Kg (around 2 lbs) beef, either rump roast or a similar cut, not too lean or it will be dry
A bottle of Barolo or similar full bodied tannic red wine
1 large onion
1 large carrot
1 stalk of celery
1 Bay leaf
Peppercorns to taste
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons prosciutto fat (if need be use just 4 tablespoons butter)
1/4 cup cognac (optional)
Salt to taste.
Begin the day before you plan to cook the meat. Slice the onion, celery, and carrot, and put them in a bowl with the meat, bay leaf, and peppercorns. Pour the wine over the mixture and marinate it until the next day, turning the meat occasionally.
Remove the meat, reserving the marinade, and pat the meat dry. Strain the marinade, bring it to a boil, and cook it until it’s reduced by half. Meanwhile, tie the meat with string so it keeps its shape and brown it in a pot with the butter and prosciutto fat. Once it’s well browned on all sides, sprinkle the cognac over the meat, if you’re using it, and light it. When the flames have gone out, season the meat with salt, pour the reduced marinade over it, along with the vegetables. Cover everything, and simmer over a low flame until the meat is done, about two hours. When the meat is done move it to a platter and remove the string. Remove and discard the bay leaf. Remove the vegetables with a slotted spoon and either put them through a food mill or blend them. Degrease the sauce, stir the blended vegetables back into it, pour over the meat, and serve. The meat should be so tender it could be carved with a spoon.
NB: For homogeneous cooking, beef needs to be covered while cooking in the oven.
Serve with vegetables, mashed potatoes or a steaming polenta. And, of course, a bottle of Barolo!