A few years ago I tried making braised beef for the first time. I didn’t realize that braising beef took a couple hours, and starting dinner at 5:00, with the expectation of eating at 6:00, was not possible. Fortunately, I had plenty of back-up dinner ideas at hand, so we didn’t have to wait until 7:30 to eat. Even better, braised beef tastes incredible when it has been cooked and reheated. So dinner the next night was already cooked – and it was out of this world fantastic.
2 tablespoons oil, either olive oil or canola oil
1 medium carrot, diced
1/2 onion, diced
1 stalk of celery, diced
Beef chuck roast (I usually use a 2 pound roast for the three of us)
4 cups beef broth
3 tablespoons flour (optional)
Heat oil in pot over medium heat. Add the vegetables and saute for 4-5 minutes, until softened.
Remove the vegetables from the pan, and place the beef in the pan to brown, about five minutes on each side.
Remove the beef from the pan and add the beef broth. Use a wooden spoon to scrape any beef bits from the bottom of the pan. Bring the broth to a boil then return the beef and the vegetables to the pan. Cover pan with a lid and reduce heat to low. Cook the meat for 2 1/2 to 3 hours, until very tender. (Resist the urge to keep lifting the lid off the pan – this lets the moisture out and increases the cooking time.)
Once the roast has finished cooking, remove the beef and the vegetables from the pan (since the veggies are for flavoring the sauce, I typically discard them after the beef has finished cooking). Increase the heat and let the cook the sauce until it is reduced by about half. To make the sauce more gravy-like quickly whisk in the flour, one tablespoon at a time until the desired consistency is reached.
I almost always serve braised beef with steamed carrots and broccoli and a big serving of mashed potatoes.