Saturday, January 25, 2014

Red Wine Braised Beef in My Le Creuset

Definition of braising: a method of cooking food by first pan searing and browning in fat, and then simmering on low heat with liquid in a covered pot for hours. Andrea's definition of braising: a brilliant reason to use my Le Creuset! I love Le Creuset cookware and for years I longed for one. As tempted as I was, I never bought one because I couldn't swallow spending $300.00 on one pot. I know shocking because you all know how much I love to shop! My very dear friend John, who is probably one of the most giving and generous people I know, gave me a Le Creuset as a gift. No it wasn't my birthday, no it wasn't Christmas, he just bought me one because he was over for dinner one night and I was telling him how much I was craving one. The next day a huge wrapped Williams Sonoma box was at my doorstep and inside a shiny new 9 1/2 QT Oval French Oven model, in Marseille Blue! John is amazing, I know. John is also one of the best chefs in Buffalo and has made many lasting food impressions on me, but I'll save that for another post! My Le Creuset is one of the most gorgeous pieces of cookware I own. When I first received my Le Creuset I kept it on my stovetop because it reminded me of a piece of art. It was worthy of being put on display for everyone to see. After a month I couldn't leave it there weighs a ton so moving it back and forth was becoming a royal pain! So now it sits pretty in my pantry.

I think Dave and the boys are happier than I am that John bought me a Le Creuset because they get to eat all of the deliciousness that's produced from it! This weekend was perfect for braising, especially since the Siwiec men skied all day. Their appetites were screaming for stick to your ribs, good for your soul comfort food. So it was an easy choice for me to make one of our favorites: Red Wine Braised Beef with Risotto. Braising is one of my preferred methods of cooking because it's virtually fail proof and it makes the most moist, tender, succulent pieces of meat. And the best part is that it fills the house with the most mouth watering aromas ever! Once the meat is pan seared, it cooks in the oven for hours and requires very little attention. So little attention that we all left the house to go to Holiday Valley and ski (well the boys skied and I sat in the lodge)! I actually browned the meat in the morning and just before we left I put the meat in the oven to braise! I certainly don't recommend leaving your house but if you needed to you could! As soon as we walked in the door the boys were like "Oh my gosh, it smells fantastic. When are we eating?" We all couldn't wait to eat. So Dave opened a bottle of wine, turned on some John Coltrane and I started making the risotto, which is the perfect compliment to braised beef, and Dave's favorite! When I started plating the food, everyone was hovering over me in the kitchen begging me to add more beef to their plates. Dave actually complained and said it wasn't fair that the boys got more meat than he did!  I have 4 boys, not 3! I made 5 lbs of beef thinking it would be even better the next day as leftovers for dinner...well no we at like 4 3/4 lbs at one sitting!  It was that super, that spectacular, that succulent! We kept oohing, and aahing like it was the 4th of July! Talk about lasting food impressions! Salute to John and his amazing gift to me, my Le Creuset!


5 lbs. chuck roast beef
1 onion diced
3 celery stalks chopped and diced
1/2 bottle of dry red wine
1 6 oz can tomato paste
2 tb minced garlic
6 cups beef stock
8 oz sliced mushrooms
1 bay leaf
1 t. parsley
1 t. oregano
1 t. basil
1 t. thyme
salt n pepper

Preheat oven to 320 degrees. Season chuck beef generously with salt n pepper. In a dutch oven/heavy pot, coat with olive oil and pan sear and brown beef on both sides over medium-high heat. Set beef aside on a platter. Using the fat and juices from the beef, sauté onions, celery, mushrooms and garlic in pan over medium heat for 10 minutes. Add wine, bring to a boil, reduce heat and cook for 15 minutes. Add beef broth, tomato paste, bay leaf, parsley, oregano, basil and thyme. Stir until mixed. Add beef back to liquid mixture. Cover pot and cook in oven for 3-4 hours or until beef is tender or falling apart when pulled with a fork. Serve in bowls with risotto/or mashed potatoes and pour beef gravy from pot.

Food Impressions:

Nate: "This is so scrumptious. This beef is epic and legendary."

Tyler: His actions said a thousand words...while I was serving Dave kept saying "Tyler wait for mommy to sit down." By the time I sat down he devoured almost all of his beef!

Zachary: His actions also said a thousand words...he barely spoke throughout dinner because he was eating non-stop. If you know Zachary, not much stops him from talking!

Dave: "Rich, flavorful, savory...simply amazing." And let's not forget "Hey why do the boys have more beef than I do?" I actually had to plate him more beef!

Andrea (me): So far, the best meal I've made in 2014! This is a keeper recipe boys!

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