Sunday, May 2, 2010

Italian Braised Beef With Root Vegetables

When I saw that Michael Symon had a cookbook out, I was pretty excited. Although he’s an Iron Chef, to me he seemed like the kind of guy who would make homestyle dishes. When I saw the Italian braised beef recipe was his mother’s, I had to give it a try.

An ingredient in Symon’s beef recipe is his grandmother’s tomato sauce, but if you prefer, you can use your favorite tomato-based pasta sauce or even really good canned crushed tomatoes.

When I made this, though, I went all the way and used Symon’s sauce which simmers for 8 hours. It was definitely worth a try, and I ended up with enough sauce to freeze for later, after using what I needed for the beef.

When I made this recipe, I added more carrots and bought a large celery root. One carrot to three pounds of beef wasn’t quite enough vegetation for me.

Italian Braised Beef With Root Vegetables
Adapted from Michael Symon’s Live to Cook by Michael Symon

3-pound rump roast
Kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 carrot, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
1 onion, coarsely chopped
1 small celery root, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup red wine
2 cups Yia Yia’s Sunday Sauce (or substitute)
2 bay leaves

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.

Season the meat liberally with salt and pepper. Season it as much as a day in advance, if you like. Take the meat out of the fridge 30 minutes before you cook.

Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven, until it is nearly smoking. Sear the meat well on all sides then remove it to make room for the vegetables. Brown the vegetables, then add the garlic and cook a minute or two longer.

Add the wine, scrape up any brown bits on the bottom, then add the tomato sauce, 1 cup of water, and the bay leaves. Return the beef to the pot, bring the liquid to a simmer, and taste for seasoning, adding salt if necessary.

Cover the pot and place it in the oven. Cook for 3 hours (or up to 5 hours at local altitude), basting the meat once in a while during cooking.

Discard the bay leaves before serving. The meat can be cut or shredded. Or, as I did since it needed to cook so much longer than planned, let it cool then refrigerate overnight and cut it the next day before reheating it in the sauce. Serve over noodles or polenta.