Braised Grass-fed Beef with Root Vegetables and Fennel

Braised Grass-fed Beef with Root Vegetables and Fennel

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Ingredients

  • 3 pounds grass-fed beef chuck roast, about 2 inches thick (see note)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons high-heat oil
  • 1 yellow onion, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 1 carrot, coarsely chopped
  • 2 ribs celery, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped sage
  • 1 tablespoon chopped rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon chopped thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons paprika (use smoked if you have it)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 cups dry red wine
  • 4 cups beef broth
  • Assorted root vegetables (see note)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour

Directions

Preheat oven to 325° F.

Cut roast in half crosswise so you have 2 large “steaks.” Season each with salt and pepper.

In a large “stovetop-to-oven” pan with a lid, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add roast and brown extremely well on both sides. Remove from pan. Stir in onions, carrots, celery, sage, rosemary and thyme. Cook, stirring, for 3 to 4 minutes or until the vegetables start to gently brown.

Add bay leaves, orange zest, paprika, cloves and cinnamon; stir for about 30 seconds to bloom the flavors in the spices. Pour wine into the pan and boil until reduced by half. Add broth and bring back to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper and add the roast. Cover the pan and place in the oven for about 2 hours, or until the meat is fork tender.

Thirty minutes before the meat is done, immerse root vegetables in the broth around the roast and replace the cover.

To serve: In a small saucepan, melt butter and stir in flour. Cook over medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the roux from the heat (see note).

Remove meat and vegetables from the pan and keep warm. Skim any excess fat. Bring cooking liquid to a simmer and whip in roux. Simmer gently until thickened. Cut or shred meat into large chunks, removing any fat, and add back to the sauce.

Serve root vegetables right from the pan or sear them in a little oil to caramelize them.

Special notes:

At the end of the cooking time, your meat should be tender enough to pull a few pieces apart rather easily. If it is still a bit rubbery, place it back in the oven and check it again in about 20 minutes.

Instead of thickening with a roux, you may puree the cooking broth with all of its original onions, carrots and celery. The cooked vegetables will give it a nice texture.