Stracotto di Manzo alla Fiorentina (The Braised Beef of Florence)
Braising is one of my favorite methods of preparation. It’s a very easy way to cook; yields deep, rich flavor; and fills the house with glorious smells! Braising recipes are great for entertaining since all the prep work and hands-on cooking is done early with very little, if any, last-minute work.
This dish was also part of the Super Tuscan tasting from a couple of weeks ago. It’s basically an Italian version of pot roast and uses Chianti as the primary braising liquid, although you could substitute stock if you prefer. The braising liquid and vegetables reduce to a rich, beef and tomato flavored sauce. The braised beef is often served with mashed potatoes which are delicious topped with the sauce.
As a bonus, the leftover sauce can also be used on its own with pasta – it makes a great simple dinner or quick lunch. Or the leftover beef could be shredded and added to the sauce and then used to top pasta or polenta.
The recipe is after the jump.
Stracotto di Manzo alla Fiorentina
adapted from Biba’s Italy, by Biba Caggiano
- 3 1/2 to 4 pound beef rump roast
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 cup of diced carrot
- 1 cup of diced celery
- 1 medium red onion, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 Tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 Tbsp finely chopped fresh sage
- 3 cups Chianti Classico or other medium red wine or beef stock
- 1 28 ounce can of Italian plum tomatoes
Preheat the oven to 325°F.
Generously season the beef with salt and pepper. Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large dutch oven or other heavy covered pan. When the oil is hot, add the beef and brown on all sides. You want the color to be a deep, golden brown and will want to sear the sides as well as the top and bottom. Allow 12 – 15 minutes.
Remove the meat to a platter. Reduce the heat to medium and add the carrots, celery and onion. Cook until golden brown about 10 – 12 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic, parsley, bay leaves and sage. Stir until the herbs are fragrant, about 1 minute.
Add 1 cup of wine and stir to remove the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Continue to stir until the wine is reduced and coats the vegetables. Return the meat and any accumulated juices to the pan. Add the tomatoes and the rest of the wine.
Raise the heat to high and bring the liquid back to a boil. Cover the pan and place it in the pre-heated oven. Braise for about 3 hours until the beef is fork tender and flakes when pierced with a fork. Remove the pan from the oven and allow the beef to rest in the pan for 1 hour.
Remove the beef from the pan, place on a cutting board and cover with foil. Skim any accumulated fat from the top of the sauce. Remove the bay leaves.
Place about 1/2 of the sauce in a blender and pulse until the vegetables are pureed but the sauce still has good texture to it. Return to the pan and mix in with the remaining sauce. Reheat the sauce over medium heat.
While the sauce is heating cut the beef into thick slices and place on indivudual plates or a platter. Top with some of the sauce and serve.