Stracotto alla Toscana (Chianti Braised Beef)

April 29, 2013Posted in:

Stracotto alla Toscana
Chianti Braised Beef
Serves 4

This dish is even better after sitting for 1 or 2 days in the refrigerator.

2 pounds eye round beef roast
6 whole cloves
1 stick cinnamon
6 juniper berries
2 red onions, cut into eighths
2 carrots, cut into 1-inch lengths
2 stalks celery, cut into 1-inch lengths
1 bottle Chianti
2 tablespoons chopped garlic
2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
Salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 ounces Pancetta, chopped
2 ounces dried Porcini mushrooms soaked in 2 cups warm water for 30 minutes
1 ¼ cups crushed canned tomatoes
Homemade beef broth or water, as needed

1. Place the roast, the cloves, cinnamon stick, juniper berries, onions, carrots, and celery in a 5-quart casserole. Pour in the Chianti. The meat should be completely submerged. Cover and marinate overnight in the refrigerator.
2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Remove the meat from the marinade, strain in the marinade, and reserve the wine and vegetables separately. Cut 10 deep slits in the roast. Mix together the garlic, rosemary, and salt and pepper, and stuff the slits with this mixture. Rub any extra into the flesh of the meat. Rub 2 tablespoons of the olive oil into the flesh.
3. Pour the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil into the casserole and add the roast. Return it to the oven for 10 minutes and add the chopped Pancetta. Turn the roast and cook for another 15 minutes. Add 2 cups of the reserved Chianti and return the roast in the oven for 20 minutes. Add the reserved vegetables, then drain the porcini (reserving the liquid) and add them, too. After 15 minutes, add the tomatoes and the mushroom liquid. If there isn’t enough liquid to completely cover the roast, add a little beef broth or water. Cover the casserole and return the roast to the oven for 1 ½ to 2 hours. The meat it ready when it feels very tender when touched with a knife.
4. Remove the roast from the liquid. Transfer the juices and the vegetables to a food processor, and puree them. Return the puree to the casserole. Slice the meat ¼ inch thick and add the slices to the puree. Cover the casserole and return it to the oven for another 2 to 4 minutes. Spoon the meat and the sauce onto plates and serve.