Braised Grass-fed Beef with Root Vegetables and Fennel
Serves: 6 to 8
Braising is a timeless technique, which transforms economical cuts of meat into a succulent and juicy dish. The meat is first seared in a heavy pan and then simmered very slowly in a compound stock, which infuses it with flavor and renders it fork tender. Here we are using grass-fed beef chuck roast but there are a variety of types and cuts of meat that lend themselves beautifully to this method of cooking.
Read the "Notes" tab for additional tips and info.
- 3 (or so) pounds PCC grass-fed beef chuck roast, about 2 inches thick (see Notes) Add to list
- Salt and pepper, to taste Add to list
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil Add to list
- 1 yellow onion, peeled and coarsely chopped Add to list
- 1 carrot, coarsely chopped Add to list
- 2 stalks celery, coarsely chopped Add to list
- 1 tablespoon chopped sage Add to list
- 1 tablespoon chopped rosemary Add to list
- 1 tablespoon chopped thyme Add to list
- 2 bay leaves Add to list
- 1 tablespoon orange zest Add to list
- 1 1/2 tablespoons paprika (use smoked if you have it) Add to list
- 1/2 teaspoon ground clove Add to list
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon Add to list
- 2 cups dry Washington state red wine Add to list
- 4 cups rich beef broth Add to list
- Assorted root vegetables (see Notes) Add to list
- 2 tablespoons butter Add to list
- 2 tablespoons flour Add to list
Preheat oven to 325° F.
Cut the roast in half crosswise so you have 2 large “steaks.” Season each with a little salt and pepper.
In a large “stovetop-to-oven” pan with a lid, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the roast and brown extremely well on both sides. Remove from pan. Stir in the onions, carrots, celery, sage, rosemary and thyme. Cook, stirring, for about 3 to 4 minutes or until the vegetables start to gently brown.
Add the bay leaves, orange zest, paprika, clove and cinnamon and stir about 30 seconds to bloom the flavors in the spices. Pour the wine into the pan and boil until reduced by about half. Add the 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.
30 minutes before the meat is done, immerse the root vegetables in the broth around the roast and replace the cover.
To serve: In a small saucepan, melt the butter and stir in the flour. Cook over medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the roux from the heat (see Notes).
Remove the meat and vegetables from the pan and keep warm. Skim any excess fat. Bring the cooking stock to a simmer and whip in the roux. Simmer gently until thickened. Cut or shred the meat into large chunks, removing any fat, and add back to the sauce.
Serve the root vegetables right from the pan or sear them in a little oil to caramelize them.
Types and cuts of meat for braising
- Chuck roast
- Round roast
- Short ribs
- Leg (rump, butt or shank)
- Whole body
Types of root vegetables for braised dishes
- Celery root
- Sweet potatoes
Other vegetables choices
- Fennel bulb
- Peppers and chiles
- Brussels sprouts
- Dark leafy greens
- Whole pickles (yes, pickles!)
How to tell when the roast is done
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.
On thickening the sauce
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.
Recipe by, PCC Chef
ABOUT OUR CHEF: Lynne Vea
Lynne Vea is a graduate of the Executive Chef Program at Le Cordon Bleu, Paris and has been cooking with PCC Natural Markets since 2001. Featured on King-5’s "Gardening with Ciscoe," she demonstrates easy and delicious recipes using seasonal ingredients.
Lynne is an admired PCC Cooks instructor, teaching a variety of popular PCC Cooks classes throughout the year.
She loves to collect old cookbooks, hunt for wild berries, and cook seven-course dinners where the guests are encouraged to dance and cavort between courses.
Find more recipes from Lynne.