Braised Beef in Red Wine | Of all the possible ways to cook beef, my absolute favorite is braising. Without a doubt, I love to braise. It makes everything tender, delicious, and it’s low maintenance.
It’s the best way to make an inexpensive and tough cut of meat into a delectable, elegant dinner. You could braise a boot and make it delicious. I know this is an extreme example, but it’s pretty close to true. Braising is like magic.
What does it mean to braise beef?
It comes from the French word braiser, which means to cook with both wet and dry heat. For example, it involves cooking and searing meat at a high temperature first and then slow cooking it in some liquid.
It’s not submerged in liquid as a stew like sancocho would be. But it has enough braising liquid and is cooked long enough in that moist heat to break down the tough connective tissues in the meat and concentrate all the flavors you put into it. This results in a tender, mouthwatering final product that’s so stinking delicious.
What meat is best for braising?
Another benefit to braising meat is that it works best with less expensive, tough cuts. These usually come from the larger muscles of the animal. Some of my favorites are the chuck roast, short ribs, shank, brisket, and round cuts.
But braising isn’t just for beef. I love braising all the meats! Like this moroccan lamb stew, my fricasse de pollo if you’re looking for a braised chicken recipe, this slow cooker pork ramen, or braised pork chops and garden vegetables.
How to Braise Beef
A vital step for building flavor when braising is searing the meat first. By searing the meat, you get all these flavor-boosting crusty brown bits at the bottom of the pot.
You must embrace the brown bits. Brown bits are good. Brown bits are awesome.
I know it seems like an extra step, but I promise it’s a step worth taking. Simply melt butter over medium high heat in a hot Dutch oven or another oven-safe pot, cook the vegetables until caramelized and set them aside.
Then it’s the meat’s turn. Dry meat sears best, so pat it dry before you season with salt and pepper. LOTS of salt and pepper for lots of meat. If your pot needs more butter, add more, and when the butter is nice and hot, cook your beef on each side for about 5 minutes undisturbed so that crust can develop.
Next, remove the browned beef to a plate and deglaze the pan with some red wine, scraping up the bits from the bottom of the pot with your spoon. Then add your vegetables followed by the beef, fresh herbs, garlic, and bay leaves.
Bring to a boil, cover the pot, and place it in a preheated, 325-degree oven for 3-4 hours. You’ll know it’s ready when you can practically eat it with a spoon. Amen.
How to cook braised beef in a slow cooker
Braising is essentially what your slow-cooker does, so you could absolutely make this in a slow-cooker. But don’t skip the searing. I repeat, no matter how tempting it may be to dump it all in and call it good, do not skip the searing!
You can sear the beef and vegetables in a large, heavy skillet as the recipe calls for, deglaze the pan using wine, scrape up the brown bits with a wooden spoon, and add them to the slow-cooker if yours doesn’t have a built-in saute function. Then set your slow cooker to LOW for 8 hours.
How to cook braised beef in an Instant Pot
Braising in an Instant Pot is similar to making it in a slow cooker, but you can sear it directly in the pot and it take a fraction of the time! Set your Instant Pot to saute mode, and when it’s hot, brown the meat and vegetables, according to recipe instructions working in batches if you need to create that irresistible brown crust.
Then remove your beef and vegetables to a plate so you can deglaze the pot with wine and scrape up the browned bits. At this point, the meat, vegetables, and the rest of your ingredients can go back into the Instant Pot. Set the valve to Sealing and cook on high pressure for 40 minutes, allowing the pot to depressurize naturally when it’s finished. And done!
How to Serve Braised Beef
The beef finishes fork tender and deliciously saucy. There are endless ways to serve braised beef. I happen to know it pairs fabulously with buttered noodles and these salt potatoes from Foodie with Family. It can also be used as a pasta filling for ravioli.
You can serve this braised beef dish with tortelloni, mashed potatoes, polenta, pasta, or gnocchi. In fact, I found some pumpkin gnocchi while grocery shopping and I knew that they would be perfect with red wine braised beef.
To serve, I tossed the gnocchi in brown butter and topped it with savory braised beef.
“SAY WHAT???!!!” you said.
That’s right, you heard me. Pumpkin gnocchi tossed in browned butter, mounded with a generous helping of deliciously braised beef on top.
Please refrain from licking the screen; there is a 98.4333% chance that it will just taste like dust.
Fix it and forget it
I love braising because it’s such a simple technique that results in complex flavors. Once you get it all prepped and in the oven, you just walk away. Then you come back to the smell of the contents of that pot roasting and doing their thing.
This braised beef recipe is part of my regular rotation. I love to make a big batch and freeze half. This way I’m ready to make a beautiful dinner no matter how busy my week gets.
Though the saying goes “fix it and forget it,” this mouthwatering braised beef dish is one you won’t forget soon.
more beef recipe love
- 4 tablespoons butter, divided
- 2 small onions, halved and thinly sliced
- 2 carrots, diced
- 2 ribs celery, diced
- 1 4 lb beef chuck
- 2 cups red wine
- 2 sprigs rosemary
- 2 sprigs thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- 3 garlic cloves
- Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees.
- Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a dutch oven or a heavy oven-safe pot. Let it get nice and hot. Add diced carrots and cook until they begin to brown, about 10 minutes. When the carrots start to brown, add the onions and celery.
- Cook the vegetables until the onions begin to caramelize. I know you will be tempted to stir and fidget with the vegetables, but trust me: let them sit a bit, stirring occasionally. It's the best way to get some good caramelization. Use a slotted spoon to remove the vegetables and set aside on a plate.
- Pat the beef chuck dry and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Don't be shy; it's a big piece of meat.
- If needed, melt 2 tablespoons of butter in dutch oven, letting it get nice and hot. The butter should shimmer. Sear the beef on each side for about 5 minutes -- don't fidget with it. It should be brown, not grey, and crispy on the edges. Remove beef and set aside.
- Pour 1/2 a bottle of red wine into the pot while still hot. Using a firm spatula, scrape up all the brown bits at the bottom of the pot. Return vegetables to the pot. Lay browned beef on top of vegetables.
- Add fresh herbs, garlic and bay leaves. Tuck herbs into the liquid and bring to a boil.
- Cover and place in oven at 325 degrees for 3-4 hours or until tender. It should fall apart using a spoon, if it's still firm return to the oven and let it go another 30 minutes.
- Serve hot, but it makes great leftovers.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 550Total Fat: 21gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 240mgSodium: 289mgCarbohydrates: 5gFiber: 1gSugar: 2gProtein: 74g