Brasato al Barolo
A Recipe for the Festive Season
By Rosemarie Scavo
Well, the festive season is in full swing and if you’re looking for something special to prepare during this period, then I would look no further than Brasato al Barolo (beef braised in Barolo wine), quite possibly “la ricetta piemontese per eccellenza”.
This delectable main course is prepared with two premium Piedmontese products – a boneless cut of chuck roast from the highly prized Piedmontese breed of cattle and Barolo wine, generally considered one of Italy’s best red wines. Given the premium prices of these premium products, not to mention the time required to prepare this dish (the beef needs to be marinated for 24 hours before it is cooked), it is often reserved for special occasions.
Over the years, however, I have found ways to justify the cost of these ingredients by getting the meat to last. I usually find there is plenty of leftover meat (until recently, it’s just been my husband and I at home) and with it, I have made been able to make another dish the following day such as cottage pie or pasta with sugo d’arrosto (meat sauce). However, if you’d really rather not spend too much on a bottle of Barolo, you can use another good Piedmontese red wine such as Nebbiolo or Barbera Superiore.
HOW TO MAKE BRASATO AL BAROLO
1.5 kg single piece boneless chuck steak
1 bottle Barolo wine
3 carrots, finely chopped
2 onions, finely chopped
2 sticks celery, finely chopped
10 juniper berries
3 bay leaves
1 sprig rosemary
30 g butter
2 tbsps olive oil
Prepare marinade. Place meat in a large bowl with bay leaves, cloves, juniper berries and rosemary. Add wine and allow meat to marinate for 24 hours in a cool dry place.
Remove meat from marinade. Put butter and olive oil in pot, turn on stove to medium heat and allow meat to simmer on each side and until skin is a golden brown colour.
Add finely chopped vegetables to pot. Allow meat and vegetables to simmer together.
Cover meat and vegetable mixture in pot with wine, herb and spice marinade. Add salt and pepper.
Cover pot with lid when mixture starts to boil.
Allow beef to cook on low heat for 2 hours. Remember to turn meat around in pot every half and hour.
Remove beef from pot and allow to rest on a clean chopping board.
While beef rests, remove vegetables and liquid from pot and blend them to make a smooth sugo d’arrosto.
Pour pureed sugo d’arrosto mixture back into pot and allow to simmer over low to medium heat uncovered for about 15 minutes.
Slice beef and pour sugo d’arrosto into a jug.
Serve beef with mash potato or polenta and sugo d’arrosto.
So all that’s left to say is ‘buon appetito’, ‘buona festa’ and enjoy!!