Braised Beef

I have been dying to try this recipe for week’s now, ever since I saw it on Rachael Ray’s new show: Rachael Ray’s Week in a Day.  It’s a slow-cooked Italian style braised beef, topped with layers of onions, potatoes, and tomatoes.  The prep work takes about 45 minutes, but then the rest of the magic takes place in the oven (and boy does it smell delicious!).

*Sidenote: I learned from making this recipe that I really do need a Dutch oven.  (My cookware is oven-safe; it was not big enough though!)

Start with the prep work:

  • Thinly slice 4 onions and 8 cloves of garlic.  (It looks like A LOT, but it will cook way down!)

  • Heat a skillet over medium heat.  Add enough EVOO to coat the bottom of the pan.  Add the onions and garlic.
  • Cook, stirring occasionally, until super soft and golden, about 30 minutes.

  • Meanwhile, chop about 2 tablespoons of fresh thyme and 2 tablespoons of rosemary.  (I used dried rosemary – there was none in either supermarket I went to looking for it.)
  • Also, open a 32 ounce can of Italian tomatoes and break them apart with your fingers.  (Save their juice!)
  • Finally, peel and thinly slice 5 small potatoes.  (I used red.)

  • Heat a large oven-safe skillet (or a Dutch over if you have one) over medium-high heat.
  • Coat the bottom with EVOO.
  • Season a 3 pound cut of beef round liberally with s&p.  (Pat it dry with a paper towel first.)

  • Sear the meat on all sides in the skillet.  It will take about 12 minutes, and should be a dark brown when finished.

  • Shut the heat off and begin the layering process.
  • Top the beef with 1/2 the onions and garlic.  Season with s&p and 1/2 the thyme.

  • Add 1/2 the potatoes.  Season with s&p, 1/2 the rosemary, and some shredded parmesan cheese.

  • Add 1/2 the tomatoes and their juices.
  • Add some torn basil.

  • Repeat the entire process.  (Do not add any more basil, however.  It will turn black in the oven if on top.)

  • Onions, potatoes, and tomatoes are bound to slide of the meat during this process.  That is totally okay!  Just try to keep as much on top of the meat as possible.)
  • Cover and place in the oven.  (I was forced to use foil since the meat and everything on top of it piled so high!)
  • Cook for at least 4 hours at 325º.
  • After 4 hours remove from the oven.
  • Drizzle some EVOO on top and cover with more shredded parmesan.

  • Place under the broiler for a few minutes.

  • Serve with bread.  (I had leftover biscuits from breakfast, so we just used that.)

Yes, this recipe takes a long time, but it is perfect for a Sunday afternoon.  The meat was so tender, you could cut it with your fork.  And the tomatoes, potatoes, and onions were delicious!  I highly recommend trying this recipe!!  (You can make it ahead.  Cook the meat for the 4 hours, then cool completely and store in your fridge.  When you want to have it, heat, covered, in the oven until warm.  Then remove cover and follow the last 3 steps.)  Enjoy!

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