Braised Beef

My first birthday bake for the office was a success!  Luke says everyone gave it “two-thumbs up” and that I should order business cards so people can refer my services.  Maybe he’s on to something.  I mean, baking for profit and seeing others enjoy my goodies sounds like a pretty sweet gig.  We’ll see what happens.

This past weekend, Luke and I had an engagement photo shoot with his mom.  Here are a couple of my favorite photos.

And now bring on the food.  I think of myself as a baker before cook, even though I enjoy both equally.  Still, working with meat, especially red meat, always makes me a teensy bit nervous because I have less experience with it.  I’m always worried about undercooking and giving Luke food poisoning, or overcooking and dulling my knives trying to saw through it.

Veggies…I used a large shallot in place of some of the onions

That’s why I really like braising meat.  It’ll definitely be cooked thoroughly, and it’ll be tender and delicious.  Plus, it guarantees an included sauce, so…. bonus.  I saw this recipe in the October 2011 issue of Bon Appetit.  It was a little fancier than I wanted, and used lamb, but since I can’t bring myself to eat baby animals, I substituted the lamb for beef.  I still found the dish incredibly tasty, with a lot of umami goodness.  I’ll definitely be making this again in the future.

Yum time.

Braised Beef in Tomato Sauce

Adapted from Bon Appetit

Makes 4 servings

2 lbs beef (I used stew meat) trimmed & cut into 1 ½”-2” cubes

1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 cups chopped onions

6 garlic cloves, chopped

¾ cup dry red wine

2 cups canned tomato juice

1 cup chicken broth

1 teaspoon ground cumin

½ teaspoon paprika

Season beef with 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper.  Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.  Working in batches, cook beef until golden brown on all sides, 7-8 minutes per batch.  Using a slotted spoon, transfer browned beef to a medium bowl and set aside.

 Add onions to the same pot and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until slightly softened and light golden, about 5 minutes.  Add garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant and beginning to brown, about 1 minute.  Add wine and reserved browned beef along with any accumulated juices.  Simmer beef until liquid is reduced by half, about 5 minutes.  Stir in tomato juice, chicken broth, ground cumin, paprika and ½ cup water; bring to a boil.  Cover, reduce heat to medium and simmer, stirring occasionally, until beef is tender and sauce is thickened, about 1 hour and 30 minutes.  (I cooked it uncovered for about an hour instead)

I served it over basmati rice.

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