One of the most widely successful ways to cook meat on the planet is via the braising method. The Chinese, French, Moroccons, Italians, and Swiss, for example, all have “pot roasting” traditions (Italian Pot Roast Recipe). Braising typically involves first searing a cut of meat (usually one containing lots of tough connective and fibrous tissue like collagen) and then using liquid and heat to slowly cook and tenderize the meat. Moreover, pressure cooking and slow cooking (crockpot) are all forms of braising.
The word braise derives from the French word, braiser but that’s all the credit I’m giving to the French. Of course I’m joking as the French have developed a reputation for slow cooking meats, especially beef. On the Italian side, chicken cacciatore is a classic dish which utilizes the braising technique as does our own Italian stew recipe.
If braising meats sounds like a chore, then you have the wrong picture in your head. Braising is easy and the only “messy” part is giving the meat a good sear, which requires high heat, some oil/butter, and a bit of flour (searing gives the outside of the meat a fine crust, which brings flavor to your dish).Here’s our recipe for Italian pot roast or stracotto di manzo.
- 3-4 pounds beef, something like rump roast, top sirloin roast, blade roast or beef brisket.
- 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1 sprig of rosemary, you can chop the leaves if you'd like
- ½ cup of carrots diced roughly
- ½ cup of red onions diced roughly
- ¾ cup of peas
- 2-3 cloves of chopped garlic
- 4-5 cups of red wine (we use our homemade wine, but you can use any red you have around the house)
- ½ cup of whole tomatoes (we, again, use our homemade peeled and canned tomatoes)
- 1 bay leaf
- Kosher Salt and ground black pepper
- Begin by heating a large pot (containing about 2 tablespoons of olive oil) with high lids over a high flame. We use a Le Creuset "Dutch oven" but you can use any pot and if you don't have a lid you can make one out of aluminum foil. Coat your beef with a bit of flower and remove excess. Add plenty of Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to the meat and drop into your hot pot. Sear all side until you see a nice brown color; turn on your fan before you add the meat to the pot. Next, add all of the above ingredients and stir. Place the lid on the pot and let cook for 2.5-3 hours. You'll know the meat is ready when it shred easily with a fork. If your sauce is not thick when the meat is ready you can simply reduce the liquid for 10-15 minutes.
You can serve the dish with good bread and a simple salad. A glass or two of Barolo would be ideal.