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Video: Dinner tonight: One-pot meal of tender braised beef

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    >> back now at 8:46. this morning on "today's" kitchen, hearty one-pot meal cooked low and slow. mark bittman , "new york times" columnist and the author of how to cook everything, the basics is here with his recipe for braised beef.

    >> i thought i would do something that people really wanted for a change.

    >> we love this, you know. when you're braising a piece of meat, chicken, what does it mean?

    >> little liquid, not a whole lot. and until it's super, super tender.

    >> people often get those two terms confused. it's not browning.

    >> browning precedes braising but it's not essential. braising means cooking in a little bit of liquid.

    >> choice of meat you're going to use. is this chuck?

    >> this is chuck. these are short ribs, which would be great here and this is brisket. you want, actually, a tough -- it's funny. you want a cut of meat that's tough. if you cook it quickly, those are the best for quickly slowly because the connective tissue breaks down, become incredibly tender.

    >> you start off by browning the meat. how long does this take?

    >> we're going to duplicate this right here. best to do it probably in batches. if you crowd the meat in the pan, it will steam rather than brown. so it can take 15, 20 minutes .

    >> you could skip the step but it adds not only flavor but a look?

    >> incredible.

    >> you've done it for 15 minutes . you're showing us that now. you take that meat out of the pot, right?

    >> if you're browning in batches, which you have to do if your pot is of this size, for example. then you take it out as it browns and put in a second batch. meanwhile, work on chopping your vegetables.

    >> while that's browning, let's talk about the vegetables. onions here and some carrots and celery. you don't care too much about how you cut it up.

    >> you can fuss about this stuff but i don't. you know, peel the carrots, trim the celery. it's going to -- you're cooking this for so long, two or three hours, that they're going to break down pretty much anyway. to waste your time cutting them prettily --

    >> the peasant's cut.

    >> some people call this -- chefs would call this a peasant's cut because it's so unprofessional.

    >> you do it well. you take the meat out. brown that. we're going to pretend.

    >> we'll pretend this is browned, put in the rest of the meat we browned before. as they said in the godfather, shove in your vegetables.

    >> godfather i or ii?

    >> i think it was one actually. then you cook these until they're tender which, again, we have to pretend.

    >> still at this stage not adding any wine or liquid at that?

    >> no. and better to do the vegetables once the meat is browned but we're taking short cuts here. the meat is browned, the vegetables are glossy and starting to soften a little bit. add some red wine and some stock.

    >> okay. it has to be a combination? can you use water instead of stock?

    >> you can use water instead of stock. since stock is made out of meat and vegetables, water will turn into stock.

    >> cook this at low heat. what's the temperature?

    >> 250 degrees, super low heat. in the oven or very low simmer on top of the stove.

    >> for approximately how long?

    >> different meat will take a different amount -- different cut also take different amounts of time to tenderize. say two to three hours. it could be quicker and -- i like big pieces of meat here.

    >> and since you're using red wine , just throw out a couple of names of red wines that might be appropriate for this.

    >> the first thing is that you want to be able to drink it. you can't cook with anything you wouldn't drink.

    >> nothing too expensive.

    >> no, but a pinot noir , zinfadel, something that has a lot of fruit and is sort of round.

    >> what happens if it starts to dry out?

    >> add more stock, add more wine, you can add water. and if it's too wet -- is that beautiful?

    >> looks really good.

    >> you see the vegetables are broken down a little bit, especially the onion.

    >> the meat just falls apart . you serve that with noodles, rice, nice bread?

    >> whatever.

    >> it even smells great. still

TODAY recipes
updated 2/27/2013 11:59:49 AM ET 2013-02-27T16:59:49

Recipe: Braised beef with red wine

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless beef chuck, cut into 2-inch chunks
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 1 large or 2 medium carrots, chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 1/2 cup red wine, or more as needed
  • 1/2 cup chicken, beef or vegetable stock or water
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh
  • Parsley leaves for garnish

Heat the oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit. Put the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. When it's hot, add some of the meat, working in batches to avoid crowding; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook until the meat is browned on all sides, adjusting the heat and turning the pieces as needed so they don't burn, about 10 minutes for each piece. As they brown, transfer them to a platter; repeat until all the meat is browned.

Pour off all but 3 tablespoons of the fat; lower the heat to medium. Add the onions, carrot and celery, sprinkle with a little salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables begin to soften, 5 to 10 minutes.

Stir in the wine and stock, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot, and add the browned meat. The braising liquid should come about halfway up the sides of the meat. If it doesn't, add more liquid until it does. Raise the heat and bring to a boil; then lower it so that the mixture barely bubbles. Cover the pot and transfer it to the oven. Cook, stirring every 45 minutes and adding liquid to keep the meat half submerged, until the meat begins to get tender, at least 1 1/2 hours and more likely more than 2 hours.

Now begin to check the meat every 15 minutes or so, adding a spoonful more liquid only if the pot looks too dry. The braise is done when the meat is very tender and almost falling apart, at least another 30 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning, garnish with the parsley, and serve.

Serving Size

Makes 4 servings

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