If you’ve hesitated to try grass-fed beef because you’ve heard it’s tough, you might reconsider. Just be sure to braise it. “Low and slow” are the watchwords for grass-fed beef, such as the roast I got from my friends’ cattle. And braising is a nice way to cook on a chilly, rainy day.
Can you say comfort food? Your braised beef will fill the house with a lovely fragrance, provide moist warmth for rising if you want to bake bread too, and it warm you from the inside out.
Here’s a simple preparation that’s wonderfully flavorful. And there’s a bonus: a way to use turnips that doesn’t make me turn up my nose!
Braised grass-fed beef with vegetables
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 beef chuck roast, about 3 pounds
- Salt & pepper
- 1-2 cloves garlic, peeled and trimmed
- 1/2 onion, trimmed
- 1 carrot, peeled and sliced
- 1 celery rib or 1/8 teaspoon celery seed
- 2 cups dry red wine
- 3 sprigs parsley
- 5 sprigs thyme, or 1/2 teaspoon dry
- 1 bay leaf
- 4 small new potatoes (about 1 1/2 inches in diameter)
- 4 small white turnips, trimmed (you can cook the greens, too, if you want)
- Heat oil in heavy pot over medium-high heat. (I like enameled cast iron, and the pot should be only a little bigger than the beef.) Dry beef and generously sprinkle with salt and pepper. When oil is very hot, sear beef on all sides, 2-3 minutes a side. Expect some spatter!
- Set pan off heat and spoon off fat. Return pot to heat, and add garlic, onion, carrot and wine, then add enough water so that the liquid comes at least half way up the side of the beef. Add parsley, thyme and bay leaf. Cover.
- Bring liquid to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, about an hour. Turn beef over and simmer 1 1/2 hours.
- Add potatoes and turnips. Simmer 30 minutes more, or until vegetables and beef are very tender. Let beef sit 15 minutes or so before serving.
At this stage, you can call it done and serve the beef and vegetables however you like. Here’s what I recommend to make the most of it. First, you make a nice vegetable mash.
- Transfer meat to serving tray or cutting board.
- Pour the rest through strainer into fat separator. (I guess you can tell I love that thing!)
- Remove herbs from the strainer, then transfer carrots, potatoes and turnips to a bowl, and mash with a little bit of the broth for added flavor. Check and adjust seasonings, and serve. (As you can see, I also cooked some tender green beans from Rolling Prairie on the side.)
For a double bonus: Return the broth to the pan, minus the fat, and use it, with some added water and any leftover beef, as the basis for a really rich and flavorful vegetable beef soup. Just add your favorite vegetables and maybe a few noodles, and cook till tender. Double yum.
Now, how’s that for comfort food?