Hands up if you love braised beef! *Raises both hands way up in the air*
Braised beef is one of my favourite things to eat. In fact, if I ever see it on a restaurant menu, my choice is already made for me! Braised beef cheek, braised short rib, braised beef shoulder – give it allllll to me!!! But, if you’re anything like me, you might initially feel intimidated to attempt to make it at home.
However, making braised beef at home is surprisingly simple! You can do it with a slow-cooker or a French oven (which is an enamel-covered Dutch oven). Personally, I’m not a slow-cooker kind of girl. I prefer a good quality French oven any day. It’s the perfect kitchen tool for this because you can take it from the stove to the oven. Its heavy-duty lid allows for a tight seal and therefore, a constant, even, and multi-directional heat for what’s being cooked inside. The lid essentially traps all of the heat and moisture to create a mini oven inside of your oven!
You don’t have to do much prep at all. A quick season and sear of the meat, adding some aromatics, de-glazing, and then popping the beef in the oven to cook low and slow until the meat falls apart. What could be any more simple and yummy than that?
What Kind of Beef Should You Buy?
Before I jump into the recipe, it’s important to know what kind of beef to buy for this dish. If you are able to find organic, grass-fed beef, then that’s best (it will also be more expensive – just as a heads-up). Organic doesn’t necessarily mean grass-fed and vice-versa. So, speak to your butcher to ensure you understand how the cow was raised, treated, whether it was anti-biotic free, and what its diet consisted of. You should aim for about ½ a pound per person, when you’re buying.
Braising is a way of tenderizing meat, while partially submerged in liquid. So, in terms of the cut, you’re going to want a tougher (typically less expensive) cut, like chuck, brisket, short rib, or round – anything that is well-exercised and with a lot of connective tissue (i.e. collagen). This is best for braising because, as you cook low and slow, the connective tissue, which is normally what makes that cut tough, breaks down and becomes extremely tender. Mmmmm…..
I made some haricot verts, a simple celery root puree in my Vitamix, and fried cipollini onions to go with the braised beef. I love this dish so much that I also put together a little YouTube video showing you how to make it step-by-step. If you like the video, please make sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel!
Here is the full recipe.
Braised Beef with Celery Root Puree and Haricot Verts
- 2.5 lbs. beef chuck short rib or round will also work for this recipe
- 1/4 pound pancetta or bacon diced
- 1 medium or large onion (red, yellow or white is fine) chopped coarsely
- 2 large carrots chopped coarsely
- 2-3 stalks celery chopped coarsely
- 2 celery root chopped into even-sized cubes
- 10-15 cipollini onions
- 375 mL full or medium-bodied red wine Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon would work well
- 2 cups beef broth
- 1 cup whole milk
- 3 tbsp. salted butter at room temperature
- 1-2 tbsp. tomato paste
- kosher or sea salt
- black pepper
- 2 pinches white pepper
- all-purpose flour
- extra virgin olive oil
- 4-5 sprigs fresh thyme
- 4-5 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 3-4 dried bay leaves
- 2-3 handfuls haricot verts (green beans) washed
- To prepare the beef, after you've patted the meat dry, cut into large chunks and add to a large mixing bowl. Add a generous amount of salt, black pepper, and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. Dust lightly with all-purpose flour and mix with your hands.
- In a French oven on medium-high heat, sear the beef on all sides. Let sear for about 5-7 minutes on each side. Remove from French oven and put beef aside.
- Add diced bacon or pancetta to the French oven and cook for a few minutes until just under slightly brown.
- Add chopped onion, celery, and carrots. Cook for a few minutes, stirring frequently.
- De-glaze the bottom of the French oven with red wine. Use a full or medium-bodied red wine, suitable for drinking. Do not use cooking wine. Make sure to use a wooden spoon to get all of the bits at the bottom of the French oven.
- Add beef broth, tomato paste, sprigs of fresh thyme, rosemary, and bay leaves.
- Return beef to the French oven and cover. Add to oven pre-heated to 300°F and let cook for about 3-3 1/2 hours. There is no need to stir or turn the meat.
- To make the celery root puree, chop celery root into even-sized cubes. Wash with lukewarm water to get any dirt out.
- Bring celery root to a boil in a large pot. Reduce heat to medium, cover, and let cook until tender (about 20-25 minutes). Reserve some of the cooking liquid.
- Add celery root to your Vitamix, blender or food processor. Add salt and pepper to taste, a couple pinches of white pepper, butter, sprinkle with some fresh thyme and rosemary, and add whole milk. Puree until you've reached your desired consistency, adding some of the cooking liquid while pureeing, as needed.
- To make the haricot verts, simply wash, cut off the tops if you wish, and saute in olive oil with a little bit of salt, black pepper.
- Peel skin and outer layer of about 10 cipollini onions. When you have about 20-30 minutes left of cook time for your beef, add cipollini onions to French oven. You can cut the remaining cipollini onions into onion rings, batter and shallow fry them, to use as garnish for your beef.
- When the beef has finished braising, remove from the oven and let stand for about 10 minutes.
- To make a sauce or glaze, strain the braising liquid mixture from the French oven and add to a small sauce pot. Add 2 tbsp. of butter and cook on high heat until thickened. You'll want to reduce by at least half (or even more, for a glaze).
- To serve, add celery root puree, beef and haricot verts to a plate. Top beef with sauce and cipollini onions. Serve and enjoy!