Beef Braised in Two Buck Chuck

After mentioning this dish in passing in the “what to drink” article, I realized that it was worth sharing the recipe. It is based loosely on one of Mario Batali’s. My version is a little bolder, and about 350% cheaper. Start with 2 pounds of beef brisket (you can also use a large chuck roast or similar cut). Salt and pepper it, and brown it on all sides in a large stockpot with 6 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil. This will take you about 10 minutes, including time for turning. Set it aside.

Drain most of the liquid and then add one chopped carrot, one chopped onion, one chopped celery stalk, and about a quarter-pound of bacon, diced. Sweat those until they start to get soft. Pour in a bottle of Two Buck Chuck or some similarly cheap-but-drinky wine, and add 2 cups of simple tomato sauce (homemade is best, but the world won’t end if you use canned. We’re going to cook this into oblivion). Bring the concoction to a boil. Put the meat back in, lower the heat until just simmering, and cook until the meat starts falling apart – about 3 hours, but you can use your judgment. Since this is wet cooking, don’t worry about overcooking the meat.

When you’ve decided it’s done, remove the meat from the stockpot, raise the heat, and reduce the liquid until it reaches a consistency you like. Slice the meat, spoon the sauce over it, and serve.

Easy, delicious, and the leftovers will last for a few days if you keep your guests from devouring it all.