This recipe is the ticket to braising your protein of choice—beef short ribs, blade steak, veal cheeks or shin, lamb shoulder or shanks, duck or chicken legs, country-style pork ribs or shoulder butt—you get the idea. And there are a whole slew of optional accompaniments: mashed potatoes, polenta, crusty bread, buttered egg noodles, spätzle, gnocchi, risotto etc. Though, these sides should to be served separately and not together.
The recipe also calls for 500 mL red wine—make sure that upon opening the bottle, you pour yourself a big glass. Drinking red wine is key when eating braised meat (and when cooking it, for that matter), so be sure not to omit this crucial step.
1 kg meat of choice
1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
1 rib of celery, chopped
4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
150 mL tomato paste
½ tsp fennel seeds
1 bay leaf
½ cinnamon stick
1 tsp paprika
500 mL red wine
250 mL canned tomatoes, crushed
½ bunch flat leaf parsley, chopped
+ zest of one lemon
+ salt and pepper to taste
+ olive oil for searing meat
01. Preheat the oven to 300˚F.
02. Heat a little olive oil in a pan, season meat with salt and pepper, and sear until golden brown. Reserve.
03. In a casserole or Dutch oven, heat a little more of the olive oil, then add the carrot, onion, celery and garlic. Cook over medium heat until lightly coloured.
04. Add the tomato paste and spices, and cook for a further two minutes.
05. Add the wine to the vegetable and spice mixture. Add the tomatoes, chopped parsley, and lemon zest, and bring to a gentle boil.
06. Add the reserved meat and any accumulated juices, season with salt and pepper, cover with a lid, and place in the oven for three hours.
Note: The liquid should not quite cover the meat. Feel free to top up with a little water if necessary. Check halfway through the cooking time to see if the liquid levels are adequate. There should be some evaporation and thickening taking place, but not excessively. Remove the lid for the last half-hour of your braising. If your meat is not fork-tender after three hours, cook for longer!
07. Serve with your choice of side and enjoy with a glass of red wine.