I’ve been sitting on this recipe since last week–not because it wasn’t great but more because I just plain ran out of energy to deal with it. But I just served my mom the leftovers from it and she loved it and requested the recipe (and later professed ot be quite surprised as she was certain she would not like it). And it really was fantastic.
This is another entry in the list of braised meats with a twist that I make to keep me, the braise-lover, and John, the braise-disliker but international food lover, happy. And he did love it, sprinkled with hot chile pepper flakes. I found this one in Gourmet Today, which continues to be a fantastic source. Although as usual I could not resist fiddling.
1-2 T Greek extra virgin olive oil (can sub non-Greek)
1 medium-large onion, chopped
2 T red wine vinegar
6-8 cloves garlic, minced
3 T double strength (tube) tomato paste, or 1 6 oz can
2 t ground cumin
1 t cassia cinnamon
1 t Turkish (or Greek) oregano
3/4 cup white wine
1/4 cup red wine vinegar (in addition to above)
1 cup beef stock, optional
1 bay leaf
3 lbs braising cut of beef–use a little more for bone-in, use around 4-5 lbs for short ribs (which I feel have less meat but great flavor–I actually used 2 short ribs and a 2.5 lbs bone-in chuck)
3 medium-large onions, sliced
4 medium-large baking potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks
salt and pepper to taste
For garnish (all important to final taste):
1/4 cup chopped parsley (I was out of the first night so I used green onion, which is in the pics, but parsley is better)
Preheat the oven to 250 F. Rub salt and pepper into the meat, on all sides.
Heat the oil in a large (7-8 qt) Dutch oven or braising pan over medium high heat. Add the beef and sear it brown in batches, about 5 minutes per side. Remove the heat and add the chopped onions with a pinch of salt. Brown the onions, stirring occasionally to prevent browning. Near the end, when they start to stick, add the 2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar to deglaze the pan. When they are browned, about 10 minutes, add the garlic, another pinch of salt, tomato paste and spices (rub the oregano between your hands and crumble it into the pot). Stir, roasting the spices and distributing the tomato paste, for 1-2 minutes. Add the white wine and red wine vinegar and bring to a boil. Be sure to scrape the bottom of the pan, using the liquid to deglaze any tasty bits stuck there. Add the beef stock as well if you want the final dish to be more stew-like.
Add the beef back into the pot. Be sure to stir it or move it around a bit, to get it thoroughly into the liquid. Add the bay leaf. Cover the pot with parchment paper, pressing it down low so that it barely touches the beef. Cover this with a heavy lid or tightly fitting foil. Place it in the oven for 2 hours.
In the meantime, prepare the potatoes and place them in cold water. Also slice the remaining onions. After the 2 hours is up, remove the Dutch oven. Add the potatoes (after draining them) and flip the beef over–you want the beef flipped and you also want the potatoes on the bottom. Sprinkle the sliced onions all over the beef. Replace the parchment paper and lid and place it back in the oven for another 2 hours.
15 minutes before serving, increase the heat to 325 F to make sure the onions and potatoes cook. After removing from the oven, mix the parsley into the braise. Taste for salt and pepper–remembering that the feta will be salty. Serve each person beef, potatoes and sauce. Sprinkle generously with chopped walnuts and crumbled feta cheese.