2 Spanish onions, chopped
3 medium carrots, chopped
4 celery sticks, chopped
2 fresh bay leaves
1 or 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
4 or 5 juniper berries
1 kg (2 Ib 3 oz) stewing beef
1 bottle Barolo, Barbera or another good dry red wine
50 g (2 oz) unsalted butter
4 tablespoons virgin olive oil
half a cup (4 fl oz) dry Marsala
2 tablespoons plain flour
1) Put all the vegetables and spices in a bowl, add the beef and cover it with the wine. Let stand in fridge overnight, or a minimum of 10 hours.
2) In a heavy-based saucepan large enough to hold the beef and wine, melt half the butter with all the oil. Take the beef out of the marinade and brown it on all sides in the hot pan. Using a slotted spoon, take out all the vegetables from the wine and add them to the beef, stirring them around until they color a bit.
3) Now add the wine to the pan, turn the heat down and cover with a lid. Cook for about 2 hours, stirring occasionally and turning the beef.
4) Pour the Marsala into the stuffato (the stew), and let cook just a few more minutes. Take the beef out of the pan and put it on a carving board.
5) Put the wine and vegetables in a blender or a food mill, discarding the bay leaves and juniper berries. Blend. Put the remaining butter in the saucepan, let it melt, add the flour and cook for a few minutes, being careful not to brown the mixture, then add the wine and vegetable mix and cook for a bit longer until the sauce thickens just a little.
6) Slice the meat, put it on a serving plate and pour over the very hot wine sauce. You can serve the stuffato with polenta, the traditional way, or if you prefer, mashed potatoes.
This wonderful braised beef recipe is not one of mine. It is from perhaps the most beautiful of all books on Piedmont - Autumn in Piemonte.
The author, Manuela Darling-Gansser, is both poet and chef, brilliantly evoking atmosphere and sharing great recipes from Piedmont, peoples, places and food. Wonderful photos help make this the perfect coffee table book.
Recipes from Piedmont
Brasato al Barolo