Milanese Braised Beef

My Sunday cooking routine gets interrupted every Fall by the NFL.  I watch a lot of football with friends so unless I’m feeding the group I don’t have time to cook.  And I miss it.  Fortunately every year there’s a free week between the playoffs and the Super Bowl so I’ve started what I hope will become a tradition.  Yesterday was the First Annual No Football Sunday Dinner.  It’s an opportunity for me to get some friends together and feed them something a little nicer than football watching food.  This year I decided on a traditional Sunday dinner:  beef roast, mashed potatoes, green beans, glazed carrots, collards and homemade rolls.  It was a hit!

First I have to thank the lovely people at Greenway Beef for the amazing chuck roast that became the main course.  I know I’ve said this before, but really, if you have the opportunity to buy beef from Greenway please do.  The people are nice and the beef is terrific.  I decided that I wanted the beef to stand on it’s own so I chose a recipe other than the standard pot roast with potatoes and carrots cooked in the pot.  This beef is terrific and the accompanying gravy is also pretty great.  My proof is that 11 people ate pretty much the entire 5 pound roast.  Given the amount of other food on the table, that’s pretty good eating.

I followed the recipe as closely as I could.  Since my roast had a bone in it I couldn’t roll it up and tie it.  I actually prefer the bone-in roast because I think cooking meat on the bone adds to the flavor.  And since you cook this until you can cut it with a spoon, removing the meat from the bone is no problem. I couldn’t find fresh marjoram and I didn’t have any dried so I left it out.  I was pleased to find pancetta already diced so that made things a little easier.  My roast was about 3 inches thick so I made slits on both sides and filled them with pancetta and garlic.   I had to cut the roast into two pieces to make it fit flat in my 7-quart dutch oven and it filled the entire bottom.  Five pounds is a lot of roast!

The original recipe is for a three pound roast so I adjusted the amounts some, but I wasn’t very precise about it.  I also took 25 degrees off of the cooking temperature and added an hour to the cooking time.  The folks at Greenway recommend that you cook pasture-fed beef at a lower temp.  The time isn’t really that important.  In some ways, the longer the better probably.

Of course when you cook beef until you can cut it with a spoon it’s a little tricky getting it out of the pot.  I ended up using a pair of tongs in concert with a slotted spoon.  Of course you could just put a large colander over a large bowl and do it that way.  You have to strain the drippings to make the gravy anyway.  Once I strained the liquid I just added the onions back to the meat tray.  The original recipe calls for adding parsnips and carrots to the pot, but I had other plans for my vegetables so I skipped that.  I also didn’t turn the meat every 45 minutes. In fact only once in 4 hours. Didn’t hurt things a bit.

One piece of advice.  Use a good Chianti and a good beef broth.  The flavor intensifies as it cooks so make sure it’s a wine you’d be happy to drink and a broth you’d make soup with.

Good? So very, very good.
Easy? Yep.
Good for company? It would seem so.
Special shopping? Not really.

Remember that the recipe that follows reflects my adjustments. Click on the recipe title to see the original.

Milanese Braised Beef


5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt, divided
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 (5-pound) chuck roast, pasture-fed if possible
1 cup (1/4-inch) cubed pancetta (about 4 ounces)
3 garlic cloves, sliced
2 tablespoon canola oil
2 tablespoon butter
2 cups chopped onion
3 cups Chianti
2 cups fat-free, less-sodium beef broth
3 sprigs fresh basil
1 bay leaf


1. Preheat oven to 275°.

2. Combine flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, cinnamon, and cloves, stirring well. Make several small slits on outside of roast with a paring knife; stuff with pancetta and garlic slices. Roll roast; secure at 1-inch intervals with twine. Sprinkle roast with remaining salt and pepper. Coat surface of roast with flour mixture, patting with your hands so it adheres.

3. Heat oil and butter in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add roast to pan; cook 15 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Add onion to pan around roast; cook 5 minutes or until browned. Stir in wine and broth. Place basil and bay leaf on a double layer of cheesecloth. Gather edges of cloth together; tie securely. Add cheesecloth bag to pan; bring to a boil. Cover and bake at 275° for 4 hours or until roast is tender enough to cut with a spoon.

4. Transfer roast to a platter. Discard twine; keep beef warm. Strain wine mixture through a sieve into a large bowl; discard cheesecloth bag. Return wine mixture to pan; bring to a boil. Cook 10 minutes. Combine 1/4 cup water and cornstarch in small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add cornstarch mixture to pan, and bring to a boil. Cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Taste and adjust seasoning, if desired.


One Response to “Milanese Braised Beef”

  1. Brandy Says:

    Two thumbs up for First Annual No Football Sunday Dinner. YUM, YUM and YUM (except of course for no homemade butter)….there goes my invite for next year.

    Thanks Leanne! 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: