Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Stracotto with Garlic and Pancetta

This is another recipe that can be blamed solely on impulsively bought meat. It's such a bad habit and at the same time has such delicious results that I don't think I'll be stopping any time soon. The sauce on this dish is incredible and worth every bit of extra work straining and shredding the pancetta. This is a perfect winter meal. The author suggests serving it with polenta. I served potatoes, but think polenta would be an even better vehicle for soaking up every last bit of sauce. This dish does require some planning ahead as it needs to marinate before braising.

One year ago: Christmas Macarons
Two years ago: Cream of Tomato Soup

Stracotto with Garlic and Pancetta (from All About Braising)

1.6 - 1.8kg boneless beef chuck roast or 1.8 - 2kg bone-in beef chuck roast
coarse salt
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 celery stalks, coarsely chopped
2 medium yellow onions, coarsely chopped
1 medium carrot, coarsely chopped
1 head garlic, cut crosswise in half
2 bay leaves
2 3" rosemary sprigs
1/2 tsp black peppercorns
one 750mL bottle fruity, dry red wine (Chianti)
aromatics and braising liquid
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup grappa or brandy
1 cup beef or veal stock
225g pancetta (preferably in one piece, but sliced works)
freshly ground black pepper

1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add celery, onion, and carrot and saute until vegetables are slightly brown, about 8 minutes.
2. Add garlic, bay leaves, rosemary, and peppercorns. Add wine and bring to a boil.
3. Simmer for 5 minutes and set aside to cool to room temperature.
4. Tie meat with kitchen string and season with 1 tsp of salt. Slide into a zip-log bag and pour in cooled marinade. Refrigerate for 24 - 36 hours, turning once or twice.
5. Heat oven to 300F.
6. Remove meat from marinade, reserving marinade. Drain and pat dry with paper towels.
7. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add meat and sear on all sides, 15 - 20 minutes total. Transfer to a 3 - 4 qt Dutch oven.
8. Pour most of the fat from the skillet and discard. Return skillet to medium-high heat and pour in grappa.
9. Bring to a boil and scrape pan. Continue to boil until reduced to 2 tbsp, 3 - 4 minutes.
10. Strain marinade into skillet, reserving vegetables, and bring to a boil. Boil until reduced to 1 cup, about 15 minutes.
11. Add stock and boil again to reduce down by half, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat.
12. Tuck pancetta under roast in Dutch oven. Scatter reserved vegetables over top and push some under the roast.
13. Pour braising liquid oven top of roast. Cover with a sheet of parchment paper and then with the lid. Slide pot into lower third of oven.
14. Cook until roast is fork-tender, 2.5 - 3 hours, turning once halfway.
15. Lift beef from braising liquid and transfer to a shallow platter.
16. Strain braising liquid into a saucepan, reserving the pancetta and garlic and discarding remaining aromatics. Skim off fat from liquid and bring to a boil.
17. Simmer for 10 minutes to give sauce body and concentrate flavour.
18. Squeeze garlic from cloves into a small bowl and smash to a paste.
19. Tear pancetta into small shreds and add to simmering sauce.
20. Snip strings from roast. Carve into 1/2" thick slices. Spoon sauce onto each serving and top with a small spoonful of garlic paste.

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