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Italian Beef Pot Roast

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Serves: 6
1.8kg / 4 lb brisket of beef
225g / 8 oz small onions, peeled
3 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
2 celery sticks, trimmed and chopped
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
450g / 1 lb ripe tomatoes
300ml / 1/2 pint Italian red wine
2 tbsp olive oil
300ml / 1/2 pint beef stock
1 tbsp tomato puree
2 tsp freeze-dried mixed herbs
salt and freshly ground black pepper
25g / 1 oz butter
25g / 1 oz plain flour
freshly cooked vegetables, to serve

Preheat oven to 150ºC / 300ºF / Gas Mark 2, 10 minutes before cooking. Place the beef in a bowl. Add the onions, garlic, celery and carrots. Place the tomatoes in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Allow to stand for 2 minutes and drain. Peel away the skins, discard the seeds and chop, then add to the bowl with the red wine. Cover tightly and marinate in the refrigerator overnight.

Lift the marinated beef from the bowl and pat dry with absorbent kitchen paper. Heat the olive oil in a large casserole and cook the beef until it is browned all over, then remove from the dish. Drain the vegetables from the marinade, reserving the marinade. Add the vegetables to the casserole and fry gently for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until all the vegetables are browned.

Return the beef to the casserole with the marinade, beef stock, tomato puree and mixed herbs and season with salt and pepper. Bring to the boil, then cover and cook in the preheated oven for 3 hours.

Using a slotted spoon transfer the beef and any large vegetables to a plate and leave in a warm place. Blend the butter and flour to form a paste. Bring the casserole juices to the boil and then gradually stir in small spoonfuls of the paste. Cook until thickened. Serve with the sauce and a selection of vegetables.

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