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Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Feel the Braise

As many of my loyal readers (and maybe even some of my not so loyal readers) know,  I am a big fan of braising.  Especially in the winter.  And given that this winter is shaping up to be pretty awful, I'm feeling the braise more often than usual.  Honestly, grilled fish just isn't going to do it for me when it's -5 outside.  Even if it's a hearty fish.

Yesterday as I suited up to go to the grocery store, it occurred to me that I should at least attempt to make a list.  In making said list, I had to give a little thought to what we would have for dinner.  Enter the braise.  Yes, something braised would be perfect.

Over the holidays I picked up The New Slow Cooker cookbook and I hadn't made anything out of it yet.  Why not make tonight the night?

Figuring out what to make was harder than I thought it would be.  There were so many appealing options to choose from.  After narrowing it down, I settled on this Beef with Endive and Sun-Dried Tomatoes recipe because (1) it sounded really good; and (2) I knew I would be able to get everything I needed at my local grocery store.
Make sure to brown the meat well.  It'll leave lots of nice little brown bits in the pan...
which will  make for a pick braising liquid.
At this point, I was svitzing (sweating) because I had on a coat, scarf, etc. and I was in the house.  Note to self: Next time make the list before putting on the winter gear.

Now I'm going to tell you how easy this recipe was to make (which it was).  And next I'm going to tell you that it was delicious (which it was).  Ted loved it.  In fact, he raved.  In my house this is a big deal.  This is because to say Ted is a little spoiled by what's put on the table in front of him every night would be an understatement of epic proportions.   And, in any case, he does not rave all that often.

I served this with simple boiled white potatoes with a little butter, salt, and parsley.

The perfect dinner for a cold winter night.

Recipe:  Beef with Endive and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Adapted from The New Slow Cooker, by Brigit Binns (Weldon Owen, 2013).


3 lbs beef bottom round, trimmed of most fat and cut into large chunks
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
5 Tbs olive oil
6 garlic cloves, smashed
1 1/3 cups beef stock
1/4 cup white wine
3 fresh thyme sprigs
3 bay leaves
2 tsp Dijon mustard
2 Tbs sherry vinegar
2 Tbs walnut oil
2 large heads Belgian endive, cored and sliced
1/2 cup green olives, pitted and chopped
1/2 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, sliced
Grated zest of 1 lemon
2 Tbs chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley


Season the beef generously all over with salt and pepper. In a large fry pan over medium-high heat, warm 2 Tbs of the olive oil. When the oil is hot, working in batches if necessary to avoid crowding, add the beef and sear until browned on all sides, about 8 minutes total. Using a slotted spoon transfer the beef to the slow cooker.

Pour off most of the fat from the pan and return to medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.

Pour in the beef stock and wine and stir to dislodge any browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Add the thyme springs and bay leaves and transfer the contents of the pan to the slow cooker. Cover and cook on low according to the manufacturer’s instruction for 5 to 6 hours. The beef should be tender and moist.

Just before the beef is ready, in a bowl, whisk together the mustard, vinegar, walnut oil, the remaining 3 Tbs olive oil, the 1.4 tsp salt and a pinch of freshly ground pepper. Add the endive, olives, tomatoes, lemon zest and parsley and toss to mix thoroughly.

Shred the beef using two forks. Transfer to individual plates or a serving platter. Moisten the beef with a little bit of braising liquid, if desired. Top the shredded beef with the endive salad mixture. Serve immediately. Serves 4 to 6.

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