The Italians call this a Brasato, the Portuguese a Refogado de Carne and here we would probably call it a Pot Roast.
Whatever it is called, I had huge fun making it and the result was utterly delicious.
What you’ll need for 6 people is…
I piece topside of beef about 2.5kg in weight, your butcher should tie it up for you to keep its shape will it is braising
Oryx Dessert Salt and freshly ground black pepper
80ml Willow Creek extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbs butter
2 carrots, cut into tiny dice
2 sticks celery, cut into tiny dice
2 large onions, cut into tiny dice
4 large cloves garlic, mashed
80ml KWV 3 year old Brandy
1 bottle 750ml hearty red wine, a Pinotage or a Shiraz
2 large sprigs of thyme
2 bay leaves
2 sachets of Woolworths liquid beef stock
Kneaded butter – equal quantities in weight of butter and flour well mixed to a paste.
What you’ll do…
Preset the oven on 180C. Allow the meat to come to room temperature. Dry the piece of beef with a paper towel. Season it well on all sides with the salt and pepper and allow to stand for about 30 minutes. Score the fat on the topside.
In a large enamelled cast iron Le Creuset casserole heat the olive oil over medium heat. When ready, brown the beef on all four sides, watching the heat and turning down if necessary, and remove to a plate. Add the butter, allow it to foam up and add the onions and sauté until they are soft and starting to turn colour. Add the carrots and celery and allow to sauté for a while. Add the garlic and stir fry for a short while. Return the meat and its juices to the casserole. Pour over the brandy and set it alight – allow all the alcohol to burn off. Pour in the wine, bring to the boil and boil for a short while to evaporate the alcohol. Season well, add the thyme sprigs, put on the lid and braise in the oven for 30 minutes.
Lower the temperature to 160C and braise for a further hour. Remove the meat, place on a plate and cover with aluminium foil to allow it to rest. Now add the stock sachets and start reducing the liquid in the pan until it has reached the strength of flavour you like. Check seasoning, re-season if necessary, and then whisk in little nuts of the kneaded butter until the sauce is of the required thickness. Boil a while to cook the flour through. Take out the thyme sprigs and the bay leaves. Remove the string from the beef, cut into thin slices and place in the sauce. Heat through gently and serve.
Excellent with steamed Basmati Rice or soft polenta.
Michael’s wine recommendation – CLICK HERE