Red wine-braised beef has always been my favorite comfort food meal. I can’t remember the first time I had it, but now it’s the first thing I make when the temperatures start to dip. I always serve it over my creamy creme fraiche mashed potatoes with lots of fresh chives on top. The perfect, impressive recipe for dinner parties or just casual dinner.
What is ‘braising’?
Braising is a combination cooking technique that features both wet and dry heat. First, you sear the beef in the pan for flavor and color and then you add liquid to the pot and transfer the covered pot to the oven. In the oven, the beef cooks slowly at a lower temperature. The resulting meat is exceedingly tender. Braising is particularly effective for tough cuts of meat (brisket, chuck, pork shoulder, etc). Cooking tough meats low and slow in liquid allows the muscle tissue and collagen to slowly break down. Any liquid can be used to braise, but the wine really adds that extra depth of flavor!
How to make red wine-braised beef
This recipe doesn’t require any fancy tools or ingredients, just good quality ingredients and time.
Ingredients you’ll need
- Beef Chuck. Opt for a large piece with great marbling.
- Vegetables. I used a mix of onion, leeks, carrots, and garlic but you could also add celery and mushrooms.
- Red Wine. Choose a bold red wine that you’d enjoy drinking–I found a great, full-bodied merlot from the pacific northwest. Barolo, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Syrah would all also be great options.
- Beef stock. For best results, definitely use homemade here. Alternately, try to find the real beef stock (not the boxed stuff) in the freezer section of some well-stocked grocery stores.
- Herbs. Bay leaves and fresh thyme really take this braised beef to the next level.
How to prepare red wine-braised beef
This is such a great recipe to pull out of your back pocket because it only requires about 15 minutes to prep the whole dish. The rest of the time is in the oven, leaving you plenty of time to run errands or relax.
- Cube your beef. You want the pieces to be at least 3-4 inch pieces. Too small and the beef will fall apart into the sauce.
- Season everything. Pat your beef really dry (helps with browning). These are thick pieces of beef so season all sides really well with salt and pepper.
- Sear the beef. This is a crucial step! Sear the beef really well on all sides until deeply golden brown.
- Cook your veggies. After your beef is nice and browned, remove it from the pan and add in your onions, leeks, and garlic. Try and work up some of those browned bits in the pan as the veggies cook.
- Add your wine and stock. Once the veggies are softened, add the wine and beef stock and return the beef to the pan. Nestle the carrots in around the beef with the thyme sprigs and bay leaves. Bring everything to a simmer, cover, and transfer to the oven.
- Oven time! Braise for about 3 hours, until the beef is fork-tender. Remove from the oven and skim the layer of fat off the top. Cover and let the beef rest in the juices for at least 45 minutes. Gently re-warm on the stove and serve.
Best cuts for braising
I love using beef chuck because it’s affordable, easy to find, and full of flavor. Other great cuts for this recipe would be brisket or beef short ribs.
Try your hand at these other great braising recipes
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