If you’ve ever wanted something substantially beefy for dinner that will feed 6 people; that requires almost no effort to assemble and is something you could stick in the oven and forget about for 4 hours, then this is it.
And your kitchen will smell divine – perfect on a blustery fall day when you’ve arrived home after a long hike.
There are only three ingredients in this recipe; one chuck roast, a head of garlic and a large can of chopped tomatoes…..seasoning with sea salt and black pepper is a given and a sprig of fresh thyme is optional.
You don’t even need to peel the garlic. The garlic cloves remain intact and become soft, sweet and easy to slip out of their skins as you come across them on your plate. Don’t be tempted to used ready peeled garlic in a jar; they’ll completely disintegrate and you won’t have the option to eat or not eat each fragrant clove.
Serve this with orzo pasta and a green vegetable, or my personal favorite – potatoes that you’ve mashed (yes, a bit of effort required here) with the addition of some porcini mushroom powder and a generous amount of butter and hot milk.
Porcini powder is easy to make and adds a wonderful wild mushroomy quality to anything that you think needs it such as gravy, scrambled eggs, sauces or soups.
If you’re a personal friend of mine, you’ll know I have my own stash of dried porcini that I gathered myself on foraging expeditions; otherwise you can buy little packets of dried porcini mushrooms from the supermarket – simply grind them to a powder in a coffee grinder and store the powder in an airtight glass jar.
BRAISED BEEF with GARLIC & TOMATOES
A 3.5lb (1.6 kilo) boneless beef chuck roast (not too lean or it may become dry)
1 large head of garlic, cloves separated, unpeeled
1 x 28 oz (800g) can of chopped or crushed tomatoes
Sea salt, freshly ground black pepper
A sprig of fresh thyme (optional)
Pre-heat the oven to 300F (150C)
Place the beef in a 4-5 quart (4.5-6ltr) heavy casserole (aka dutch oven) with a lid
Pour over the chopped tomatoes and all the juices and scatter the garlic around it. Tuck in a sprig of thyme if using and season well with sea salt and black pepper.
Braise, covered, in the middle of the oven for 4 hrs or until very tender. It may take 4.5 hrs. Stab it with a fork to make sure the meat is falling apart.
Slice the beef as best you can and serve it smothered with the sauce and garlic.