Few meals are as hearty as slow-cooked beef smothered in a red wine sauce. For this recipe, we used a bottle of cabernet sauvignon, given its powerful flavor that is able to withstand 3 hours in the Crock-Pot. If you’re willing to part with a bottle of Barolo, it is the ideal wine for this recipe. However, since Barolo starts at around $30/bottle, most of us would rather use a cheap but potent cabernet.
3 ½ pounds boneless chuck roast
1 bottle cabernet sauvignon
2 large tomatoes, chopped
2 medium onions, coarsely chopped
2 medium carrots cut into ¼-inch thick slices
3 medium celery stalks cut into ¼-inch thick slices
5 cloves garlic, chopped
Parsley, rosemary and thyme – 1 tsp each dry, or ½ cup fresh parsley, 1 tbsp fresh rosemary and 1 tbsp fresh thyme
Salt & pepper, to taste
- Divide the roast into two fairly equal pieces by splitting down the center, using the seam of fat as a guide. Trim the excess fat, leaving a thin layer above the meat. Pat the meat dry with paper towels and coat generously with salt and pepper.
- Brown the meat in a large nonstick skillet over high heat in 1 tbsp olive oil. Remove the browned roast, leaving the juices and oil behind, and reduce heat to medium. Sauté the garlic, onions, carrots, and celery together with the tomato paste. Add the wine, tomatoes, rosemary, thyme, and parsley. Increase heat to high and bring mixture to a boil. Occasionally whisking, boil for about 15 minutes, or until the vegetables break down and the sauce thickens and reduces to about 3 ½ cups. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Transfer the meat and the sauce to a Crock-Pot, cooking covered on high for 3 hours, turning the meat with tongs every 45 minutes.
- After the roast is cooked, transfer it to a cutting board and let it sit for about 5 minutes. Cut the meat into ½-inch slices, and served in deep plates with sauce poured over the sliced beef.
Makes 4 servings.
For extra tenderness and juiciness, allow the beef to cool slightly on the cutting board, and cut it against the grain in long, diagonal pieces.
Archaeologists have demonstrated that cattle were domesticated as early as 9500 years ago in the marginal environments of the Sahara. This is a very early date, and it is particularly interesting when compared to the date of the first domesticated African plants, after 4000 years ago. Fiona Marshall of Washington University concludes that people during this time herded cattle because it provided a predictable resource suitable for a highly mobile lifestyle. There was just too much risk involved in trying to cultivate in arid conditions. So every time we have a nice helping of beef, we can thank the folks in the Sahara who nearly 10,000 years ago figured out a way to produce food that carries itself around.
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