I’ll admit to you right now that I love the cliché of curling up with a good book on a chilly night. But I do sometimes wish that, instead of a book, it could be a big bowlful of braised beef.
My recipe for red wine braised beef really is the pinnacle of effortless comfort food.
And when you’re dealing with a stressful, mentally draining chapter of your own life, do you honestly want to waste what remaining little brain power you are desperately clinging onto by reading a heavily dramatic book filled with crazy plot twists and tiny text?
Leave that bookmark exactly where it is.
Cooking this recipe is your excuse to stay inside on a cold fall or winter night, open up a bottle of wine, and quell the complex thinking until it’s reduced to a bare minimum – or to complete nonexistence.
Every step of the cooking process is simple and easy – this hearty dinner made at home won’t add on to that mountain of stress you’ve been climbing recently!
The entire recipe is cooked in just one large pot, from the first step of searing the beef to finishing it in the oven.
After quickly browning freshly sliced and seasoned chunks of chuck roast, you caramelize the onions and garlic. After that, you gently cook tomato paste and a little flour in the onion mixture before whisking in your red wine and beef stock.
Oh, and if you haven’t considered this already, let me give you a friendly reminder that there’s still a generous single serving of wine left over in the bottle to pour yourself a glass as you cook!
Once the liquid comes to a boil, let the seared beef and a bouquet of fresh thyme snuggle up to each other in the hot liquid. Put the lid on, transfer the whole pot to the oven, and slowly braise for about 3 hours.
During this time, the meat will become juicy and fork-tender, and the liquid will thicken as it’s infused with all the flavors from the rich and aromatic ingredients.
While they’re hard at work sweating away in a hot oven to become your beautifully braised entree, there is nothing more required from you, other than to continue sipping on that glass of red wine. Check when it’s done, and serve yourself a big bowl!
And if other human company isn’t part of the stay-at-home agenda this evening, the amazing leftovers will be all yours to enjoy for the next couple relaxing nights of dining at home.
Your book can wait a few more days.Print
The perfect excuse to open up a bottle of wine, our recipe for red wine braised beef is a flavorful and hearty entree that is easy to cook.
- 2 1/2–3 pounds boneless chuck roast, cut into 3-inch pieces
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 tablespoon coarse kosher salt, divided
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper, divided
- 2 small white onions (about 1 pound), roughly chopped
- 6 large cloves garlic, roughly chopped
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 2 cups dry red wine
- 1 cup beef stock
- 8 sprigs fresh thyme
- Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 325°F.
- Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons oil in a large, oven-safe pot over medium-high heat. Evenly sprinkle the chuck pieces with 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Working in two batches, sear the beef until browned, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a platter and set aside.
- Lower the heat to medium and immediately add the onion and garlic, as well as the remaining oil, salt, and pepper. Saute, stirring constantly with a sturdy spoon or spatula, until lightly caramelized, about 5 minutes. If the onion is sticking and browning too quickly, add about 1 tablespoon of water and stir.
- Stir in the tomato paste until evenly distributed. Sprinkle the flour evenly over the onions and stir constantly until completely combined, about 2 to 3 minutes.
- Whisk in the red wine to deglaze the pan while scraping up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Whisk in the beef stock and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Turn off the heat and place the chuck back into the pot in a single layer. Tie the sprigs of thyme together with kitchen twine and tuck in between the chuck pieces in the liquid.
- Place a lid on the pot and transfer to the oven. Braise for about 3 hours, or until the chuck pieces are very tender. Remove from the oven, discard the thyme, and serve hot.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 3 hours, 20 minutes
- Category: Beef
- Method: Braising
- Cuisine: Italian
Keywords: red wine, braised, beef, chuck
Cooking by the Numbers…
Step 1 – Prep
Put an oven rack in the middle position and preheat your oven to 325°F. Braising the meat in the very center of your oven will ensure the most even cooking.
Set out an oven-safe pot and tight-fitting lid or a Dutch oven. Use at least a 6-quart size, preferably with a wide base. You’ll also need a small piece of kitchen twine, a chef’s knife, a sturdy cutting board, tongs, and a sturdy spoon.
Measure out the olive oil, tomato paste, flour, red wine, and beef stock – homemade is best for this! Freshly crack and measure the salt and pepper. Use the kitchen twine to tie 8 sprigs of fresh thyme together in a bundle.
For the wine, use a robust, dry red that will pair well with beef. Since the wine is a main component in the dish, also be sure to choose a wine that you enjoy drinking.
To complement this Italian-themed recipe, choose Italian grape varietals such as Sangiovese or Montepulciano. This 2021 Cala De’ Poeti Sangiovese or this 2021 La Scelta Personale Montepulciano d’Abruzzo from Wine Insiders would both be ideal choices that pair well with the savory flavors of the dish.
You can also choose your favorite merlot for this recipe.
Roughly chop 2 medium onions and 6 cloves of garlic. Don’t get too technical with chopping! This is a rustic dish, and the onions and garlic will cook down so much that they will become incredibly soft, nearly melting into the liquid – so pristine cuts are not a requirement here!
Before slicing, remove any excess moisture from the chuck roast by patting it dry with paper towels. With a sharp knife and sturdy cutting board, slice the meat into chunky, 3-inch pieces. These will shrink a bit as they cook.
Step 2 – Season and Sear Beef
Heat about 1 1/2 tablespoons of oil in your pot over medium-high heat until smoking. Reserve the remaining oil for sauteing the onions and garlic.
If using an enameled Dutch oven, gradually raise the heat level on the stovetop – this will prevent the finish from potentially cracking.
While the oil is heating, season the chuck pieces by evenly sprinkling about 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon pepper over both the top and bottom sides. Gently press down on the seasonings with your fingers so they stick to the meat.
Working in two batches, sear the chuck until browned, for about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Use your tongs to keep a steady hold on each piece as you flip.
Adding the meat all at once in a single batch will result in steaming, eliminating the opportunity to get a browned, caramelized crust on the exterior. Avoid overcrowding the pan and be sure to add just half at a time.
Transfer the pieces to a large plate or platter and repeat with the remaining meat. Set the plate aside for now while you continue cooking in the next few steps.
Step 3 – Caramelize Onions and Garlic
Lower the heat to medium and immediately add the onions and garlic to the pot, as well as the remaining oil, salt, and pepper.
Saute, stirring constantly with a sturdy spoon or spatula, until softened and lightly caramelized. This should take about 5 minutes.
While we love allllllll the deliciously browned bits of meat leftover from searing, there is a potential risk of burning as you continue cooking!
If the fond on the bottom of the pot is getting too brown, add about one tablespoon of water and stir to deglaze. You can also lower the heat a little more as needed.
Step 4 – Stir in Tomato Paste and Flour
Add the tomato paste to the onion mixture and stir well, just until it’s evenly distributed.
Sprinkle the flour over the onions. Be sure to dust the flour lightly and evenly over the vegetables to prevent clumping. Stir constantly until completely combined with no white streaks left, for about 2 to 3 minutes.
Step 5 – Whisk in Wine and Stock
Pour the red wine into the pot, stirring constantly to deglaze the pan by scraping up any browned bits on the bottom. Add the beef stock, whisking constantly to distribute the vegetable mixture throughout the liquid.
As you continue whisking, bring the liquid to a boil. Immediately turn off the heat.
Step 6 – Return Beef to Pot and Braise
Using your tongs, gently place the chuck pieces back into the pot in a single layer, as well as any liquids that collected on the plate. The liquid in the pot should nearly cover the meat.
Nestle the bundle of thyme in between a few of the beef pieces in the liquid.
Cover the pot with the lid and transfer it to the oven.
Braise the chuck for about 3 hours, or until very tender.
Depending on the heat distribution, this may take less or more time in your pot and oven at home. Start checking the meat after 2 1/2 hours by piercing a piece with a fork – if the fork easily slides through, the meat is ready. If it’s still a little tough, continue cooking and check again in 30-minute increments.
Step 7 – Serve
Remove the pot from the oven, and let it sit for about 5 minutes with the lid off to cool just slightly. Dispose of the thyme bundle.
Serve in bowls, pouring some of the braising liquid over the beef. Serve while it’s still hot and steamy!
Choose the Right Side
While certainly not a requirement, there are particular side dishes that are destined to be soulmates with succulent pieces of braised meat.
Your responsibility as home cook extraordinaire is to be the strategic matchmaker – you are the one to help oversee the most beautiful union!
When served with a large ladleful of braising liquid in a bowl, the best side dishes act as a base that can capture and soak in the pool of savory sauce.
Creamy, carb-based dishes are undoubtedly the top winners here. Nothing in this tasty world would make red wine braised beef any happier than to be paired with a dollop of mashed potatoes or creamy polenta.
And what’s a happy couple without a third wheel to tag along for fun? As a welcome contrast to the ultra-savory contents of each bowlful, a fresh vegetable side dish does wonders to complete the meal.
What will be your winning combo of sides? Is there a favorite wine you already have in mind to use as a braising base? I’m here to gobble up all of your delish ideas the next time I make this recipe for dinner – leave a comment below!
And if you won’t be polishing off the rest of that red wine while you chill before dinner, you can use it in another recipe. For more ideas that feature a robust red, make these recipes next:
Photos by Nikki Cervone, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published on November 17, 2014. Last updated on Saturday, October 29, 2022.
Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.
About Nikki Cervone
Nikki Cervone is an ACS Certified Cheese Professional and cheesemonger living in Pittsburgh. Nikki holds an AAS in baking/pastry from Westmoreland County Community College, a BA in Communications from Duquesne University, and an MLA in Gastronomy from Boston University. When she's not nibbling on her favorite cheeses or testing a batch of cupcakes, Nikki enjoys a healthy dose of yoga, wine, hiking, singing in the shower, and chocolate. Lots of chocolate.