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Red Wine Braised Beef: the Recipe for the Classic and Juicy Traditional Italian Main Course

Total time: 3.5 hours / 12 hours rest
Difficulty: Low
Serves: 4 people
By Cookist

Red wine braised beef is a typical, classic main course of the Italian tradition and, in particular of Piedmontese cuisine: a succulent piece of meat, which is braised during a very slow-cooking with red wine, herbs and spices. The word "braised", in fact, derives from the Piedmontese "brasi", "ash" or "braci", in reference to cooking on the grill, different from that one on the "stufa" of the stew, which can also be of fish or vegetables. The result is a very tender, juicy and melt-in-your-mouth meat, perfect to serve for Sunday lunch.

To prepare the Barolo braised meat we chose the cappella del prete, a cut of beef which, having the right amount of fat, does not need to be larded. Alternatively, you can opt for shoulder, fish or real meat, or for geretto (muscle), which however, requires longer cooking, up to 8 hours. We then marinated the meat with herbs, aromas, red wine and vegetables and, subsequently, we moved on to "braising": a particular cooking technique which is based on the exchange of taste between the piece of meat and the liquid in which it is cooked (in this case, the wine) and will make the meat very soft.

At the end, we make a sauce with the cooking juices of the meat and the cornstarch. If you prefer, however, you can also accompany the braised meat with vegetables. Find out how to make braised beef with red wine, following our recipe step by step.


1 kg
Red wine
1 L
Extra virgin olive oil
50 ml
40 grams
20 grams
White onion
1 coat
2 cloves
a few twigs
2-3 leaves
1 pinch
as much as you need
as much as you need

How to Prepare Red Wine Braised Beef

Red wine braised beef is a laborious but highly effective preparation, made with a double-cooked piece of beef. LEt's see how to marinate it, cook it and serve it with an accompanying sauce.

Marinating the Meat

To prepare the red wine braised beef, start by marinating the meat: this step is not mandatory, but strongly recommended. In this way, in fact, the meat will absorb all the flavors of the marinade and take on an intense and recognizable flavor. First of all, therefore, place the meat in a large bowl. If the meat is too tender when raw, you can also tie it with strings.

Clean the garlic, remove the core and take two cloves. Wash the celery, cut it and remove the filaments. Then, style and cut the carrots and onion too.

Add all the cleaned and cut vegetables.

Also, add the fresh aromatic herbs and spices. If you want to group the aromas, you can also create an aromatic bag by tying a square of gauze with string and placing the rosemary, sage, cloves, peppercorns and a cinnamon stick inside.

At this point, pour the red wine into the bowl.

Cover with a sheet of cling film, prick the latter with the tines of a fork and transfer to the refrigerator for 8-10 hours or, better, for a whole night.

Once the marinating time has passed, drain the meat.

Pat it dry with absorbent kitchen paper. Filter the marinating liquid and set the vegetables aside. Now, you can get down to braising the meat.

How to Cook Braised Meat Correctly

To braise the meat, pour the oil and butter into a cast iron, earthenware or steel pan with a thick bottom and not too large. Place it on the head and wait for the butter to melt and the oil to become hot.

When the oil and butter are ready, place the meat in the pan and brown it over medium-high heat, at least 3 minutes per side, to seal and retain all the meat juices. Use tongs to turn it: it should create a crispy, golden crust around it.

Lower the heat on the stove, add the vegetables kept aside and cook them for a few minutes.

Then pour in the red wine, little by little to keep it boiling. Continue to keep the heat on medium for another 3 minutes, until the alcohol has evaporated. This step is important to eliminate the bitter aftertaste of the wine from the meat.

Once the alcohol has evaporated and you can no longer smell it, bring the braised meat to the smallest burner and reduce the heat to low. Let the meat cook for about 3 hours. In this case, the cooking time is quite indicative. In fact, depending on the consistency of the meat, the braised meat could require up to 5/6 hours of cooking to become tender. In fact, the meat will only be cooked to perfection when it's very tender. Turn the meat every half hour and add salt only halfway through the cooking.

At the end of cooking, you will obtain a very soft braised meat and a still liquid bottom, thanks to slow and controlled cooking. Turn off the heat and let the braised meat cool in the pan for about 30 minutes.

Once the braised meat has cooled, you can proceed with the cutting.

How to Serve Red Wine Braised Beef: the Accompanying Sauce

To serve the braised meat, prepare a tasty sauce with the cooking juices of the meat. Blend the latter with an immersion blender.

Take a cup of liquid and dissolve the corn starch in it to prepare a cold roux.

Pour the mixture into the pan, together with the remaining cooking juices. Then, put on the heat and cook until the liquid begins to thicken and form a creamy and smooth sauce.

The red wine braised beef is ready to be brought to the table. Serve it with its sauce or keep it in the fridge in an airtight container: the next day it will be even tastier.

How to Slice Braised Beef Correctly?

To properly slice the pot roast, wait until the meat is completely cooled. Then, drain it from the cooking liquid and cut it into thin slices, no more than 5mm thick. Use a very sharp knife, even an electric one.

What Red Wine Can be Used?

The original Piedmontese recipe involves the use of the red wine Barolo, a fragrant, full-bodied and structured wine, aged in barrels for 3 years of more, used both for marinating and cooking. Alternatively, you can replace it with Barbera, Barbaresco, Bonarda, Nebbiolo or Buttafuoco, more valuable than the previous one.


When browning meat, you can also omit the butter and increase the amount of oil. If you only want to use butter, we recommend clarified butter. Some recipes also include the addition of lard, which will make the meat richer and creamier.

You can also cook the braised meat in the pressure cooker: after browning in butter and oil, sprinkle the meat with whine and cook it for 30/40 minutes from the moment the whistle comes. If you want to prepare it in the oven, however, you will have to brown it first and then put the pan in the oven, adding the wine a little at a time, every 20 minutes or so. During these intervals, open the oven to let the steam escape, turn the piece of meat over with a flat spatula and close it with aluminum foil, which you will remove in the final stage of cooking.

If you have any leftovers, you can use the meat as a filling for homemade ravioli. Likewise, the sauce can be transformed into the condiment of agnolotti or another pasta shape of your taste.

How to Store Red Wine Braised Beef

The red wine braised beef can be kept in the fridge for 3-4 days, closed in a special airtight container. When ready to serve it, heat it slightly and serve it with its cooking juices.

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