I only roast a turkey once a year, so I want to make sure it is an excellent recipe. I developed this one years ago and it works so well that I included it in Cooking Meat, my cookbook about all things meaty!
The following is an abridged recipe from that book. There are a few steps involved, but I believe it is truly worth the extra effort.
Be sure to start this the day before the celebration.
Serves 8 to 10
3 quarts water
1 cup salt
1 cup granulated sugar
6 garlic cloves
8 thyme sprigs
4 bay leaves
1 quart ice cubes
1 (15 pounds) turkey
Vegetable oil for drizzling
2 cups unsalted butter
1 bunch sage, leaves picked and chopped
1 bunch thyme, leaves picked and chopped
1 bunch chives, chopped
1 Tbsp ground allspice
Salt and pepper
½ cup Madeira or port
1 cup butter
2 large onions, small diced
2 bay leaves
4 garlic cloves
Giblets and liver from the turkey, finely chopped
2 celery stalks, diced
1 carrot, grated
1 bunch sage, leaves picked and sliced
½ tsp grated nutmeg
½ tsp ground allspice
Salt and pepper
½ cup Madeira or port (optional)
1–2 cups turkey or Chicken Stock
4 cups 1” cubed stale bread (cube it the day before and leave it to dry out)
2 cups white wine (divided)
2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp cooking fat (from the turkey)
1 turkey neck (from the bird), roughly chopped into smaller chunks
2 shallots, finely diced
1 garlic clove, chopped
¼ cup all-purpose flour
4 thyme sprigs
4 sage sprigs
2 bay leaves
Salt and pepper
3 cups dark turkey or Chicken Stock
- In a stockpot large enough to hold the turkey, bring the water to a boil with the salt, sugar, garlic, thyme, and bay leaves. When the salt and sugar are dissolved, turn off the heat and add the ice. Allow the brine to cool.
- Remove the giblets, liver, and neck from the turkey (usually these are in the neck cavity). Set them in a bowl, cover, and refrigerate. Place the turkey in the stockpot with the brine (or place it in the brining bag, add the brine, and then place it in a bowl). Refrigerate for at least 15 hours (allow 1 hour per pound).
- To make the compound butter, cut the butter into slices and arrange them on a plate at room temperature to soften. In a small bowl, mix together the sage, thyme, chives, allspice, salt and pepper to taste, and Madeira. When the butter is soft, add it to the herb mixture and, using a spatula, fold them all together. Shape the butter into a rectangle on a layer of plastic wrap, roll up, and refrigerate overnight.
- On the day of the celebration, remove the turkey from the brine and pat dry. Discard the brine and set the turkey aside at room temperature while you make the stuffing.
- To make the stuffing, melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the onions and bay leaves, cover, and, stirring frequently, sweat until the onions start to change color slightly, about 15 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the giblets and liver, cook for another 5 minutes, and then add the celery, carrots, sage, nutmeg, allspice, salt, and pepper. Turn up the heat to medium and sauté, stirring frequently, until the celery starts to take on a bit of color.
- Add the Madeira (or port), if using, and reduce by half. Add 1½ cups of the stock and bring to a simmer. Place the diced bread in a medium bowl and pour the stock mixture over top. Mix thoroughly. If you find the mixture too dry, add a little more stock, ¼ cup at a time, until the stuffing is moist. Add some salt and pepper if required. Set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 325°F. Have a roasting pan with an elevated roasting rack ready.
- To prepare the turkey, lift the skin at the front of each breast and use your fingers to make a pocket between the skin and the breast meat. Cut the compound butter into ½-inch slices and slide the slices under the skin so they cover the breast. Stuff the cavity of the bird with the bread stuffing. Place the turkey on the roasting rack. Season the bird with salt and pepper and drizzle enough oil over it to cover the skin.
- Place the pan on the center rack in the oven and roast, basting every 30 minutes or so with the pan juices, until a thermometer plunged into the thigh of the turkey reads 180°F and the breast or stuffing reads 165°F, 4½–5 hours. Remove from the oven and transfer the turkey to a cutting board. Wrap the turkey in aluminum foil and then a towel to keep warm while it rests.
- To make the gravy, tilt the roasting pan slightly and skim the fat off the top of the drippings, reserving 2 Tbsp. Place the roasting pan on the stove over medium-low heat and add 1 cup of the wine. As it simmers, scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to lift up all of the bits of caramelized roasting juices. Turn off the heat and set aside.
- In a separate saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter with the reserved fat. Add the turkey neck, cook until brown, add the shallots and garlic, and sauté until golden. Add the flour and stir vigorously to make an aromatic roux. Add the thyme, sage, bay leaves, and salt and pepper to taste, and then deglaze the pot with the remaining 1 cup wine. Turn down the heat and stir constantly for about 5 minutes to cook the alcohol from the sauce. Add the stock, whisking to incorporate, and then add all the drippings from the turkey pan, mixing well to combine. Simmer for 5 minutes to incorporate the flavors. Strain the gravy through a fine-mesh sieve into a gravy boat.
- Use a spoon to remove the stuffing from the cavity and place some in a bowl and some on the turkey serving platter. Carve the turkey.
- To serve, present the platter of turkey with the stuffing and gravy to your hungry (and happy) guests.
With everything in life getting more expensive, I wanted to take a second to highlight a few items we sell that are a great value. Don't get me wrong, I love a well aged and marbled rib eye, but the reality is I need ideas for cuts that will be good on any day of the week, and that means things that are going to be delicious, easy, and not break the bank.
Here are my top five value cuts, in no particular order:
1) Pork Shoulder Steaks. Sliced from the boneless butt, these well marbled slabs of pork are perfect for the grill. Excellent when marinated in Lemongrass and Ginger, or Fennel Seed and Garlic.
2) Hanger Steak. Also known as the "Butcher's Steak" due to its popularity amongst meat cutters, this iron rich muscle hangs off the rib cage on the inside of the carcass. It is actually classified as offal, but make no mistake, this is no liver. This is the beefiest steak you haven't tried yet.
3) Chicken Legs. This may seem like a no-brainer, but honestly most people are still mad for boneless skinless chicken breasts. The leg is half the price, and the meat is rich and moist, and will never dry out on your grill. And while a lot of people prefer boneless legs, I personally like the feeling and flavour of eating meat off the bone. Also takes very well to a marinade like Jerk or a spice rub.
4) Lamb Shoulder Chops. No matter how you cut it, lamb is one of the more expensive meats in the case. But next time you're in the mood, forgo the racks and loin chops and opt for the marbled shoulder chops instead. The meat is tender with only a slight chewiness, and the flavour is outstanding. Lamb shoulder chops are great when rubbed with a bit of garlic, rosemary, and a squeeze of lemon.
5) Sausages. Ok ok ok, I know what you're thinking. This is no secret cut. While that is totally true, I would like to remind everyone that we have so many different flavours, both fresh and smoked, that you could eat sausage every day of the week and not get bored. Seriously, they are perfect in a bun, or beside a slaw of some sort, or on mashed potatoes, or with noodles, the list is truly endless. And with one sausage costing on average around $2.50-$3, it is definitely a good value for the amount of flavour we pack in that casing.
There are definitely more cuts (I'll share more another day), but of you haven't tried any of these here, I hope you have some inspiration for your next few meals!
I'm a fan of old cookbooks that are usually found in garage sales throughout Ontario, usually in dusty old "$1" boxes. You know these books. They were usually published by church groups, or community business associations, and had titles like "Getting the Most Out of Ground Beef", or "Dairy Mothers of Paisley Journal Best Recipes".
One of the defining trends in these books (really, they are usually barely more than leaflets) are recipes that can stretch your dollar on the kitchen. And one way that happens is by taking a cut of meat, and stuffing it with cheaper ingredients to make a meal that will feed more for less. I love stuffing a cut of meat with other aromatic ingredients, as it can completely change your expectations of what that cut is intended to be.
A great example of this is flank steak. Flank can be stuffed, rolled, or sliced for a variety of recipes that change how you look at the otherwise tasty, but one dimensional, steak.
In the following recipe (adapted from my book “Cooking Meat”, I have used flavours of the Mediterranean to stuff a flank. This flavour combo is a cherished one of mine (I use feta and olives a lot), and the flank takes well to the briny-ness of the stuffing. This dish goes well with a light pasta salad.
1 (about 2½ pounds) whole flank steak, trimmed of any silverskin
2 Tbsp olive oil + more for rubbing the steaks
1 cup minced onion
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup green olives, pitted and chopped
1 cup sundried tomatoes in oil, drained and chopped
1 cup bread crumbs
½ cup chopped Italian parsley
½ cup thinly sliced green onions
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
Salt and pepper
- Cut the flank into 6 thin, evenly sized steaks. To do this, place the steak on a work surface with the long side parallel to you. Cut the flank in half through the muscle grains. Then, cut each half into thirds, along the muscle grain.
- Cut a pocket into each flank steak. To do this, use a thin boning knife. Holding the parallel to your work surface and starting at the thickest end of the steak, plunge the knife blade into the meat, being careful not to cut all the way through. Wiggle the knife a little to create a pocket. Think of the steak like a pillowcase—you’re creating the opening in which to put the pillow. In this case, the pillow (stuffing) is delicious. Once you have cut the pocket in each steak, remove the knife, set the meat on a plate, and refrigerate, uncovered, while you make the stuffing.
- To make the stuffing, heat the oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and sweat until slightly caramelized. Add the olives and sundried tomatoes and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Stir in the bread crumbs, parsley, and green onions and cook, stirring frequently, until the bread crumbs are slightly toasted. Remove from the heat and stir in the feta cheese. Mix thoroughly to combine and set aside to cool.
- Arrange the steaks on a cutting board. Using a tablespoon, stuff the olive mixture into the pocket of each steak. Seal the end of each steak with a couple of toothpicks. Rub each steak with some oil and season with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, and as long as overnight.
- To cook the flank, you can either grill or pan-fry it. Either preheat your barbecue to hot on one side and warm on the other or preheat the oven to 400°F.
- To grill the steaks, place them on the hot side of the barbecue and sear, until golden on both sides, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer the steaks to the warm side of the grill. The steaks are done when a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat registers 140°F. To pan-fry the steaks, heat two ovenproof frying pans over medium-high heat. When hot, add the steaks and brown on one side. Turn the steaks over and place the pans in the oven until the steaks are cooked, about 5 minutes. Remove the steaks from the heat, discard the toothpicks, and allow to rest for 5 minutes.
- To serve, slice the steaks into ½-inch rounds, and serve either on a platter or on individual plates.
One of my favourite things to do when the weather is grey and gloomy is cook something, preferably something that bubbles away on the stovetop while you do other rainy day activities like build a puzzle or read a book. Here is an abridged recipe from my cookbook "Cooking Meat" for a Poached Chicken. It is a simple recipe, and definitely one that can be modified to suit your palate (and use up whatever is in your vegetable drawers).
1 (3½ pounds) whole chicken
2 onions, cut in large dice
2 carrots, cut in large dice
2 turnips, cut in large dice
1 celery stalk, cut in large dice
1 leek, washed thoroughly and cut in large dice
5 garlic cloves, halved
2 Tbsp salt
1 Tbsp whole peppercorns
1 herb bundle
1 Tbsp butter
1 cup shredded cabbage (Savoy or green)
12 shiitake mushrooms, sliced
1 tsp finely chopped thyme
Salt and pepper
2 cups roughly torn stale French bread
1. Place the chicken, onions, carrots, turnips, celery, leeks, garlic, salt, peppercorns, and herb bundle in a deep pot and just cover with cold water. Bring the water to a low simmer over medium-low heat and poach the chicken, uncovered, for 1½ hours, skimming and discarding any fat and impurities that rise to the surface.
2. Insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh. It should read 180˚F. (If not, cook the chicken for 5 to 10 minutes more and check again.) The meat will be pulling away from the bone, especially around the leg knuckle. Turn off the heat and allow the chicken to cool in its own liquid.
3. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, transfer it to a cutting board, reserving the poaching liquid in the pot. Using a sharp knife, cut the breasts and legs away from the carcass. Using your thumb, strip off any meat clinging to the carcass and put it back into the pot with the vegetables. Discard the skin from the breasts and slice the meat before adding it to the pot. Discard the skin from the legs and strip the meat away from the bones. Place the leg meat back in the pot and discard the bones. Discard the herb bundle, then bring the broth to a simmer over medium-low heat.
4. To finish the chicken, melt the butter in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the cabbage and mushrooms, stir well, and cover. Steam the vegetables until fully cooked, about 10 minutes. Season with the thyme and salt and pepper to taste, and keep warm.
5. To serve, place a few pieces of torn-up bread at the bottom of each bowl. Add a couple of tablespoons of the cabbage and mushroom mixture, then ladle a good amount of the chicken and vegetable mixture with some broth over everything and serve.
A perfect joint to eat on a warm spring day
Over the years I have come across many recipes for a roasted leg of lamb. This is one I came up with after getting my first charcoal kettle grill. It isn’t a necessity, but having the lamb slowly cook over charcoal infuses the meat with just the right amount of smoke, and the results are simply the best I’ve had.
This recipe is abridged from my book Cooking Meat.
Serves 8 to 10
1 (6–7 pounds) bone-in lamb leg
1 cup Middle Eastern Marinade (recipe follows)
- Rub the lamb leg all over with the marinade, wrap it in plastic, and refrigerate for at least 24 hours.
- Preheat the oven to 300°F. Better yet, preheat a charcoal grill, adjusting the airflow to achieve 300°F. Have a roasting pan with an elevated roasting rack ready.
- Place the marinated lamb leg on the roasting rack and place the roasting pan in the center of the oven. If you’re using a charcoal grill, place the lamb slightly beside the charcoal, to avoid flare-ups. Roast until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat reads 135° (for medium), about 2½ hours.
- Transfer the lamb to a cutting board, tent it with aluminum foil, and allow to rest for at least 30 minutes.
- To serve, slice the lamb and arrange on a serving platter. Salsa Verde is a perfect sauce with this roast.
I call this my Middle Eastern marinade because it contains the warm spices of coriander, cumin, and fennel, all popular in the cuisine of the Cradle of Civilization, and works especially well with lamb.
Makes 2 cups
½ cup finely sliced green onions
½ cup chopped garlic
3 Tbsp grated lemon zest
2 Tbsp chopped thyme
1 cup olive oil
¼ cup lemon juice
4 tsp salt
1 Tbsp ground coriander
1 Tbsp ground fennel seeds
1 Tbsp ground cumin
2 tsp pepper
1½ tsp ground cinnamon
- In a food processor, purée the green onions, garlic, lemon zest, thyme, oil, and lemon juice until the mixture has the consistency of pesto. Add the salt, coriander, fennel seeds, cumin, pepper, and cinnamon, and blend until emulsified. Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks or freeze for up to 3 months.
Easy Pasta and Meat Sauce
It can certainly be a challenge to come up with ideas for activities with your kids. Try cooking with the little ones with this easy-peasy spaghetti with meat sauce recipe. Made with only a few ingredients, your kids and you will be happy cooking and eating this dish together! We carry the fennel pollen at our Kensington shop, but it is optional here, as is the bufala mozzarella.
Note: I realize this is a stove-top dish, and not all kids (or parents) are comfortable with that yet. In my experience if you warn the kids of the danger of heat, they will be careful. There are no knives in this recipe, so at least you can avoid cuts 😉!
Serves four to six
1 tbsp olive oil, plus more for drizzling on mozzarella (if using)
1 lb ground beef
2 mild Italian sausages, casings removed
1 pinch fennel pollen (optional)
1 jar Sanagan’s Classic Tomato Sauce
salt and pepper to taste
400 gr pasta of your choice (I like spaghetti with this)
4 tbsp grated Parmigiano Reggiano
Optional: ½ ball of bufala mozzarella per person – this is pure indulgence and worth it
Fill a large pot with water, place on a high heat and bring to a boil. Salt the water to make it taste salty (about 1 handful of salt for a large (6-8 L) pot). Kids can throw the salt in here.
Place a medium sized sauce pot on a medium heat, and add 1 tbsp of olive oil (kid friendly move). Now add the ground beef and sausage meat, and stir with a wooden spoon (also kid friendly – just make sure you’re teaching them to avoid the element).
Once the meat is browned, add the fennel pollen (if using) and pour the tomato sauce in the pot (big time kid friendly move). Stir everything together and bring to a simmer. Lower the heat and simmer, uncovered, for about 20 minutes.
Cook your pasta in the boiling water as per the package directions. Drain, and quickly put back into the empty pasta cooking pot. There should be a bit of water in the pot from the pasta not being totally drained. You want this as it helps round out the sauce.
Taste the meat sauce for seasonings, and adjust to taste. Then pour the sauce over the pasta, and stir well to combine (kid move – but it is a bit hot so be careful).
Divide the pasta and sauce into bowls. If using, place a half ball of bufala mozzarella on top and drizzle with olive oil. If not using, grate some Parmigiano Reggiano on top and serve.
It’s time to start corning your beef!
I read somewhere that Corned Beef was adopted by Irish immigrants who landed in New York and couldn’t find the cured pork bacon they remembered from back home, so they cured beef instead. That theory is kind of ridiculous, given that cured and smoked pork was prevalent amongst the new Americans of European descent, particularly from Poland or Hungary. On top of that, Ireland has a rich history of corning beef, going back to the 1600s. Surely there were pigs available in the 19th century in New York, but for whatever reason cured Irish bacon (cut from the loin) never gained popularity. Corned beef, on the other hand, was hugely popular, and to this day is thought of the national food of Ireland. Declaring that to an Irish person will probably earn you a swift kick in the bollocks, but hey, we’re from the land of cultural appropriation and what we say goes! Also, corned beef is delicious, especially when prepared in the following manner, surrounded by good friends and family, pints upon pints, and a tin whistle or two.
Start this recipe a week before you plan to serve it.
4 L water
4 whole garlic cloves
1 ¼ cup g salt
½ cup granulated sugar
3 tbsp curing salt
3 Tbsp pickling spice (divided, see note)
1 (4–5 pounds) beef brisket, flat cut end
1 medium onion, cut in medium dice
1 large carrot, cut in medium dice
1 celery stalk, cut in medium dice
2 garlic cloves
1 tsp whole black peppercorns
2 bay leaves
1 cup milk
¼ onion, thinly sliced
3 whole cloves
2 dried bay leaves
1 Tbsp butter, cold
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1 cup hot braising liquid from the corned beef
1 cup finely chopped curly parsley
2 tsp English mustard powder
- In a medium pot, bring the water to a boil over high heat. Add the garlic, salt, sugar, curing salt, and 2 Tbsp of the pickling spice, whisking to dissolve the salts and sugar. Remove from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature.
- Place the brisket in a nonreactive container and cover with the brine. Set a small plate on the brisket to weigh it down and keep it submerged. Cover and refrigerate for 7 days, checking periodically to make sure it’s still submerged. If needed, place another plate on top to weigh it down further.
- After a week, discard the brine and soak the brisket in cold water for about 2 hours, changing the water every 20 minutes to rinse off the excess salt.
- Place the brined beef in a pot large enough to hold it without crowding, cover with cold water, and add the remaining 1 Tbsp pickling salt, the onions, carrot, celery, garlic, peppercorns, and bay leaves. Do not add salt. Bring the brine to a gentle simmer over medium-low heat, cover, and allow to gently simmer until the meat yields when pricked with a fork, about 4 hours. Remove from the heat, cover, and allow to rest for 20 minutes before carving.
- While the beef is simmering, prepare the parsley sauce. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, warm the milk with the onions, cloves, and bay leaves. When the milk begins to simmer, remove it from the heat and allow to sit for 15 minutes to infuse.
- Melt the butter in a separate pot over medium heat. Add the flour and stir vigorously to blend. Allow this roux to cook just until golden, about 5 minutes. Strain the milk through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl, then very slowly and gradually whisk it into the roux, until the sauce is emulsified.
- When all the milk has been added, whisk in the hot braising liquid. Add the parsley and mustard powder, and simmer for about 10 minutes. Remove the sauce from the heat and purée in a blender (or use an immersion blender). Pour the lovely green sauce into a gravy boat.
- To serve, slice the corned beef and arrange on a serving platter. Serve hot with the parsley sauce alongside.
To make your own pickling spice at home, combine 2 Tbsp yellow mustard seeds , 1 Tbsp whole allspice, 2 tsp coriander seeds, 2 whole cloves, 1 tsp ground ginger, 1 tsp chili flakes, 2 bay leaves, and 1 cinnamon stick.
On these cold winter nights, nothing quite warms you up like a bit of slow cooked meat. I came up with this recipe a few years ago when my son was around nine months old. He was just starting to eat whatever his parents ate, and he loved soft stewed meat. In fact, if he approved of a dish, he could eat more of it than either Alia or I could manage. And this one he definitely approved of! Serve this with crusty country bread.
2 Tbsp olive or vegetable oil
3½ pounds pork shoulder, cut in 1½-inch cubes
Salt and pepper
¾ cup medium-diced onions
¾ cup medium-diced carrots
½ cup medium-diced celery
6 garlic cloves, chopped
2 cups walnuts, shelled
2 cups white wine
2 cups Chicken Stock
1 herb bundle (8 thyme sprigs, 4 parsley sprigs, 3 bay leaves)
1 cup diced butternut squash
- Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a baking tray with aluminum foil or parchment paper.
- Heat the oil in a large ovenproof pot over medium heat. Place the pork in a large bowl and season liberally with salt and pepper, tossing it well. Working in batches, add the pork to the hot oil, stirring often to brown the meat all over. Using a slotted spoon, return the meat to the bowl.
- Add the onions, carrots, celery, and garlic to the pot and season with salt and pepper. Turn the heat down to medium-low, stir the vegetables, and cover the pot. Sweat the vegetables, stirring them every few minutes, until soft and slightly caramelized, about 10 minutes.
- While the vegetables are cooking, arrange the walnuts in a single layer on the baking tray. Roast in the oven until golden, about 15 minutes, then remove from the oven and allow to cool on the pan. Leave the oven on.
- When the vegetables are cooked, remove the lid and add the pork. Turn the heat back up to medium. Add the wine and simmer until it is reduced by half. Add the stock and herb bundle, bring to a simmer, and cover. Place the pot in the oven and braise for 1 hour. Add the squash, stirring gently, cover again, and return the stew to the oven until the meat is soft, 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and discard the herb bundle.
- Set a large fine-mesh sieve over a clean pot. Strain the stew through the sieve to collect the braising liquid. Place the sieve full of pork and vegetables over a bowl and set aside.
- Place the pot of braising liquid over low heat and add three-quarters of the roasted walnuts. Using an immersion blender, purée the walnuts in the pot. (Or purée them with the braising liquid in batches in a blender. You want to thicken the braising liquid with the walnuts to create a smooth, emulsified sauce.)
- Add the pork, vegetables, and the remaining walnuts to the puréed walnuts in the pot. Bring to a gentle simmer and season to taste.
- To serve, ladle the pork stew into individual bowls.
By: Peter Sanagan
If I had to choose one dish that reminded me of family meals of my childhood, it could very well be a pot roast. Think of it: a reasonably priced hunk of tough meat that is rendered tender and succulent after a few hours bathing in stock in a hot oven. The house smells lovely and is warm; a sharp contrast to the cracks of branches outside in the February grey sky.
Sometimes, in the dead of winter, nothing warms your bones like a slow-cooked piece of beef. A pot roast is a braise, and it works well with any tough cut of beef. The braising liquid in this recipe can double as a delicious sauce for pasta! In fact, I like to serve this dish with plain buttered noodles. This recipe is taken from Cooking Meat, my cookbook all about…well…you know.
4 lbs blade roast, trimmed of silverskin and excess fat, tied
salt and pepper to taste
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 large onion, peeled and roughly chopped
4 slices bacon, diced
4 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
2 medium carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
2 stalks celery, roughly chopped
1 cup rutabaga, peeled and roughly chopped
1 Tbsp tomato paste
1 cup red wine
4 rosemary sprigs
4 thyme sprigs
3 bay leaves
3 cups Beef (or Chicken) Stock
- Preheat the oven to 450°F. Have your roasting pan ready. [I like to use a pan with an elevated roasting rack, which allows hot air to circulate around the meat and cook it more evenly.] Cut a length of kitchen twine.
- Season the beef well with salt and pepper, then rub it with the olive oil. Place the beef on a roasting rack, set the roasting pan in the oven, and roast for 30 minutes, until the beef is golden brown all over.
- While the beef is browning, place the onions and bacon in a large ovenproof pot over medium heat, stir well, then cover the pot for 5 minutes. Add the garlic, carrots, celery, and rutabaga, stir, and cover again, sweating all of the vegetables until fragrant and softened—about 10 minutes. Add the tomato paste and stir well, then deglaze the pot with the red wine.
- Tie the herbs together with the twine, then drop them in the pot. Season the contents of the pot with salt and pepper. Add the browned beef to the pot and turn down the oven to 300°F.
- Add the stock to the pot and bring it to a simmer over medium heat, ladling off and discarding any scum as it rises to the surface of the stock. When it is simmering, cover the pot and place in the oven for 1 hour.
- Lift the lid, turn the beef over in the pot, and return to the oven for another 1½ hours, or until fork-tender. Carefully transfer the meat to cutting board and tent it loosely with aluminum foil to keep it warm. Discard the bundle of herbs.
- Bring the braising liquid back to a simmer over medium heat. Season with more salt and pepper, if needed. Remove from the heat and use an immersion blender to purée the contents of the saucepan (if you don’t have an immersion blender, use a countertop blender, working in batches, strain the contents of the pot through a fine-mesh sieve, pushing the solids through with the back of a ladle). Return the sauce to medium heat and simmer until reduced to a sauce consistency.
- To serve, slice the beef and arrange it on a serving platter. Drizzle with some of the sauce and pour the rest into a sauceboat to serve alongside.