Beef Braised in Amarone
SERVES 6 – 8
At the Valpolicella region's Trattoria Dalla Rosa Alda, where this dish is a specialty, a platter of polenta rests by the wood fire in the kitchen. As orders come in for dishes like this one, a piece of polenta is sliced off and grilled over the fire to be served on the side.
1 750-ml bottle young amarone
2 medium yellow onions, peeled and finely diced
2 carrots, peeled, trimmed, and finely diced
2 ribs celery, finely diced
1 medium bulb celery root, peeled, trimmed, and finely diced
3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
1 branch each fresh rosemary, thyme, and sage and 2 bay leaves,
tied together with kitchen twine
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
1 4-lb. boneless cross-rib pot roast
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 cups vegetable or meat stock
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1. Set 1/4 cup of the wine aside and pour remaining wine into a large heavy pot with a tight-fitting lid. Add onions, carrots, celery, celery root, garlic, bundle of herbs, and lemon zest. Generously season meat with salt and pepper and add to pot. Add stock and 1/4 cup of the oil and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, skimming any foam that rises to the surface. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and braise meat, turning every hour, until very tender, about 4 hours.
2. Transfer meat to a cutting board, loosely cover with foil, and set aside. Remove and discard bundle of aromatics from pot. Strain braising broth into a bowl, setting broth and strained vegetable mixture aside separately.
3. Heat 1/4 cup of the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 3 cups of the vegetable mixture and 1/2 cup of the broth (save remaining vegetable mixture and broth for another use), mash mixture with a potato masher to a paste, and cook until liquid evaporates, 6–8 minutes. Add reserved wine and cook, stirring, until wine evaporates, 1–2 minutes. Add remaining oil and cook until sauce darkens and begins to fry, 5–6 minutes. Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper.
4. Slice meat and serve with sauce spooned on top. Garnish each serving with a slice of grilled polenta , a piece of broiled carrot, and a fresh bay leaf, if you like.