Sophisticated Living Indianapolis

JAN-FEB 2016

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BRAISED BEEF IN BAROLO WINE WITH POLENTA – BRASATO AL BAROLO CON POLENTA (Piedmont) "Te name brasato derives from brace (BRA-chay), the hot coals over which the meat was traditionally cooked. Braised beef marinated in a fne Barolo wine is one of the most representative and classic dishes of the Piedmont region, a savory delight for a cozy dinner on cold nights. Barolo is a rich, deeply concentrated full-bodied wine, with pronounced tannins and acidity (and therefore ideal for marinating). You can enjoy brasato like we Italians do, with polenta – 'the Italian grits'. Now, defying its humble origin, polenta has also been discovered by a new, sophisticated audience and it is frequently found in gourmet restaurants. You can also enjoy it with cheese like Gorgonzola." Total preparation time: 12 hours (Cooking time is 2 ½ hours) Servings: 4 INGREDIENTS (Brasato) (2 lbs) cappello di prete, beef chuck roast 1 bottle Barolo wine 3 carrots 1 celery rib 1 yellow onion 3 garlic cloves 2 sprigs fresh rosemary 2 bay leaves 1 stick of cinnamon 3 peppercorns 3 cloves 3 Tbsp butter 2-3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil Sea salt to taste Polenta 1.5 quarts water 1 scant Tbsp kosher salt 2 cups cornmeal 2-3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil DIRECTIONS Day 1 You should start preparation the day before you plan to cook the meat. 1. Tie the meat with a cotton string so it keeps its shape. 2. Cut the carrots, the celery and the onion into large pieces, and put in a large glass bowl with the meat and the bay leaves, rosemary, cinnamon, cloves and pepper. Add the wine. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 12 hours. Tis is important to reduce the proliferation of bacteria. Day 2 1. After 12 hours remove the meat from the bowl and dry it with some paper towels. 2. In a Dutch oven, heat the olive oil and the butter on high heat, sauté the meat over medium heat for 5 minutes on both sides. 3. Add the vegetables with the wine, and some salt to taste, to the pot containing the meat. 4. Cover and cook on low heat for at least 2 ½ hours. Te meat should be so tender that it could be carved with a spoon. While meat is cooking prepare polenta. 5. In a heavy saucepan bring the water to boil. Add salt. Reduce the heat to low and gradually whisk in the cornmeal to prevent lumps from forming. Cover and cook for 5 minutes. 6. Remove the lid and stir constantly with a wooden spoon on high heat. Continue to stir for about 40 minutes (according to package cooking time) until the polenta is thickened. It should separate from the sides of the pan, and be able to support a spoon. 7. Add 2-3 Tbsp olive oil and mix well. Pour the polenta onto a wooden cutting board, let stand for a few minutes. 8. In the meantime remove the meat from the pan. Discard the rosemary sprigs and the bay leaves. 9. Blend the vegetables and liquid with an electric blender, and then boil to reduce the sauce for 2-3 minutes. 10. Slice the meat when it is no longer too hot (it will be easier to slice). 11. Cut the polenta into slices using either a knife or, according to the peasant tradition, a cotton string. You can also enjoy the crust; it tastes like Mexican tortillas. I love it 12. Pour the sauce on the meat and serve with polenta. Note: Barolo wine needs to be matched with food of similar weight such as meat dishes, heavy pasta and rich risotto, and it is excellent for marinating. In fact, marinades work their magic due to the acids in the wine, which break down muscle tissue and tenderize the meat. An appropriate Barolo substitute is Barbera or another full-bodied red wine. In this case let it marinate longer, about 18 hours. Polenta is not difcult to make but needs a lot of attention and nearly constant stirring. Te best pan to use should be a copper pot surrounded by the cooking flame (a large gas-burner is ideal). In the past – and indeed still today – farmers cooked p o l e n t a ove r a n o p e n f i re , and this is without doubt the tastiest version you can eat! 59

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