Make Ahead

Barolo Stewed Beef – Brasato al Barolo

February  3, 2010
0 Ratings
  • Serves 6 - 8
Author Notes

This stewed beef in Barolo is a typical dish from Piemonte in the North of Italy.
It takes a while to make plus the marinating time but it’s well worth the time.
This recipe is one of the most representative from the Piemonte due to the fact that you use Barolo.
The origin of this dish is unknown, although marinating meat was one of the ways to keep meat when there were no fridges and stewing for a long time, normally on wood burning cookers, was known to be used a long time ago.
Obviously, cooking the meat with Barolo gives it a very special aroma but you can substitute Barolo for another hearty red wine.
I chose to make this recipe with the meat cut in pieces but for a more elegant serving, use one whole piece of meat and serve it sliced. Also see note about the sauce at the end if serving the meat in slices.
Maria Teresa Jorge

What You'll Need
  • Meat
  • 3 pounds Sirloin or topside cut in large pieces or left whole
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2.5 ounces sweet pancetta cut in strips
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 4 tablespoons Cognac or Grappa
  • Salt
  • Marinade
  • 1 bottle of Barolo or any other hearty red wine (750ml)
  • 2 carrots sliced medium thick
  • 1 celery stalk sliced medium thick
  • 2 shallots diced finely
  • 1 Onion diced medium pieces
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 5 Clove Buds
  • 1 tablespoon cracked black peppercorns
  • 3 Juniper Berries squashed
  • 2 bay leaves
  1. In a large glass or ceramic bowl put all the marinade vegetables, the spices and the wine. Add the meat and stir to cover well with all the marinade ingredients. Allow to marinate for 1 day (up to 3 days), turning the meat occasionally.Keep chilled covered with plastic film.
  2. Remove the meat from the marinade. Reserve the marinade and the vegetables. Strain the marinade, reserve the vegetables.
  3. Pat dry the meat with kitchen paper towel and dust it all over with flour.
  4. In a dutch oven melt the butter with the olive oil, add the pancetta and allow to lightly brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and reserve.
  5. Start sealing the meat on all sides, 1/3 at a time. Reserve the browned meat and add the other 1/3 and do the same with the last 1/3. If using one big piece of meat, sear all sides. Remove the meat from the pan.
  6. Pour the Cognac or Grappa in the pan, stir well to dislodge all the pieces stuck to the pan and let the alcohol evaporate.
  7. Warm up the marinade wine and just keep warm near your stew.
  8. Add the meat to the pan and season with salt.
  9. Add the pancetta, the strained vegetables from the marinade with the spices and thyme, 1/3 of the marinade wine and cook over very low heat for 2 to 3 hours, stirring and adding more wine as needed (you will use it all).
  10. Discard the bay leaves and the thyme. Check the seasoning. The meat at the end should almost fall apart.
  11. Serve the meat with the sauce and vegetables with mashed potatoes.
  12. Note: For a more elegant serving, cook the meat in one whole piece. At the end, remove the meat, the bay leaves and time and process the sauce with the vegetables to obtain a thick sauce to pour over the meat.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • cheese1227
  • aargersi
  • Maria Teresa Jorge
    Maria Teresa Jorge

4 Reviews

cheese1227 February 3, 2010
I think I would have to agree with aargersi on his wine choices.
Maria T. February 3, 2010
Thank you for the comment. As I explain below, other wines are good as well as long as they are hearty and with body.
aargersi February 3, 2010
Gorgeous recipe as always - though I think I would have to marinate in the other hearty red wine and drink the barolo with the stew - it's one of my absolute favorites (alongside brunello of COURSE!)
Maria T. February 3, 2010
Thank you. I agree with you, Barolo is very expensive and you can change it for another hearty wine. I just gave you the original recipe from Piemonte, I have cooked it with other wines like a good Chianti or Brunello and it comes good as well. If cooking with other wine use Grappa instead of Cognac.