Monday, March 4, 2013

The Art of Faking It

I know this expression is getting old but it certainly fits still..."In this economy..."  Well, in this economy, it is completely understandable that we can't all rush out and get those deliciously lavish cuts of meat.  There is no room for filet mignon when affording your monthly rent is a challenge.  Well I am here to teach you the art of faking it.  Come on girls you know we all do it... 

This is my fool proof way of taking any cut of beef, no matter the cost, and making it taste like a million bucks.  Simply stated it's all in the braise.  This past Sunday, we featured our gnocchi, which turned out fabulous by the way.  Jason wanted some sort of meat product and I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to make a delicious veal shank.  Well one look at the price and I quickly changed my mind.  I had already unloaded tons of money on special pasta flour (I think they saw me coming) so I wasn't ready to drop close to $20 on a piece of veal.  I quickly picked up a piece of chuck blade steak for $4 confident I could make this as sexy as veal. I went to my no fail braise and damn was it good.  Here it is below.  Get your cheap cuts of meat and fake it baby!  We all do! 

1 large yellow onion, roughly chopped
2 carrots, roughly chopped
1 stalk of celery, roughly chopped
1 cup of full bodied red wine (or whatever you have left over from the night before... nothing expensive!)
1 cup beef stock
1 can of plum tomatoes (San Marzano are the best)
2 cloves garlic
olive oil to saute
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper to taste
any cut of cheap beef (with some fat on it)

  • Heat olive oil in a heavy bottom pan with a lid and add the cuts of beef, brown on all sides.  This is a crucial step!  Make sure you thoroughly brown, it should take about 5 minutes.  
  • Remove beef and set aside.  Add onions, garlic, carrots, and celery.  Saute and be sure to add salt and pepper at this step.  A pinch (healthy pinch!) will suffice.  Cook until onions are translucent.  
  • Add stock and scrap all the brown bits off the bottom of the pan.  These brown bits are the packed with flavor.  It's where the onions and carrots have caramelized on the bottom.  
  • Add wine and the can of plum tomatoes with juices.
  • Allow to come to a boil.  Taste, add salt and pepper if necessary.
  • Once seasoned to your liking add beef and bay leaf.  Place in a 350 degree oven for 3 hrs with lid on

Happy Faking!!


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