In the Piedmont dialect, this braised beef is called Brasà al bareul. Just like its name, it melts in your mouth and tastes simply wonderful. This is also due to the ingredients, so only take the very best of everything!Jump to Recipe
About the meat
The beef braised in Barolo is a classic of the Piedmontese cuisine and easy to recreate at home. According to the original recipe, you have to use beef from the Italian breed, Fassona, which has remarkably lean and tender meat. If you need an alternative, it is best to ask your trusted butcher for advice. For this recipe, you can use different pieces. Not only the muscle meat from the shoulder (“priest’s hat”), but also the topside is perfect as these pieces do not get dry or tough, even after braising them for a long time.
The best meat should be complemented with the best wine of the Langhe region: the Barolo. A relatively young wine, which has received the official DOCG seal of approval since the 1980s, and which is one of the most renowned wines in the whole of Italy. The Barolo was first created in the 19th century in the vineyards surrounding the town of Alba. The French oenologist, Louis Oudart, shared the knowledge of fermentation methods he had gained from the Champagne region. New cellars were built, in which the wine could develop well in the cold. The results were so well received that even the Royal House of Savoy made its vineyards in the region available. The wine of kings soon became the king of wines.
With patience comes flavour: the old original recipe of Beef Braised in Barolo
Just as crucial when preparing the perfect barolo roast are time and braising temperature. Brasato, loosely translated, means “slow braising”. In the past, it took four days to prepare. On the first day, the meat was placed in wine. On day two, spices and vegetables were added. On the fourth day, the marinated meat was finally ready to be cooked in a casseruola. At first, the surface of the meat was sealed at high heat. The brasato was then slowly braised on a wood stove (stufa) for a whole day. This is why the braised beef is still often called stufato in Italian nowadays. But don’t worry, there is a quicker way!
Brasato al Barolo
- 1 kg beef in large pieces
- 2 celery sticks
- 2 carrots
- 3 cloves garlic
- 3 leaves sage
- 2 leaves bay
- 1 branch rosemary
- 1 stick cinnamon
- 3 cloves
- 3 berries juniper
- 1 handful peppercorns
- 750 ml Barolo alternatively: Nebbiolo or Barbaresco
- 1 tbsp oil
- 1 tsp potato starch
Peel the garlic and remove the inner stem. Cut two cloves into quarters, and finely chop one garlic clove and put aside for the moment. With a sharp knife, cut slices in the surface of the meat and place the quartered cloves deep into them. Wash the carrots and celery and cut into pieces. Put the meat and vegetables, as well as the spices and chopped clove of garlic into a bowl and pour wine over the mixture. The pieces of meat should be completely covered with wine. Cover the bowl with foil and let it marinate in the fridge for 24 hours.
On the following day, take the meat out of the wine and dab it well with kitchen roll. Tie the pieces of meat tightly together with kitchen string (three times over the length and three times over the width). Rub the meat with salt, pour a little oil over it and season with pepper. In a hot pan with a thick base, fry each side of the meat for a couple of minutes so that the pores on the surface close. By doing this, as well as by tying them together, the pieces of meat stay tender inside. The meat should be at room temperature when it is placed in the pan.
Braising and sauce:
Now pour the marinade and vegetables over the meat and let it simmer with a closed lid for at least three hours at low heat. Turn occasionally. After this time, take out the pieces of meat, cut open and remove the kitchen string with a pair of scissors. Keep the meat warm. Strain the sauce and reheat it in a saucepan, adding some water depending on taste. Mix the potato starch with 2 tsp of cold water and add to the sauce, allowing it to thicken a little. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Cut the meat into 1 cm thick slices and place on preheated plates. Pour the Barolo sauce over it and serve. Traditionally, creamy polenta or mashed potatoes are served as a side dish for Brasato al Barolo. I personally like this braised beef, especially when it is not so cold outside, with basmati rice. Admittedly, very un-Italian, but still delicious!