Slow cooking: beef in Barolo
Author: Stewart Turner
The Piedmont region of northern Italy is famed for its food and wine, with the white truffle and hazelnuts the most famous treats from its natural larder. But there’s plenty more beyond the famed truffle season. With a little more time in the kitchen, this slow-cooked beef dish, doused in a bottle of Barolo (although another full-bodied red will do), offers serious comfort.
- 6 small beef short ribs
- 750ml bottle of Barolo (or another full-bodied Italian red wine)
- 2 sprigs of rosemary
- 2 sprigs of thyme
- 5 sage leaves
- 1 bay leaf
- 1tsp black peppercorns
- 1tsp juniper berries
- Olive oil
- 250ml beef stock
- 2 large onions – peeled and quartered
- 2 large carrots – peeled and cut into large chunks
- 8 cloves of garlic – peeled
- 3 sticks of celery – cut into large chunks
If you have time, marinade the beef overnight. Place the short ribs in a large container with the herbs and aromatics, pour over the wine and place in the fridge to marinade.
Remove the beef from the marinade and pat dry. Set aside the wine and tie the aromatics and herbs in a piece of muslin.
Preheat the oven to 160°C. Heat a good splash of oil in a large casserole. Add the beef and brown well on all sides, then remove and set aside. Add the red wine and muslin bag of aromatics. Boil for around 15 minutes, until reduced by half, then add the stock. Bring to the boil. Return the meat to the pan, cover with a tight-fitting lid and cook in the oven for two and a half hours.
Fry the onion, carrot, celery and garlic in a frying pan over a high heat until golden brown, then add to the meat, cover and return to the oven for another hour and a half. Once cooked, carefully lift out the beef and vegetables into a serving dish and keep warm. Discard the muslin bag, sieve the cooking liquor into a clean pan. Skim off the fat, bring the sauce to the boil and reduce to a nice saucy consistency, then pour back over the beef.
Serve with some soft polenta and seasonal greens.
What to drink: The obvious partner here is Barolo – and our own-label version, made by Davide Rosso, would do very nicely; the high acidity will help to add freshness to a decadent dish. This superb and very serious Barbera from Conterno would be brilliant too, with a slightly more fruit-driven profile. But, quite frankly, most full-bodied reds would do, especially savoury, mature Claret, like this 2003 Batailley – which feels deliciously reassuring.
Our Piedmont offer, with the new vintages of Barolo and Barbaresco, will be launching on Thursday 19th March.