Braised beef recipes are quite popular in our home and both me and my wife cook them pretty often. There are so many things to enjoy about braised beef… you can use even the cheapest cuts, it’s easy to cook braised beef in large quantities, it re-heats great so it’s the perfect choice for make-ahead cooking etc.
On top of that, braised beef is very easy to prepare which makes it the perfect choice for even the least experienced home cooks. The only drawback would be the longer cooking time, since braising definitely takes a while, especially when you want to reach the fall-apart meat tenderness. But it’s well worth it, trust me.
The braised beef recipe I’m going to show you today is one of the most simple ones, it doesn’t use any out-of-the-ordinary ingredients or special skills. It’s easy from start to finish. I’m about to use beef shoulder (beef chuck). There are several shoulder/chuck cuts that you can find on the market, but no matter which one you choose, it will work great for this recipe… even the cheapest cuts are perfect for braising.
What Is Braising?
Let’s sort this question first. So what exactly does it mean “to braise meat”? It basically means to cook the meat slowly in “some” liquid, while the pan or pot is covered with a lid. Part of the liquids come from the meat directly, it will release quite a bit of juices in the initial part of braising.
Braising beef takes a while and a significant part of the liquids will evaporate during the process, so in order to end up with a solid amount of sauce, we need to add some stock or broth. Braising tenderizes the meat and the connective tissues and collagen dissolve into gelatin during the process, which makes the final sauce super flavorful and rich.
What Beef Is Good For Braising?
Literally, all the beef cuts can be braised! But, it would be a waste to braise a nice tenderloin or ribeye steak, of course. The beauty of braising is that it can make even the toughest beef cut tender, if you give it the time it needs.
My favorite beef cuts for braising are all parts of the chuck, beef brisket, braised beef shank is excellent too… I love to use the cheapest beef cuts and then surprise my family or guests with the result.
Want to read more about the various beef cuts? Check this article.
Now let’s get to the actual recipe, shall we?
Braised Beef Recipe Ingredients
The amounts listed below will make 4-5 servings.
1kg / 2lbs beef shoulder/chuck
1.5 cups of beef broth or stock
2 large onions
2 cloves of garlic
2 tablespoons of soy sauce
1 small glass of red wine
2 tablespoons of tomato puree
2 tablespoons of mild mustard
2 tablespoons of red paprika
2 stalks of rosemary or thyme
Salt & pepper to taste
How To Make Braised Beef
Watch the video or scroll down for step by step instructions:
Let’s start with the beef shoulder/chuck, I’m using about 1 kilo or 2 pounds, this amount should be enough for about 4-5 servings. Cut the meat into about half an inch thick pieces first, then use a meat mallet to tenderize each of them. Just a few hits per side, no need to overdo this.
TIP: Using a plastic bag or wrap will help you to keep your working space clean when pounding the meat with a mallet.
Once tenderized, cut the meat into smaller pieces. Smaller pieces will braise a bit quicker and it’s generally easier to work with smaller pieces. Season the beef with black pepper from both sides and set aside.
Many braised beef recipes start by pan searing the meat, but I skip this step and start with an onion base instead. You will need 2 large onions for this recipe. Finely chop them and sauté in a pan on high heat. Vegetable or olive oil both work great.
Once the onions become lightly browned, drop in 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped. Keep on sautéing for 2 or 3 minutes on high heat.
Now is the right time to start building up the flavors. I’m about to add multiple ingredients and each of them will get “2 minutes of cooking”, before I add the next one. Soy sauce goes first, 2 tablespoons. Mix and cook for 2 minutes. Next comes tomato puree, 2 tablespoons again… mix and cook for… you guessed it 2 minutes 🙂 1-2 tablespoons of mild yellow or Dijon mustard now and finish it up with 2 tablespoons of red paprika.
Once the paprika is in, you really need to mix frequently or else it could burn and become bitter. Now pour in a small glass of QUALITY red wine, mix once more and cook for a few minutes so the alcohol has a chance to evaporate. 4-5 minutes should be enough.
NOTE: I always recommend using good quality wine when making braised beef! You don’t have to use some really expensive brand, but do not just grab the cheapest you can find either. You’re cooking for yourself and your family, keep that in mind 🙂
It’s time to add the meat now. Mix it with the base properly and don’t forget to add 2 stalks of rosemary or thyme. Turn the heat down to low-medium, cover the pan with a lid and start braising. This initial phase takes about 30 minutes and you can mix the meat from time to time.
As the beef is braising, it starts to release quite a bit of juices, which is exactly what we want. But we need more liquids in order to end up with a nice amount of sauce. I am about to add about one and a half cups of beef broth or stock. You can use chicken stock too, or just pure water. If you’re about to use plain water, add a bouillon cube as well.
TIP: The amount of stock depends on how much sauce you want to have in your braised beef. I love the sauce, so I’m adding a lot of stock. But you can definitely cut it down a bit. One way or another, just make sure there is always some liquid left in the pan and add more if needed. When braising, the meat should be at least halfway submerged in the liquids, keep that in mind.
Once the stock is in, keep on braising the beef for 30 more minutes. Then give the sauce a test and season with salt and pepper, if needed. I pretty much always add some at this stage, but we all have our preferences so season the sauce to your personal taste.
Keep on braising until the meat becomes almost fully tender. The time depends on the cut you are using, so it’s impossible to give you an exact time. Once you are there, it’s time to add some vegetables. I’m going to use just carrots today, but you can add more types or skip the veggies entirely.
Cover the pan again and keep on braising until the carrots are fully cooked, this should take about 15-20 minutes. Our braised beef is almost finished, there is one last thing to do.
The sauce needs to be rather thick and there are two ways of achieving that. You can either remove the lid and keep on cooking until the sauce reduces. But this would mean losing a significant part of it, so I prefer the second approach.
Simply whisk a bit of water with 2 tablespoons of all purpose flour (or starch) and start adding the mixture to the pan in batches. It takes a few minutes for the flour to bind with the liquids, so NEVER add all of the mixture at once.
Once you are happy with the consistency of the sauce, our braised beef is finished and we are ready to serve.
You can use a variety of sides with braised beef. My choice for today are mashed potatoes, but you can also use rice, some pasta, baked potatoes… literally whatever you prefer.
Want to try a different braised beef recipe? I like this one from Simply Home Cooked.
Tips & Notes For My Braised Beef Recipe
- Do you like it spicy? This braised beef recipe could definitely use some spiciness, just add some dried chili flakes or even fresh chili peppers.
- Don’t like beef? You can use pork instead! Pork shoulder or pork neck/collar would work just great and it will cook faster too.
- Can you freeze braised beef? In most cases you can, but it depends on the types of vegetables that you would use as some tend to degrade when frozen. But generally speaking, it’s ok to freeze braised beef.
- How long does braised beef stay good for? It’s safe to store in the fridge for about 3 days, just make sure to refrigerate it shortly after the cooking has finished.
- Can you make braised beef ahead for later serving? Definitely, pretty much all dishes with sauce are great for make-ahead cooking.
- How to reheat braised beef? Microwaves work just great but since there is a lot of sauce, you can also use a saucepan or small pot. Just mix frequently so the meat and sauce don’t stick to the bottom and burn.
Braised Beef Recipe
- 1 kg beef shoulder/chuck
- 1.5 cups of beef broth or stock
- 2 large onions
- 2-3 carrots
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1 small glass of red wine
- 2 tablespoons of tomato puree
- 2 tablespoons of mild mustard
- 2 tablespoons of red paprika
- 2 stalks of rosemary or thyme
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Cut the meat into half an inch thick slices and use a meat mallet to tenderize each of them. Once tenderized, cut the slices into smaller pieces and season with black pepper from both sides.
- Heat up a few tablespoons of vegetable or olive oil in a deep pan, Wok or pot. Finely chop 2 onions and sauté on high heat until they start to brown. Add 2 cloves of chopped garlic and sauté for a few more minutes.
- Go on with 2 tbsp of soy sauce, 2 tbsp of tomato puree, 2 tbsp of mustard and 2 tbsp of red paprika. Keep adding these ingredients one by one and always mix and cook for 2 minutes before adding the next.
- Pour in a small glass of quality red wine and cook for 4-5 minutes so the alcohol evaporates.
- Add the meat now and mix it with the base properly. Add 2 stalks of rosemary or thyme, turn the heat down to low-medium, cover with a lid and braise the beef for about 30 minutes.
- 30 minutes later, the beef has released lot’s of juices but we need more liquids. Add 1 and a half cup of beef stock or broth. Cover again and braise for 30 more minutes.
- Give the braised beef sauce a taste and season with salt and pepper to taste. Once the meat has become almost fully tender, it’s time to add some vegetables. For this braised beef recipe, I’m using just carrots. I’m adding 2 carrots, cut into smaller pieces.
- Keep on braising until the carrots are fully cooked, the beef should be almost fall-apart tender by now.
- The last thing to do is to thicken up the sauce. Mix a bit of water with 2 tablespoons of all purpose flour and start adding the mixture to the pan or pot. Keep in mind that the flour takes a minute of cooking to bind with the liquids so do not all of the mixture at once.
- Once you are happy with the sauce consistency, our braised beef is ready and we can serve. I’m using mashed potatoes as the side today, but rice, pasta or baked potatoes would work just as well.