Braised Beef in a Tuscan Vegetable and Wine Broth Over Garlic Mascarpone Mashed Potatoes
Falling-apart tender beef that’s been slow simmered in a wine and vegetable broth and served over garlic mascarpone mashed potatoes.
This is exactly the kind of thing I want to eat for dinner when the weather is slowly shifting from summer to fall, the days gradually getting shorter, the nights growing colder. Not quite willing to let go of the flavors of fresh summer produce, I also begin craving long-roasted dishes that feel comforting and cozy.
Also, I just returned from Tuscany and am a bit obsessed with Italian cuisine at the moment. My wine cabinets are stocked with Italian wine. I have prosciutto, salami, fresh mozzarella, parmesan and burrata in my refrigerator. Every day, I eye my pasta maker and ask myself, “Can I carve out some time today to make fresh pasta?” (So, far, the answer to that question has been no… but if I keep asking, the odds are in my favor.)
So, it’s no surprise that the couple of jars of Tuscan Blendabella sitting in my pantry were calling my name this week. I mean… “Tuscan” is in the title.
A short word about chuck roast and braising
Braising meat is a beautiful thing. I am a fan. Braising generally involves a long, slow cooking time in just the right amount of liquid to tenderize meat and create a thick, rich sauce. Plus, braising turns cheaper cuts of meat into falling-apart-intensly-flavorful forkfuls of awesomeness. What – WHAT? – is not to love about that?
The characteristics of a cut of meat that makes it perfect for braising are the same characteristics that make it less suited to high-heat, quick cooking methods like searing. Braised dishes, which requires low heat and slow cooking, transform tough cuts of meat into tender, falling-apart meat and sauces that have had time to reduce until they are thick and flavorful.
If you’re going to braise beef, chuck roast is where it’s at. It’s inexpensive, marbled with fat (preventing it from drying out), and rich in flavor. When you see a recipe for braised short ribs or brisket but don’t want to spend money on short ribs or brisket – chuck roast is your best friend. It’s not only less pricy, but just might (maybe) taste even better.
So… Let’s talk Tuscan Braised Beef
Normally, this recipe would contain a list of several different kinds of fresh vegetables in addition to onions and garlic. Instead, it calls for 2 jars of Blendabella, a chunky Italian “salsa” that includes portabella mushrooms, bell peppers, sun dried tomatoes and garbanzo beans. This means SO much less chopping.
Having said that, if you’d rather use fresh veggies instead of Blendabella, the note at the bottom of the recipe will tell you what to use.
This is an all-afternoon kind of dish, but not an all-afternoon hands-on-cooking kind of dish. There is a difference. The hands-on time is pretty minimal – about 45 minutes. But, the nature of braising is long, slow cooking. So, allow for the meat to cook very slowly in your oven while you prep the garlic mascarpone mashed potatoes and get on with your day.
Garlic Mascarpone Mashed Potatoes
These potatoes deserve their own paragraph. Normally, I make mashed potatoes with a bit of cream cheese, butter, salt, pepper and butter. However, on my recent trip to Tuscany, I made a gigantic pot of mashed potatoes for a dinner party with roasted garlic and mascarpone cheese (because that’s what we had on hand) and, that’s how I make mashed potatoes now. Because … YUM.
If you can’t find mascarpone, cream cheese is also yummy as long as you use half the amount. Cream cheese has a much stronger flavor than mascarpone, so use 4 oz plus a bit of butter instead of 8 oz of mascarpone.
Optional, but highly recommended: Serve with Roasted Cabbage
Tuscan Braised Beef and Garlic Mascarpone Mashed Potatoes is fabulous served with Roasted Cabbage. Not only is roasted cabbage just about one of the simplest vegetable dishes you can make, it’s so good I’ve eaten it for dinner all on its own. The secret is to roast it at high heat so that the center of each slice of cabbage is tender and the outside is brown and crispy. Plus… look at all that gorgeous purple color that a slice of roasted cabbage adds to the plate?
Used in this recipe:
Meal Plans that Include Tuscan Braised Beef with Garlic Mascarpone Mashed Potatoes:Print
For the Braised Tuscan Beef:
- 4 lbs beef chuck roast
- Salt and pepper
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion
- 1 tbsp butter
- 2 jars Tuscan Blendabella (See recipe note to substitute fresh veggies.)
- 1 tbsp minced garlic
- 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 1/2 cups dry white wine
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 28 oz can diced tomatoes, preferably fire roasted
- 3 or 4 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 2 bay leaves
- 3/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
- 2–4 tbsp fresh lemon juice (to taste)
- OPTIONAL: grated parmesan cheese, for serving
For the Garlic Mascarpone Mashed Potatoes:
- 3 lbs Yukon gold potatoes (yellow potatoes)
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 1/2 tbsp minced garlic
- 8 oz mascarpone cheese (OR – 4 oz cream cheese + 2 tbsp butter)
- 1/4 cup milk
- Salt and pepper
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
- Cut chuck roast into 8 pieces so that you have 8 round steaks. Sprinkle the steaks generously on both sides with salt and pepper.
- Add the flour to a pie plate or shallow dish and dredge each steak in the flour to coat it on all sides with flour. Shake off excess flour and set on a plate.
- In a large heavy bottom, oven proof saucepan or dutch oven, heat the 1/4 cup olive oil over medium high heat until shimmering – just before it begins to smoke. Add 2 or 3 of the steaks to the hot oil, allowing them to brown for about 4 minutes on both sides. Remove the steaks to a clean plate and repeat with remaining steaks. Adjust heat as necessary so that the oil remains quite hot, but the flour on the steaks is not burning. You want to get a nice golden crust on each steak – if you notice black spots as you turn the steaks over, reduce the heat.
- While the steaks are browning, peel the onion, cut it in half, and cut each half into 1/4-inch slices. When all the steaks have been browned, reduce the heat to medium and add the butter to the pan and let melt. Add the onion slices and cook, stirring frequently, until soft and just beginning to brown.
- Add the 2 jars of Blendabella to the pan along with the minced garlic, red pepper flakes, and wine. Turn the heat up to high and cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes to reduce.
- Add 1 tsp each salt and pepper along with the chicken stock and diced tomatoes to the pan and stir to combine. Return the steaks to the pan, nestling them down into the sauce. Add the rosemary sprigs and bay leaves, pushing them down into the sauce, in between the steaks.
- Bring the liquid to a boil, cover, and place in the oven. Let roast, covered, for 2 hours. After 2 hours, remove the lid and let roast for another 1 & 1/2 – 2 hours, until the meat is very, very tender.
While the beef roasts, make the garlic mascarpone mashed potatoes:
- Scrub the potatoes under running water to clean. Cut them into 2 or 3 inch chunks, leaving the skin on.
- Fill a large saucepan about halfway full with water and sprinkle in about 1 tablespoon of salt. Bring to a boil over high heat. Add the potatoes to the boiling water and let cook until very tender, about 20-30 minutes, depending on the size of the chunks.
- While the potatoes cook, add the olive oil and garlic to a small skillet and set over medium heat. Let the garlic roast in the oil, stirring frequently, until it’s a rich golden brown. This will take 5-10 minutes, depending on how small you’ve minced your garlic. Remove from the heat and set aside.
- Add the mascarpone cheese to the bowl of a standing mixer – Or to a large mixing bowl.
- When the potatoes are fork tender, drain them in a colander set inside the sink. Dump the hot potatoes onto the mascarpone cheese, scrape the garlic and oil out of the skillet over the potatoes, and let sit for a minute or two to soften the cheese. In the meantime, heat the milk in the microwave until just before it begins to boil – about 45 seconds.
- If using a standing mixer, fit it with the paddle attachment, and begin mixing the potatoes on low speed to mash and mix with the garlic and mascarpone. Pour the hot milk into the potatoes while they mix and sprinkle in about 1 tsp salt and pepper. Stop the mixer to taste the potatoes and add more salt and pepper to taste.
- If using a potato masher or whisk to mash the potatoes, add the milk and 1 tsp salt and pepper while mashing the potatoes. Mash to desired consistency; taste and add more salt and pepper if desired.
To finish and serve:
- When the beef is finished cooking, gently stir in the lemon juice and chopped parsley. Taste and add more salt and pepper if desired.
- Spoon some mashed potatoes on each plate and top with a chunk of beef and plenty of sauce. Serve with grated parmesan cheese if desired.
If you’d rather use some fresh veggies instead of a couple jars of Blendabella, here’s what to use: 1 1/2 cups diced portabella mushrooms, 1/4 cup minced onion, 1/2 cup diced bell pepper, 1/2 cup garbanzo beans, 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes.