My husband and I have been in a soft, tender meat phase. It started with short ribs on New Year’s Eve and has been especially important in the last several weeks while he's recovered from having his wisdom teeth removed. Plus, there is something almost magical about braised meat. It takes hours to cook, but most of that time is spent leaving it alone, not babysitting it in the oven. This recipe, with a dry mustard and herb rub, was incredibly flavorful. Onions made the sauce sweet, paprika imparted warmth, and mustard rounded out the dish. I guess what I’m trying to say is it was pretty spectacular.
The recipe also comes from a new magazine I picked up on a whim, Fine Cooking. Sure, I’ve seen it on the shelves, but I already have my four subscriptions and haven’t been interested in flipping through another. But the cover recipe, and everything I saw inside its glossy pages before tossing it into the cart, looked fantastic. And so far I have not been disappointed.
Mustard Braised Beef
Recipe adapted from Fine Cooking
I modified the original recipe for indoor grilling, as well as improvised a couple of ingredients. No molasses (oops, forgot it at the store), and we substituted scotch for bourbon to save us from buying a bottle of alcohol we might never finish.
For the beef:
2 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
2 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary
2 tsp. sweet Hungarian paprika
1 tsp. dry mustard (preferably Coleman’s)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 4-lb. boneless beef chuck roast
For the braising liquid:
2 to 2-1/2 cups lower-salt chicken broth
1/2 cup bourbon
1 Tbs. coarse-grain Dijon mustard
2 tsp. unsulphured molasses
2 large yellow onions, halved and thinly sliced (about 4 cups)
4 medium cloves garlic, peeled
In a small bowl, combine the thyme, rosemary, paprika, dry mustard, and 2 tsp. each salt and pepper. Sprinkle the spice blend all over the roast. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours but preferably overnight.
Drizzle some olive oil into a large Dutch oven and warm over medium-high heat. Grill the roast until nicely browned on all sides, 4 to 6 minutes per side. Let cool briefly and then tie the roast with several loops of butcher’s twine. Put the roast in an 8-quart heavy-duty pot.
Reduce heat to low. In a small bowl, whisk 1/2 cup of the chicken broth with the bourbon (we used scotch), mustard, and molasses and pour the mixture over the meat. Scatter the onions and garlic on top of the meat; it’s fine if some fall off. Put the pot on the grill over the cool zone. Cover the pot, and cook for 1 hour.
Uncover the pot and turn the roast over so the onions are now on the bottom. Check the liquid level in the pot and add broth as necessary until there’s about an inch of liquid in the pot. Continue to cook, pot uncovered, for 1 hour, stirring the onions and checking the liquid level every 20 minutes and adding broth as needed to maintain about an inch of liquid.
Replace the lid on the pot and continue to cook the meat until fork-tender, about 1 hour more, checking after 30 minutes and adding more broth as needed to maintain 1 inch of liquid. Move the meat to a tray and pat dry. Pour the onions and juices into a heatproof vessel, such as a Pyrex measuring cup, and let sit until the fat rises to the top. Skim off and discard the fat.
Pour back into the Dutch oven and cook over medium-high heat, until reduced and thickened slightly, about 5 minutes.
To serve, remove the string and slice the meat into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Ladle the onion mixture over the meat and serve.