Exquisite, is the only word I could think of for this depth-y dinner!
My plans for the day ended with a little dinner party at my house, after a visit to a vineyard (more about that in tomorrow’s blog!). I wanted to have nothing more to do than reheat whatever I had cooked earlier, so I could sit and have a fun time with everyone.
In situations like this, the best kind of dinner is something slow-cooked that will improve with time. This beef dish cooked in wine was just the thing. It was dead easy to put together, and the steady low heat of the oven did the work.
So, invite people over, and plan on spending all of your time at the table, not in the kitchen, by cooking this mouth-watering sensation!
You will need: 5 lbs beef, cut into large bite-sized pieces, 8 tbs extra-virgin olive oil, (I used very large sirloin beef steaks), 6 fresh sage leaves, 8 fresh thyme sprigs, 3 carrots, thickly sliced, 3 celery ribs, sliced, 3 medium onions, large dice, 1 lb (about 4 cups) white mushrooms, left whole with stems in tact save for cutting the very end off, 8-10 cups fresh spinach leaves, 8 small plum tomatoes, halved, 1 bottle of red wine, (something heavy, like a cabernet), 1/2 cup heavy cream, sour cream(optional), sliced hot peppers, (optional). Suggested accompaniments: rice, mashed potatoes, fresh, good-quality bread.
Preheat oven 275*
1 – Prep all ingredients.
2 – Season meat with coarse sea-salt and freshly ground black pepper. Put heavy pan on high heat and add 3 tbs of the oil. When it is very hot, sear meat in batches until brown on both sides. Transfer to a plate or big bowl as you go, and add more oil in-between batches.
3 – Turn heat down to medium/low and add onions, celery, carrots and herbs. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
4 – Add mushrooms and continue to cook for another 5 minutes or so. Add the wine and bring to a boil.
5 – Transfer the meat to a giant pot (that has a lid) and pour the veggies, plum tomato halves, and wine over everything. Place in oven for 3 hours. When cooked, take out of oven and add the cream and spinach. Give everything a gentle stir and put cover back on for 15 minutes. This gives the spinach time to cook into the sauce and the flavors time to settle. Taste for further seasoning before serving.
* If you are going to serve this with an accompaniment, plan to have it cooked when beef comes out of the oven.
Serve with rice, potatoes or bread. can also be served on its own.
I added a little interest with some sour cream mixed with a chilli garlic sauce and some fresh peppers from my garden.