Beef in Barolo

This classic Italian dish is traditionally make with round or rump roast. Brigit Legere Binns started making it with brisket years ago in England because she didn't know how to ask for rump, and she's made it this way ever since. The sauce is rich and unctuous—the essence of Barolo. Like most braised dishes, this improves in flavor as it sits, so try to make it a day or two ahead.

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  • Servings: 6

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  • 3 pounds trimmed beef brisket
  • 3 slices bacon, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch strips
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh sage
  • 1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablepoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 medium carrots, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 2 celery ribs, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 1 bottle (750 ml) Barolo

How to make this recipe

  1. Using a small sharp knife, make 1/2-inch-deep slits all over the brisket. Push a strip of bacon into each slit using the end of a teaspoon.

  2. In a small bowl, combine the garlic, parsley, rosemary and sage; set aside. On a large plate, mix 1/3 cup of the flour with the paprika, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Dredge the brisket in the seasoned flour, then shake off the excess.

  3. In a large enameled cast-iron casserole, melt the butter in the olive oil over moderate heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until softened, about 4 minutes. Raise the heat to moderately high and push the onion to one side. Add the brisket and cook undisturbed until well browned on the bottom, about 5 minutes. Turn the brisket over and scatter the herb mixture, bay leaves, carrots and celery around it; cook until well browned on the second side, about 5 minutes longer. Transfer the meat to a platter.

  4. Preheat the oven to 300°. return the casserole to the heat and add the remaining 2 tablespoons flour. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add 1 cup of the wine and boil over high heat until reduced by half, stirring occasionally. Stir in the remaining wine and bring to a simmer. Return the brisket to the casserole and season with salt and pepper.

  5. Tightly cover the casserole and braise the meat in the oven until very tender, about 4 hours. Turn the meat every 45 minutes and add a little water to the casserole if the sauce looks very thick or the brisket begins to stick.

  6. Skim the fat from the surface of the sauce and rewarm the brisket. Transfer the meat to a cutting board and slice it across the grain, then return it to the sauce. Continue to reheat gently until hot. Discard the bay leaves before serving.

Make Ahead

Let the brisket cool, then cover and refrigerate it in its sauce for up to 2 days.

Published February 1996

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