Slow Cooker Brasato all Birra

There is something magical about long, slow-cooking when the weather is cold. Braises and stews beckon us and the cuisines of the winter open their treasure chest of recipes. When we think of Italian food we generally don’t think of beef braised in beer. That’s because most of what passes for Italian food in this country finds its inspiration from places like Florence, Rome, or Naples where beer is not a staple food or drink. But in Italy’s northernmost region of Trentino-Alto Adige where winter heavy snows and Alpine peaks support a skiing industry there are many culinary preparations that have an Austrian flavor, the kind of flavor that beer imparts.

In fact, both German and Italian are spoken in this region. There are even some nearly extinct minor languages that are still spoken in a handful of mountain villages. Trentino is a mountainous region and mountain meadows provide the pasturage for cow’s that give their milk for the regions famed cheeses. They also drink beer as much as they drink wine.

The higher elevations means the weather is colder, there is more snow, and slow-cooked stews, soups, and braises are popular as their aromas are enticing and families want the hearth to be warm all day. In this preparation, a piece of beef chuck is butterflied, which means it’s split open with a knife and spread out (butterflied) so it can be stuffed.

In the old days, cookbooks would instruct that you lard the beef which was done with a larding needle that pulled the length of solid fat into the beef and out the other side so one didn’t need to cut it open. You add the fat in this way—either through larding or butterflying—because these tough pieces of meat used for long and slow cooking don’t have much connective fat tissue to make them tender and delicious so you need to add that. In this recipe you use pancetta, cured Italian rolled bacon. The beef will be tender at its serving and boiled potatoes with parsley and butter make an excellent side dish.

Butterfly the beef or ask the butcher to do it.

Photo 1 Brasato al Birra (Trentino) (3) CWrightREZ

Lay the pancetta strips on top of the beef and close it up and tie off in 4 places with kitchen twine. Salt lightly.

Photo 2 Brasato al Birra (Trentino) (4) CWrightREZ

Photo 3 Brasato al Birra (Trentino) (5) CWrightREZ

In a flameproof casserole, melt the olive oil and butter over medium heat then cook, turning with tongs, the beef and onion until the beef is brown on all sides, about 10 minutes.

Photo 4 Brasato al Birra (Trentino) (6) CWrightREZ

Add the beer and bring to a boil. Transfer to the KitchenAid® Slow Cooker and set on “low” and leave for 5 hours.

Photo 5 Brasato al Birra (Trentino) (7) CWrightREZ

Add the broth, potato starch, mustard, and thyme, and the Slow Cooker leave on “low” for another 4 hours.

Remove the beef and set aside keeping it warm covered with aluminum in a low oven. Transfer the liquid to a saucepan and reduce over high heat until syrupy, about 50 minutes. Reduce the liquid until saucy over high heat, about 50 minutes. Slice the beef and arrange on a platter and spoon the sauce over and serve.

Photo 6 Brasato al Birra (Trentino) (10) CWrightREZ

Stewed Beef in Beer
Brasato all Birra

Makes 6 servings

INGREDIENTS

One 3-pound beef chuck
5 ounces pancetta, cut into strips
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 pound onions, thinly sliced
1 quart beer (lager)
1 quart Beef Broth (page 000)
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, potato starch, or arrowroot
3 tablespoons powdered mustard seed
1 tablespoon thyme
Salt to taste

DIRECTIONS

Butterfly the beef or ask the butcher to do it.

Lay the pancetta strips on top of the beef and close it up and tie off in 4 places with kitchen twine. Salt lightly.

In a flameproof casserole, melt the olive oil and butter over medium heat then cook, turning with tongs, the beef and onion until the beef is brown on all sides, about 10 minutes.

Add the beer and bring to a boil. Transfer to the KitchenAid® Slow Cooker and set on “low” and leave for 5 hours.

Add the broth, potato starch, mustard, and thyme, and leave the Slow Cooker on “low” for another 4 hours.

Remove the beef and set aside keeping it warm covered with aluminum in a low oven. Transfer the liquid to a saucepan and reduce over high heat until syrupy, about 50 minutes. Reduce the liquid until saucy over high heat, about 50 minutes. Slice the beef and arrange on a platter and spoon the sauce over and serve.

Photo 6 Brasato al Birra (Trentino) (10) CWrightREZ

Print


Be sure to check out Clifford’s latest book: “One-Pot Wonders” (Wiley).

One-Pot Wonders-Wright

*The Contributor of this post was provided with a free Slow Cooker by KitchenAid for this post, but this post represents the Contributor’s own opinion.*

FEATURED PRODUCTS

With four temperature settings, a Keep Warm function, and 24-hour programmability, you get the flexibility and control to cook a wide variety of flavorful dishes. And, the easy serve lid lifts and locks on each side to simplify serving and help prevent heat loss.

Learn More

KitchenAid® 6-Quart Slow Cooker with Easy Serve Lid

You might also like:

ABOUT THE BLOG

The Kitchenthusiast™ - the official KitchenAid blog - is all about possibilities, inspiration and a shared passion for making. With contributions from your favorite bloggers, you’ll discover new recipes to test, new techniques to hone and so much more. Because whether you cook, bake, brew or blend, anything you want to do in the kitchen, you can do with KitchenAid.