Monday, June 11, 2018

How to Make Sardinian Braised Beef in Cannonau Wine – Easy Italian Braised Beef Recipe


"Braising is what cooking is truly about--transformation. You start with a tough, often inexpensive, cut of meat, and through your care and knowledge as a cook, you turn it into something tender and succulent and exquisite. That is true cooking, cooking that engages both mind and soul." 
-Michael Ruhlman

What is in Cannonau Wine?

Cannonau di Sardegna Wine - Cannonau di Sardegna is a red wine from the Italian island of Sardinia. It is made from Cannonau, the local name for the Grenache – one of Sardinia's most successful wine grapes.


Cannonau is a wonderful, full-bodied Sardinian wine and is well worth seeking out for this recipe as its robust character really complements the beef if you are braising. Known in Italy as vino nero (black wine), scientific research has proved it contains more procyanidins (antioxidants that are most effective in protecting against hardening of the arteries) than any other wine in the world – one of the fact that could explain the incredible life spans of the island’s inhabitants according to Dan Buettner (you get this book without payment, click now… The Blue Zones Solutions). Blue Zones are those places with the world's longest-lived and thus healthiest people. So cook this and live long!

Is Cannonau the Same as Grenache?

In Italy, Grenache is most commonly found as Cannonau in Sardinia where it is one of the principal grapes in the island's deeply colored, full bodied red wines that routinely maintain alcohol levels around 15%. The Sardinian D.O.C. wine Cannonau di Sardegna is by law at least 90% local Grenache (Cannonau). Grenache is also grown in other Italian regions, under names as Granaccia, Vernaccia Nera, Alicante, and Tocai rosso.

Braised Beef in Cannonau Wine - Brasato di manzo al Cannonau


A successful or delicious Italian braise beef recipe intermingles the flavors of the foods being cooked with those of the cooking liquid. This cooking method dissolves the meat's collagen into gelatin, which can deeply enrich and thicken the liquid. 

Braising is economical (as it allows the use of tough and inexpensive cuts of meat), and efficient (as it often enables an entire meal to be prepared in a single pot or pan).

Since the wine is an essential part of this stew, you should use authentic Cannonau Wine, something you would be pleased to drink too.

Serves 4


800g beef brisket (100% grass-fed if available), trimmed and cut into 3cm cubes
3 tablespoons coconut oil or vegetable oil
750ml bottle of full-bodied red wine (preferably Cannonau Wine)
250ml hot beef stock
2 bay leaves
4 tablespoons olive oil
3 red onions, peeled and each cut into 6 wedges
2 large carrots, halved lengthways and sliced into 3cm lengths
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper


1) Season the meat with salt and pepper. Heat the vegetable oil in a large, heavy based saucepan or flameproof casserole over a medium to high heat. When very hot, fry the meat in 3 batches until well browned on all sides. Return all the meat to the pan.

2) Pour over the wine and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 15 minutes or until reduced by half, stirring occasionally. 

3) Pour over the stock, add the bay leaves and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer gently for 1½ hours.

4) Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Add the onions, carrots and thyme and fry for about 8 minutes or until golden brown, stirring occasionally.

5) Tip the cooked vegetables into the pan with the beef and stir to combine. Replace the lid and simmer for a further 50 minutes or until tender. Add a little hot water if needed.

6) Remove the pan from the hob and leave to rest with the lid on for 15 minutes, then serve.

What to serve with braised beef? Serve with plain rice or warm potato salad.

Try Another Easy Beef Recipe:

a) Best Boeuf (beef) Bourguignon by Julia Child is Better than Jamie Oliver's Recipe- Instant Pot - Electric Pressure Cooker

b) Filet de Boeuf Richelieu- Beef Filet Richelieu Recipe

c) Marsala Beef Stew Recipe

d) Flavorful Rib-Eye Steaks with Cognac Sauce- Steak Recipes

e) Beef Flank Steak using Sous Vide Cooking Technique

How to Cook the Perfect Braised Beef: Tips and Hacks

1) How to Buy Fresh Meat? What to Look for When Buying Beef with Pictures


2) Tips to Cooking Meat

3) What is Cooking Loss in Meat?

4) What are the Factors Affecting Beef Texture and Juiciness?

5) How to thicken the broth of braised beef? With a roasting pan of rendered salt pork and beef scraps, the rest of the process is all about assembly, layer by layer—vegetables first, then beef. After adding flour (to thicken the stew) and deglazing the pan with the improvised broth, you prop up the beef with a bed of aromatics (onions, carrots, garlic, porcini mushrooms, and herbs) so the chunks of meat poking above the liquid brown nicely and the surrounding liquid simmers and adds complexity.

Homemade beef broth is the best choice in making braised beef. If you have no homemade beef bone broth, there is no problem. Commercial beef broth is the next best option, but it needs a little help on the flavor front from umami enhancers like tomato paste, anchovy paste, and porcini mushrooms. 

For the broth’s body, stirring in a little powdered gelatin imitates the rich consistency of homemade beef stock made with gelatin-rich beef bones.

6) How to finish cooking of braised beef correctly? This braised beef is called Braised Beef in Cannonau Wine for a reason. A full bottle brings full flavor—but after all that braising, it’s also a bit flat. Opening a bottle on another to splash some in at the end of cooking is downright extravagant. A more cheap solution is to hold back part of the bottle until the final reduction of the sauce, for a noticeably brighter, but not boozy, finish.

7) How to make flavorful braised beef? Cooking the best braise beef in the oven (if you prefer using your oven) is a game changer in terms of time and ease, but it’s important to eke out flavor at every turn. Salting the roast (well-marbled chuck eye is your best choice) seasons the meat and helps it keep moisture during cooking. 

Don’t throw out those scraps when cutting the meat into chunks—brown them with salt pork (the best choice for lardons). The result will be a meaty flavor boost at no extra cost.

8) What about browning the meat or Maillard reaction? We normally think of browning as a high-heat operation that occurs on the stovetop. But given enough time (and there’s plenty of unattended braising time) browning can occur in a cooler environment—like an oven—as long as the beef is exposed to the air. 

Switching from a lidded Dutch oven (the usual vessel for a braise) to an open roasting pan accomplishes this. With the beef arranged on top of the vegetables and other solid ingredients, it can brown quite a lot—and all the while you can do something else.


America's Test Kitchen (Editor). 2015. 100 Recipes Everyone Should Know How to Make Well: The Relevant (and Surprising) Essential Recipes for the 21st Century Cook. America's Test Kitchen. ISBN-13: 978-1940352015

Dan Buettner (Author) and Joe Barrett (Narrator). 2015. The Blue Zones Solution: Eating and Living Like the World's Healthiest People, Unabridged. Blackstone Audio, Inc. ASIN: B00UY0DOF4

Gino D'Acampo. 2016. Gino's Islands in the Sun: 100 recipes from Sardinia and Sicily to enjoy at home, Illustrated edition. Hodder & Stoughton. ISBN-13: 978-1473619647

Michael Ruhlman. 2015. Ruhlman's How to Braise: Foolproof Techniques and Recipes for the Home Cook. Little Brown and Company. ISBN-13: 978-0316254137

Watch Related Youtube Video: Blue Zones Secrets of a Long Life (Start watching at 13:29 about the good benefits of Cannonau Wine)

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