This dish seems like your typical pot roast, but it isn’t. It’s a delicious Southern Italian braise of beef, probably prepared as a Sunday afternoon dinner in Naples. The recipe called for bottom round, but I used top round instead, because I think it’s a bit more tender. Braising, the “low and slow” method of cooking, turns this relatively tough (but tasty!) cut of beef into a fork-tender, delicious roast. Although not very Italian, I like to serve it with home-made basel-herbed spaetzle.I hope you’ll try this dish!
2 oz salt pork
1 oz salame
1 oz prosciutto
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 lbs top round beef, tied with butcher’s twine 2-inch intervals
5 large yellow onions, peeled and thinly sliced
3 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 cup tomato puree
2 tsp salt
1 1/3 cups dry white wine
Finely chop together the salt pork, salame and prosciutto to a paste.
Heat oil in Dutch oven over medium heat (the Dutch oven should be just large enough to accommodate the beef and rest of ingredients). Add the salt pork mixture and saute until fat is rendered (about 3 – 4 minutes).
Add the beef to the Dutch oven and brown on all sides. Remove beef and set aside on a plate. Add the onions, carrots and celery to the pan. Soften the vegetables, but don’t brown (about 5 minutes). The Dutch oven will be full at first, but the vegetables will cook down considerably.
Add the tomato puree, salt and wine. Deglaze pan while bringing to a boil for about 1 minute. Return beef to pan. Cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer gently for 2 1/2 – 3 hours (I let go for 3), or until beef is tender.
Remove beef and tent loosely with aluminum foil. Increase heat to medium high. Cook liquid until reduced by at least half (about 20 minutes. Season sauce to taste with salt and ground black pepper. Slice beef, place on a serving platter and pour sauce over top. Serve.