Beef Braised in a Tomato and White Wine Sauce with Fennel Seeds and Saffron (Brasato di Manzo allo Zafferano)

Brasato_di_Manzo1 (1 of 1)This braise of beef hails from the Puglia region of Italy, and although hearty, I believe it’s prepared year-round there. Another simple and delicious Mediterranean dish, this recipe’s unique ingredients all come together during very nicely the braising process. Wonderful over freshly made soft polenta (recipe for future post)! I hope you’ll try this tonight (or next weekend)!

1/3 cup olive, plus 1 tsp
3 large garlic cloves, peeled and minced
2 Tbsp fennel seeds
2 1/2 lbs trimmed beef chuck, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
1 1/2 cups dry white wine
1/4 tsp saffron threads
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 14-oz can whole peeled tomatoes with their juices, hand-squeezed into small bits in bowl
1 tsp sugar
Freshly grated parmesan cheese
1 Tbsp chopped parsley

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

In small pan, heat 1/3 cup olive oil over medium-low heat. Add garlic and gently cook for 2 minutes (don’t brown!). Add fennel seeds and cook another 1 minute. Combine olive oil mixture well with beef in a large bowl. Cover and let marinate at room temperature for 1 hour.

Meanwhile, bring wine to a boil in a small bowl. Remove from heat and add saffron. Stir, cover and let steep.

In a large Dutch oven, heat remaining 1 tsp olive oil over high heat. Add marinated beef, salt and pepper, and brown on all sides, about 5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. Add tomatoes and wine/saffron mixture to pan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer until cooked down a bit,  deglazing about 5 minutes.  Add back beef. Increase heat to high and stir until beef mixture begins to boil. Cover and place in oven. Cook until beef is just about falling apart, about 2 hours. Remove from oven and bring to a boil over high heat. Cook until thickened, about 8 minutes. Stir in sugar. Serve over polenta and garnish with parmesan and parsley.

Serves 6.



12 thoughts on “Beef Braised in a Tomato and White Wine Sauce with Fennel Seeds and Saffron (Brasato di Manzo allo Zafferano)

    1. AnotherDish Post author

      Thanks, Ronit. I generally associate saffron with fish or chicken, and fennel with, well, I’m not sure. But together with beef, I think they are great.

    1. AnotherDish Post author

      Hi Karen,

      Yes, one doesn’t think of fennel with beaf, but I think it (with the other flavors), go very well with the beef! Please let me know what you think if you ever try it.

  1. Francesca Maria

    It must taste fantastic. I like the fennel in it. Here in Sicily we use fennel a lot, especially in our sausages.

    1. AnotherDish Post author

      Yes, I think it tastes fantastic. Here in the US, we typically use fennel with pork and maybe fish, but we need to learn to use it with other things because I think it’s very versatile.

  2. That other cook...

    beautiful dish! it has been so long since I’ve slow cooked anything. I have to do it at least one last time before this cold weather is gone 🙂 I might give your recipe a try, sounds absolutely delicious!


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