Cocoa-Crusted Beef Braised in Rosso Conero Wine (Brasato di manzo al Rosso Conero)

Cocoa-Crusted Beef

1 rump roast or top sirloin roast, about 2 lbs. tied into a compact shape
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 c. all-purpose flour
1/4 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
3 T. olive oil
3 T. unsalted butter
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
2 T. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 T. chopped fresh rosemary
2 bay leaves
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 bottle Rosso Conero or other dry red wine

Sprinkle the meat with salt and pepper. On a large plate, stir together the flour and cocoa. Dust the roast on all sides with the flour-cocoa mixture, shaking off the excess and reserving it.

In a heavy skillet, heat the olive oil over high heat. Add the roast and brown on all sides, 10 to 15 minutes. Set aside.

In a Dutch oven, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot, celery, parsley, rosemary, bay leaves and garlic and saute until softened, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the browned meat and the wine and bring to a gentle boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer until the meat is tender , about 2 1/2 hours.

Transfer the meat to a carving board and cover with aluminum foil to keep warm. Remove and discard the bay leaves. If the sauce is too thin, reduce over high heat to a satisfactory consistency adding 2 T. of the reserved flour-cocoa mixture as the sauce reduces.

Slice the roast and serve hot, with the pan juices spooned over the top.

Variation: To prepare this recipe in a slow cooker, reduce the wine by half and cook on low for about 5 1/2 hours.

Serves: 4

Source: Italian Slow and Savory by Joyce Goldstein, Chronicle Books, 2004

Prepared by: Margo for the December 2009 meeting.