Chef Daniel Boulud may be one of the most recognizable chefs in the world, but many of his recipes are quite homey. Braising is one of the chef’s favoured cooking methods. Here’s his recipe for flavour-packed beef shoulder served at db Bistro Moderne in New York.
4 lb. flatiron steak or other beef chuck
6 cups dry red wine
1/4 cup cognac or brandy
1/4 lb. country bacon, cut into 1/2"-thick strips
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
Bouquet garni (4 sprigs flat-leaf parsley, 1 sprig thyme, 1 sprig rosemary and 1 bay leaf, tied with kitchen string)
6 stalks celery, trimmed and cut on the bias into 1/2"-thick slices
4 large carrots, trimmed and cut on the bias into 1/2"-thick slices
2 large onions, cut into 1/2"-thick slices or wedges
2 cups beef stock, low-sodium canned broth or water
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
Coarse sea salt or kosher salt
1-1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
Step 1: The day before you plan to cook the beef, place it in a nonreactive bowl or Pyrex dish. Remove the zest of 1 orange using a vegetable peeler, including as little of the white pith as possible, and julienne. Juice both oranges and strain the juice.
Step 2: In a large bowl, combine the orange juice and zest, red wine, cognac, bacon, garlic and bouquet garni. Pour the marinade over the beef, add the celery, carrots and onions, cover and marinate for at least 12 hours or overnight in the fridge.
Step 3: The day of, place a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 325°F.
Step 4: Transfer the beef to a platter. Strain the marinade through a colander into a medium saucepan, reserving the vegetables and herbs. Pour the beef stock into the pan and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and keep at a slow, steady simmer.
Step 5: Warm the vegetable oil and butter in a 7-qt. cast-iron pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Pat the beef dry and season all over with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the beef with flour on all sides.
Step 6: When the oil is hot, add the beef to the pot and sear until golden brown on all sides, 12-15 minutes. Pour in the hot stock mixture and add the reserved vegetables and bouquet garni.
Step 7: Cover the pot and transfer it to the oven. Braise, basting and turning the beef every 30 minutes, until the meat is fork tender, 3 to 3-1/2 hours.
Step 8: Discard the bouquet garni and serve. If the sauce is too thin or not intensely flavoured enough, ladle most of it off into another pot and simmer until it thickens and intensifies. Then, add it back to the pot and serve.