Raise Your Braise
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The Step-by-Step Guide to Braising Beef

"The better I got as a cook," my chef in culinary school once said, "the more I loved the cheap cuts." Anyone can grill a good steak, he meant, but only a real cook can take gristly meat and make it great. On this point, we disagree a little. I think anyone with a couple of hours and some pride can learn to braise bony, tendony meat into tender, delicious submission, to wield the transformative power of a slow, rich, aromatic simmer. Here's a recipe for a simple braised beef, flavored with smoke and beer – but really, you won't even need a recipe once you learn the process behind it. Get comfortable with this method, then mix and match your favorite ingredients and flavors.

Smoky Beer-Braised Beef

  • 2 lbs beef chuck or other braising cut, such as short rib
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Vegetable oil, as needed
  • 12 oz porter, stout, or other beer
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, finely chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tsp Spanish smoked paprika (pimentón), plus more to taste
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 pints beef or chicken stock
  • Soy sauce, to taste
  • Brown sugar, to taste
  • 6 small radishes, thinly sliced, for finishing
  • 1 stalk celery, finely chopped, for finishing

Read on for preparation instructions.

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