Braised Chuck with Pear, Chocolate and Ginger

Braised-Chuck-with-Pear-and-Ginger-from-Slim-Palate

One of my favorite cuts of beef (not counting ribeyes or t-bones because those always win automatically) is easily the Chuck roast. It’s forgiving, incredibly flavorful and ridiculously versatile. It’s flavor is massively contributed to by the fact that it’s quite a nicely marbled cut. Although with the marbling and connective tissue that run through this particular cut of meat it usually does better when cooked nice and slowly until delicately tender.

Chuck-Roast-Deboned

Of course the source matters too when it comes to flavor and lucky for me I have an awesome source by the name of Yonderway Farm for beef and well, everything. They pretty much supply me for almost all my endeavors and since my latest purchase of a tenth of a cow we received more chuck roasts without considering the fact that we might get more in that order. The dilemma with that is that we already had 3, so we were stuck with 5 which is roughly 15 pounds of chuck roast. We had to get rid of some of the load after taking a look at the chest freezer.

Bartlett-Pear-

Enter one of my favorite cooking methods ever; braising. I like braising for a million reasons and I’m sure I’ve mentioned it somewhere on here before, in fact probably several times. While I love the slow cooker for when I’m strapped for time I really prefer to braise in a pot like my Le Creuset Dutch Oven. Mainly because I enjoy the intimacy and interaction you get with cooking like that. I like having the ability to control the results if I choose to where as with a slow cooker you just kind of let it do it’s thing.

Browning-Cubed-Chuck-Roast

A lot of people seem to be turned away from braising during the warmer months because these dishes are so rich and warming already but I tend to disagree. A lot of “summer” dishes tend to be just as rich and warming like ribs. Nonetheless this braise is definitely worthy of any time of the month whether it be summer, winter, spring, you name it. It suits all kinds of temperatures because it has both rich and fresh elements to the braise. The intensely aromatic star anise combined with the dry red wine and (believe it or not) unsweetened baking chocolate create a nice rich warmth while the refreshingly sweet pear, vibrant ginger and tangy rice vinegar give a nice cut to the richness.

All of the flavors along with a classic aromatic combination create the swirling amalgamation of liquid that you braise the cubed chuck roast to undeniable tenderness. For those of you who might be hesitant about the steps in the recipe, don’t be, it’s a lot easier than it sounds believe me. It’s as simple as a little browning and combining some ingredients in a pot then leaving it in an oven covered. Pretty simple if you ask me. Just make sure your oven is on when you put it in there, because yes I have actually put a braise in the oven with the oven completely off before. Cue dunce hat.

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Braised Chuck with Pear, Chocolate and Ginger
5.0 from 2 reviews
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Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 5-7
Ingredients
  • 3½-4 lbs boneless chuck roast cut into 1½ inch cubes
  • 1 inch knob of ginger peeled and grated
  • 3½ tablespoons ghee or avocado oil
  • 3 star anise (It's not as odd of an ingredient as you might think, you can find it at most grocery stores)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 medium onion sliced thin
  • 5 cloves garlic peeled and sliced thin
  • 2 cups red wine
  • 1¼ cup chicken or beef stock
  • 1 oz unsweetened baking chocolate chopped
  • 1 Bartlett pear
  • 3 tablespoons rice vinegar *See Notes*
  • salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Cut pear in half and then cut each half into 4 wedges, after cutting into wedges carve out core in each wedge. Heat 2½ tablespoons of ghee in a large pot or dutch oven over medium high heat. Pat dry cubed chuck roast and season generously with salt and pepper. Brown chuck roast in batches as to not overcrowd the pot 2-3 minutes each side until nicely browned and caramelized and place on a large dish lightly tented with foil.
  2. After everything is browned and placed on the dish pour out any remaining ghee and discard then add remaining tablespoon of ghee in pot and add onion, garlic and ginger and cook until onions begin to soften. Pour in red wine and chicken stock while scraping the bottom of the pot to get any and all stuck bits off the bottom. Add chopped chocolate and rice wine vinegar, season lightly with salt and pepper and stir then place pear slices in the pot evenly spaced apart.
  3. Carefully nestle browned beef back to the pot in a single layer then add bay leaf and stars of anise. Bring to a simmer then reduce to low heat and cover with lid and place in preheated oven for 3 hours.
  4. *This Part is optional but highly recommended* Pull out of the oven and carefully place beef and pears on a preheated dish and tent lightly with foil. Raise heat to medium high heat and reduce sauce by ½ or until you reach desired thickness and taste and season with salt and pepper if necessary.
  5. Serve with a pear or two and reduced braising liquid spooned on top.
Notes
Make sure you get plain rice vinegar and not seasoned rice vinegar(check your ingredient labels). Seasoned rice vinegar has sugar in it but regular rice vinegar does not. Rice vinegar is considered Paleo and Whole 30 compliant just as an FYI. This goes great served on top of cauliflower mash or even cauliflower rice. I would imagine it would be great in lettuce cups as well for something a little more "fresh"

 

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8 Responses to Braised Chuck with Pear, Chocolate and Ginger

  1. Rach 12 August, 2013 at 9:59 am #

    Hi, my name is Rach and I am a braise-a-holic. This looks gorgeous! Plus, since I just picked up a beef box, I have lots of braise-able cuts, so I will definitely try this out :)

    • Slim Palate 12 August, 2013 at 10:07 am #

      Thanks, I’m actually super unhappy with the styling in this shot because it was 7:00 when I shot this and the sun was going down so I just plated it without styling it what so ever so I think I’m probably going to reshoot this at some point in time. But the recipe itself is so good, which is exactly why I want to do it right by providing at least a semi-decent shot and this one doesn’t cut it.

      • Rach 12 August, 2013 at 10:17 am #

        I know that feeling! Personally, I liked the simplicity of the shots and that they weren’t over styled. It looks like you all sat down to eat a delicious meal and like I want to pull up a chair and join in :)

      • Gary 23 November, 2013 at 6:25 pm #

        Don’t feel bad about the shots, because the recipe is sooo incredible! I made this for my 16-yr-old (who lives with his mom most of the time so I don’t see him often enough) as a special treat, and boy was it a success. He started eating it and honestly I thought he was going to cry. I think he had a religious experience. He said “This is the most incredible thing I have ever put in my mouth!!”

        The two of us ate most of a 4lb chuck roast. :-)

        BTW I didn’t have any star anise so I made it without, and I put in 2oz of chocolate (more chocolate is always good) and it was fabulous.

        He’s coming over again tomorrow for a Dr. Who fest and I’m making it again.

        Thanks for the AWESOME recipe!!!!!!

  2. Ella 5 September, 2013 at 2:47 pm #

    I would love to try your recipe – it looks really delicious. Unfortunately I don’t own a dutch oven, but I have a slow cooker. Do you think it might work anyway? I’m thinking about sustituting unsweetened cocoa powder for the chocolate since unsweetened chocolate is unavailable where I live. Thanks for your answer!

    • Slim Palate 5 September, 2013 at 6:52 pm #

      I’m sure you could do it in a slowcooker and with unsweetened cocoa. It won’t be exactly the same but it should be pretty close. Be sure to brown your meat in a large dutch oven or pot then add and cook veggies and deglaze pan as you were normally following the recipe but then once you have deglazed the pan and everything just let it come to a quick simmer and dump it into a slowcooker preheated on low and leave it in there for about 6-8 hours. Good luck!

  3. Sally 24 December, 2013 at 10:11 pm #

    I made this last night . . . only I had half the meat, so I did half the liquid. That was a bad idea. The meat was really, really delicious, but everything else cooked down to nothing, just goop on the bottom of the pan. Still, the meat was delicious enough that I’ll try again with full amounts of liquid! :)

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