Even though we live in California and experience very mild winters, I still feel the urge to make hearty, cold weather dinners. Braised meats, slow cooked soups and vegetable gratins get me excited about changing seasons, whether the change is actually noticeable or not. The dream of a cold, snowy winter night inspired this savory cobbler, and as the rich smell wine braised beef and mushrooms filled the house, it almost felt like a real winter night. Whether it's snowy or sunny where you live, this recipe is a fun way to elevate a standard beef braise to an elegant and hearty dinner. The gravy is rich and deeply flavored, especially when swabbed up with one of my all time favorite flaky biscuits.
Overall, the meal is relatively hands off— the beef and vegetables are braised in the oven, after which they can be stored for up to a day before making the cobbler. All that's left is to whip up the biscuit dough, arrange it on the meat and bake until golden brown. And if you’re going all out, serve it with a plummy, herbal Petit Verdot.
wine braised beef and mushroom cobbler
braised beef and mushrooms
3 lbs boneless beef chuck, cut into 1.5-inch pieces
1/2 cup flour
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 medium onions, finely chopped
4 medium carrots, peeled, finely chopped
4 celery stalks, finely chopped
1 lbs mushrooms (cremini, shiitake, chanterelle, porcini, etc), stems removed and coarsely chopped
2 garilc cloves, finely chopped
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1- 750 ml bottle dry red wine
4 sprigs thyme, leaves stripped
2 bay leaves
2 cups beef stock (I prefer low sodium)
2 1/4 cups (280 grams) all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons to 1 1/2 tablespoons (10 to 20 grams) sugar (to taste, see note above)
1 tablespoon (15 grams) baking powder
3/4 teaspoon (5 grams) table salt
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
9 tablespoons (125 grams) chilled unsalted butter, cut into small chunks
3/4 cup (175 ml) buttermilk
wine braised beef and mushrooms
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Pat beef dry and season well with salt and pepper. Add beef to flour, toss to coat, and shake off excess. Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a 3-4 quart dutch oven over medium-high heat. Working in batches as needed to avoid steaming meat, cook beef, turning often, until browned all over, 8–10 minutes per batch. Transfer to a plate. Add more oil as needed, to prevent the pan from getting too dry and the frond from burning.
Add 2 tbsp olive oil to dutch oven, then add onions, carrot and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are beginning to soften and brown, about 7 minutes. Transfer vegetables to a bowl.
Add remaining 2 tbsp olive oil to pot, and cook mushrooms until liquid is released and edges begin to brown, stirring occasionally. Mix in garlic and cook until fragrant, 1-2 minutes. Transfer mushrooms to bowl with vegetables.
Add tomato paste; cook, stirring constantly, until deep red, 2-3 minutes.
Stir in wine, then add beef with any accumulated juices. Bring to a boil, scraping to deglaze the dutch oven; then lower heat to medium and simmer until wine is reduced by half, about 25 minutes.
Add vegetables, herbs and beef stock to pot. Bring to a boil, cover, and transfer to oven. Cook until beef is tender, about 2- 2 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.
finish with cobbler topping
Once the beef is tender, remove the pot from the oven. Depending on the size of your dutch oven, you may consider transferring beef mixture to a shallower pan. Skim off fat and set aside.
Increase oven to 400°F.
Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda in large, wide bowl. Using fingertips or a pastry blender, work butter into dry ingredients until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. Add buttermilk and stir until large, craggy clumps form. Reach hands into bowl and knead mixture briefly until it just holds together.
Divide the dough into 2- 3" sized balls, depending on the size of your pan.
Place each ball of dough on top of the beef braise until it is covered. Return the pan to the oven and cook, uncovered, until biscuit topping is golden brown, 12-15 minutes
Spoon the cobbler into shallow bowls and garnish with fresh thyme.