This juicy braised beef recipe is so tender and flavorful! The gravy is infused with red wine, molasses, cranberries, and onions. It’s perfect for cold nights or holiday entertaining. The best news, it’s super easy to do!
Fresh cranberries are in season this time of year. I love to stock up on these tart little berries and use them in all kinds of seasonal dishes, like my Squash Bake, Homemade Cranberry Sauce, and Eggnog French Toast.
In this braised beef recipe, the cranberries are not only pretty and festive, but the combination with the savory beef is magical.
What does it mean to braise beef?
Before we get into the how-to, you might be wondering what exactly is braising meat.
Braising is a cooking method that combines both wet and dry heat. First the food is sauteed or seared at a high temperature, then it is finished in a covered pot at a lower temperature with some liquid.
How to make Braised Beef with Cranberries
This method is ideal for tenderizing less tender and typically less expensive cuts of meat. I’ve made it with both beef brisket and beef chuck roast and they both turn out fabulous. The pictures in this post reflect chuck roast.
- Beef Brisket or Chuck Roast
- Flour- this is what gives the juice or gravy it’s thickness
- Red Wine- I recommend a dry red wine such as Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon. This adds fullness and flavor
- Pearl Onions
Step One: Sear the meat
- Season the beef with salt and pepper. Be generous on the salt.
- Heat a small amount of oil over high heat in a 5-quart dutch oven or heavy pot.
- Add the meat and cook until browned, rotating once, about 8-10 minutes.
- Remove the beef from the pot onto a plate.
Step Two: Make the Gravy
- Add the flour and stir for about 30 seconds.
- Add broth, wine, water, molasses, half the cranberries, and the bay leaf. Bring to a boil. Return beef to the pot, and cover.
Step Three: Bake
- Transfer to a preheated 350° oven and bake for 3 hours.
- After 3 hours, remove the pot and stir in onions. Cover it again and return it to the oven. Cook another 30 minutes.
- Remove the pot from the oven and stir in the remaining cranberries. This time leave the braised beef uncovered, and return it to the oven 30 minutes more.
- Remove the bay leaf before serving.
And there you have it! It’s very little hands-on time that results in a super impressive dish.
You can slice it up and serve it with the gravy on top, or just grab it straight out of the pan. It will be fork tender and melt in your mouth.
Freezing and Storing
The leftovers should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days.
To reheat them, you can place it all back in a pan and gently reheat it over the stove, covered at medium heat, occasionally stirring. Or, to reheat it in the oven, put it back in the pot, cover it and heat at 300 until warmed throughout, about 30 minutes.
To freeze leftovers, place the meat and the gravy in two separate containers. Ziplock bags work great too. Thaw before reheating.
More Holiday Recipes
whether your entertaining or just serving up seasonal dishes for your family, check out these recipes!
Braised Beef with Cranberries
- Dutch oven or large oven proof pot
- 3 pounds beef brisket chuck roast works great too
- coarse salt and ground pepper
- 3 Tbs all-purpose flour
- 15 ounces can beef broth
- 1 cup dry red wine merlot or cabernet Sauvignon
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 Tbs unsulfured molasses
- 2 cups water
- 12 ounces fresh cranberries
- 16 oz frozen pearl onions
- Preheat oven to 350 with rack in lowest position.
- Season beef with salt and pepper.
- Heat a 5 quart dutch oven or heavy pot over medium high.
- Add brisket, cook until browned, 8-10 minutes, rotating once.
- Transfer beef to a plate
- Add flour to pot and cook, stirring, 30 seconds.
- Add broth, wine, bay leaf, molasses, half the cranberries, and 2 cups of water; bring to a boil. Return beef to pot, and cover.
- Transfer to oven; bake 3 hours.
- Stir in onions; cover, and return pot to oven. Cook 30 minutes more.
- Stir in remaining cranberries; return pot to oven. Cook uncovered, until beef is fork-tender, 30 minutes more.
- Discard bay leaf before serving.
- You can use beef brisket or chuck roast, both work beautifully.
- If you are serving more than six, you can easily double the amount of beef, but the amount of cranberries, onions, and everything else can stay the same. It produces plenty of gravy. You may need to use a larger dutch oven.