Coffee is another one of those underutilized ingredients that loves red meat but never really gets a good chance to show that love. I have already done it as a dry rub in a steak so why not dump some leftover joe from the morning into a braise dish at the night time (waste not want not)? In essence wake up that boring beef and noodles (ok even I have to admit that was a horrible attempt at humor).
To those who are freaked out by the idea of using coffee in this dish just relax it does not leave a strong coffee taste that would be reminiscent of a bad steak and eggs breakfast at your local greasy hole. Instead the coffee adds a nice earthy flavor (not dirt flavor) and brings a heavier bold flavor that compliments the wonderful beef flavor left in the sauce from hours of connective tissue and fat breaking down.
For this recipe you will need:
- Couple lbs of chuck roast cut into 1 inch cubes
- 2 cups of coffee
- 2 cups of chicken or veal stock (I tried to avoid beef just because I did not want to overpower the dish with a heavy stock)
- 2 bay leaves
- Couple sprigs of fresh thyme
- Pinch of crushed red pepper
- TB of tomato paste
- 1 onion finely diced
- 1 carrot finely diced
- 1 stalk of celery finely diced
- 3 cloves of garlic finely diced
- Kosher salt and black pepper
- All purpose flour
- High temp oil (canola is your friend)
Salt, pepper, and flour the chuck roast cubes and shake off the excess. In your favorite Dutch oven over medium-high heat add in a good squirt of the oil and add 1/2 of the beef mixture (remember crowded pan is steamed meat not nice crispy crusty meat). Cook till the meat is browned all over, remove, and add in the other half. Add all the meat back into the pot with the tomato paste and stir around for about 30 seconds to coat the meat with the tomato paste.
Add in the coffee, stock, crushed red pepper, thyme, and bay leaves. Bring this mixture to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover, and let it go for a good hour and a half.
After an hour and a half add in the onion, celery, carrot, and garlic. This is also a good time to taste everything and do minor adjustments. The major reason for waiting this long to add in the aromatics is because if you add them in the beginning by the time the dish is done they are mush with zero personality. This way they get to maintain some texture and still help build up the sauce as they break down over the next hour.
Cover and let this mixture simmer for another hour. If the liquid starts to get low add in some more stock or water.
After two and a half hours remove the lid and you will be rewarded with meat that is falling apart. If the sauce in the pan is still pretty thin mix 1 TB of cornstarch in 1 TB of water and whisk that into the sauce to thicken it up.
There is no better way to serve this meat than with some good old fashion Amish style egg noodles.