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    The confident cook

    Recipe: Hearty braised beef simmers with currant jelly in a sweet-and-sour sauce

    Sweet-and-sour braised beef.
    karoline boehm goodnick for The Boston Globe
    Sweet-and-sour braised beef.

    This hearty braised beef chuck makes a warming end to a frosty winter day. Take time to brown the cut-up meat thoroughly, working in small batches so it caramelizes all over. Simmer with red wine, wine vinegar, and red currant jelly for several hours or until the beef is fork-tender, then add a little cream and grainy French mustard to finish the sweet-and-sour sauce. The grainy mustard is essential, but if you can’t find red currant jelly, use the same amount of cranberry sauce or lingonberry jam. Serve with egg noodles or potatoes. It’s just right after a day on the slopes or in your own driveway, shoveling till you’re freezing.

    Sweet-and-sour braised beef

    Serves 4

    3pounds beef chuck, cut into 2½-inch chunks
    Salt and pepper, to taste
    3tablespoons flour
    3tablespoons canola oil
    1onion, chopped
    3cloves garlic, finely chopped
    1tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
    1tablespoon tomato paste
    1cup red wine
    ½cup red wine vinegar
    ¾cup red currant jelly
    2cups chicken stock
    ½cup heavy cream
    ¼cup grainy French mustard, or another grainy style
    ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley

    1. In a large bowl, sprinkle beef with salt and pepper, Sprinkle with flour and toss well.

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    2. In a wide flameproof casserole over medium-high heat, heat the oil. Working in batches, brown the beef for 3 to 5 minutes per side or until very well browned. Transfer to a bowl.

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    3. Add the onion, garlic, and thyme. Cook, stirring often, for 3 minutes, or until softened. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, 1 minute more. Stir in the wine , scraping the sediment on the bottom of the pan. Cook for 3 minutes.

    4. Add the vinegar, jelly, stock and stir well to incorporate the jelly. Return the beef and any juices in the bowl to the pan. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and cover the pan. Simmer for 2½ hours, or until beef is quite tender when pierced with a fork.

    5. With a slotted spoon, transfer the meat to a clean bowl. Stir in the cream and cook, stirring often, for 10 to 15 minutes, or until juices thicken.

    6. Stir in the mustard and return the beef and any juices in the bowl to pan. Toss gently to heat the meat and coat it with sauce.

    Karoline Boehm Goodnick can be reached at kboehmgoodnick@gmail.com