Braised Blade of Beef Sous Vide with Peperonata and Salsa Verde

Bollito misto is a classic Italian recipe from Piemonte of boiled meat with various sauces, including salsa verde. At Ristorante Trippi in Valtellina I enjoyed a dish inspired by bollito misto, which was a boiled blade of beef with salsa verde and peperonata. The beef was so tender you could eat it with a spoon, but it didn’t have a strong beefy flavor. That is the problem of boiling meat: a lot of the flavor will end up in the cooking water (as you are basically preparing a stock). But I loved the combination of the beef with the salsa verde and peperonata.

Sous vide allows is to render the beef just as tender, but with a lot more flavor. It just takes a lot longer. Instead of boiling the beef for a couple of hours, for this dish I cooked the beef sous vide for 48 hours at 68C/155F. But it is worth it. You can cook multiples portions simultaneously and freeze the rest, which can be quickly defrosted and reheated. The beef can be cooked 24 hours at 74C/165F instead, but with 48 hours at 68C/155F it will be a little more tender and a little more juicy.

If you can’t find a blade roast, top blade steak, or whatever it is called where you are (photo above, in the United States the tendon in the center is often removed and then it is called flat iron steak), you can also use boneless shortribs or another well marbled beef roast.

Ingredients

Serves 4

600 grams (1.3 lbs) blade of beef roast

salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 Tbsp olive oil

For the peperonata

1 red bell pepper, in strips

1 yellow bell pepper, in strips

1 onion, halved and sliced

1 garlic clove, in 2 or 3 thick slices

200 grams canned peeled tomatoes (half of a can of 400 grams/14 oz), pureed in the food processor

salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 Tbsp olive oil

For the salsa verde

40 grams (1.3 oz) flat leaf parsley, leaves only

1 garlic clove

1 hard-boiled egg yolk (or cooked sous vide for 1 hour at 74C/165F)

1 Tbsp capers, preferably salted capers, rinsed and patted dry

1 sour pickle

2 anchovy fillets

2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1/2 Tbsp white wine vinegar

Instructions

Season the beef with salt and allow the salt to penetrate in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour but preferably 8 hours or overnight.

I prefer to sear braised meat before cooking sous vide, because raw meat will get a nice sear more easily and there is no risk of the meat falling apart. Brown the beef on all sides in olive oil over high heat. Allow the meat to cool off before vacuum sealing it.

Cook the beef 48 hours sous vide at 68C/155F. The timing does not have to be precise; anywhere between 44 and 52 hours will be fine.

The salsa verde is best prepared at least an hour or the day before, to allow the flavors to blend. Combine all ingredients for the salsa verde in the bowl of a blender…

…and blend until smooth. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt. If you prepare the salsa verde more than an hour in advance, then store it in the refrigerator, covered, and allow to come to room temperature an hour before serving. …en pureer tot het glad is.

For the peperonata, heat two tablespoons olive oil in a frying pan. Add the onion…

…and stir over medium heat until the onion is translucent. Then add the garlic, sliced thickly.

Stir for another minute.

Then add the bell peppers, and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

I explain the best way to cut bell peppers here.

Cover the pan and allow the peppers to braise over medium-low heat for about 15 minutes.

Stir the peppers now and then to ensure they cook evenly.

After 15 minutes remove the garlic…

…and add 200 grams of pureed canned peeled tomatoes.

Bring to a boil, cover, and allow to simmer gently for about 15 minutes.

The peppers should end up cooked, but with some bite to them. The tomatoes should have thickened somewhat, but not too much.

Take the beef out of the bag, and add the juices from the bag to the peperonata. This is not a classic ingredient for peperonata, but it would be a waste to throw away all that beefy flavor.

Stir to incorporate the beef juices in the peperonata. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Serve the beef with peperonata, with the salsa verde on top.

Flashback

Scarpaccia is a zucchini cake from the northern coast of Tuscany. There are two versions: savory from the town of Camaiore, and sweet from Viareggio. Scarpaccia means “ugly shoe” and refers to the shape, which is rather thin (about 1 cm or half an inch thick). In the photo above you can appreciate why it is called that, although you could make it look pretty with a bit of icing sugar and a garnish of some basil leaves. More important: it is delicious, and easy to prepare. This can be served for breakfast, with tea or coffee, or as a dessert.

7 thoughts on “Braised Blade of Beef Sous Vide with Peperonata and Salsa Verde

  1. Next time I make salsa verde and peperonata shall use your recipes – thanks ! When you stem from NE Europe boiled beef is practically a weekly standby, albeit with less interesting sauces . . . . since both beef and broth are most practical to have around must make even if the thermometer is getting close to 40 C !!! Hope you both are enjoying your Yule break in good health and spirits . . .

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  2. Would a less expensive cut of beef result in the same tenderness with Sous Vide? I think this would be a huge favourite with JT.
    Does Europe have Instapots? There is one that is supposed to be able to do Sous Vide and I wondered what your opinion of the matter would be. I don’t do it enough to invest in a professional set-up like yours but wouldn’t mind once in a while and the Instapot does so much more, I could probably get rid of my slow cooker and pressure cooker.
    Hope you and Kees had a wonderful Christmas and that you will have a very Happy and Healthy New Year. Sadly our winter trip to Spain was cancelled but we are hoping to just go later, perhaps in the spring.

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    1. Hi Eva,
      Yes, with sous vide you can make a less expensive cut of beef as tender as you like. I have heard of the Instapot and they are imported here. You don’t really need a ‘professional’ sous vide setup, all you need is an Inkbird sous vide immersion circulator ($70 only) and an old beer cooler or other insulated container. Getting rid of a slow cooker makes sense if you have a sous vide, but I often use my pressure cooker and sous vide at the same time. So I wouldn’t want them in one appliance. A sous vide immersion circulator is also more flexible in terms of the size of things you can cook with it, as you can just stick it in larger container. The Insta pot will probably be too small to do a whole slab of ribs, for example.
      Our Christmas was wonderful, with a lot of good company, food, and wine. Happy New Year to the both of you too! We have a trip to Costa Rica coming up, hopefully.

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