Italians know their way around a braise. This dish, with just a few ingredients and a few steps, works well because the long, slow cook intensifies the flavors and renders the meat almost fork tender. This is an easy dish to get started and then leave covered on the stove while you do all the other things keeping you so busy during the holidays. It’s a lazy-day dinner, for sure. Just make sure you start it early enough that you can give it the 90 minute braise that makes it so delicious. I know I could reduce the calories a bit by using fat-free cream, but the dish is already lean and the punch of richness and flavor that comes from just a little of the real deal here? Worth it. I also use San Marzano tomatoes. They come from one region in Italy. I love them for the bright tomato flavor they have. They can be pricey, but watch for them on sale–I think it’s worth it to use these when they star alongside the beef in this dish.
Prep time: about 15 minutes
Cook time: 90 minutes to braise
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound Laura’s Lean Beef Eye of Round cut into 4 steaks
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup red wine
2 cups canned Italian San Marzano tomatoes
8 sprigs fresh oregano
1/4 cup heavy cream
Extra sprigs of oregano for garnish
1. Heat oil in a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Pat the steaks dry with paper towels and salt and pepper the steaks. When oil is almost shimmering, add steaks and cook 5 minutes on each side, browning well. Add red wine and move steaks around a bit so you can scrape up any browned bits.
2. Add tomatoes, breaking them up with a fork if you are using whole tomatoes. Add oregano sprigs. Bring all to boil, reduce to low and cover. Cook, barely simmering and covered for 1 1/2 hours. Check skillet every 30 minutes, turn the steaks and add a bit of water if it looks like sauce from tomatoes is getting too dried out and cooking away.
3. Remove steak from skillet and keep warm on platter. Stir cream into sauce whisking if needed, to make smooth, creamy tomato sauce. Pull out any oregano sprigs you can see (most leaves should have dropped off). Pour sauce over steaks, garnish with additional fresh oregano and serve immediately. Serving suggestion: polenta
Nutrition information for 1 Serving (1 steak plus 1/3 of sauce):
Calories 236; Calories from Fat 73 (30% from Fat); Fat 8g; Saturated Fat 3g; Cholesterol 60mg; Sodium 508mg; Carbohydrate 13g; Fiber 3g; Protein 28g; Vitamin A 11%; Vitamin C 50%; Calcium 10% Iron 28%