I left the Midwest after the coldest winter on record.

“I’m going South,” I told my parents. And for 18 years, I basked in Florida’s sunshine.

Now, though — firmly ensconced the past 12 years in Maryland — I whine in my coffee every February.

“Can’t winter end?”

We suffered through howling, sub-zero winds yesterday. Dinner needed to be rustic, homey, and — above all — warming.

But we all craved something else: Something crunchy and citrusy and springy. Something to remind us that the cold won’t (we hope) last forever.

beef3That’s how this dinner came to the table: A slow-braised roast, topped with a crunchy slaw. The meat is cooked in a mixture of dark beer, Dijon mustard and soy sauce; the slaw is made of endive, celery, radishes and citrus. A winter braise for the cold; a taste of springtime for the February blues.

It wasn’t Florida. But it put us in a sunny state.

Braised Beef With Sunny Slaw

Make this in your oven or a crock pot. It’s delicious both ways.

For the beef:

  • 3-pound boneless chuck roast
  • 1 cup dark beer
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 onion, coarsely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
  • 2 bay leaves

Season the beef all over with salt, pepper and olive oil.

Heat a large, nonstick or cast-iron skillet over high heat. Add the beef to the pan and sear it on all sides.

While the beef is searing, whisk together the beer, mustard, tomato paste and soy sauce in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper.

Remove the beef to a greased baking dish or a crock pot. Add the onions and garlic to the skillet along with a teaspoon or so of olive oil and saute until the vegetables are tender. Place them in the pan or crock pot with the beef. Add the bay leaves, then pour the beer mixture over everything.

If using a crock pot, turn the machine to low and cook for 8 hours, turning the beef halfway through.

If using your oven, preheat it to 300 degrees. Cover the baking dish tightly with foil and bake the beef for 3 1/2 to 4 hours, turning it over once. The beef is done with it’s falling apart.

For slaw:

  • 2 heads endive, split in half vertically and thinly sliced
  • 1 celery stalk, thinly sliced
  • 4 radishes, coarsely grated
  • Zest from 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons walnut oil

Toss the vegetables in a medium bowl.

Whisk the lemon juice and walnut oil together in a small bowl and season with salt and pepper. Pour the dressing over the vegetables and toss well.

To serve:

beef1

Remove the beef from its braise and shred it with a fork. Place it on a pretty platter and top it with the slaw.

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