Italian Beef is a great entrée to prepare ahead when you don't want to spend much time in the kitchen on company day! I have even served it for Thanksgiving so I can spend more time playing with grandchildren.
I have been changing up this recipe for many years, but my family has settled on this version. The Merlot wine was the latest addition, and we think it is a real keeper!
1Heat oven to 350 degrees.
Set out 1 large coffee filter and a few feet of cooking twine.
2Add Italian Seasoning, bay leaves, small dried red pepper, and salt into the center of the coffee filter. Fold over top and bottom of the filter towards the middle. Holding these flaps down, fold over the left and right sides toward the middle. Now you should have a packet, about 1.5 inches square. Leaving a couple inches at one end, wrap the cooking twine around one way a few times, tuck the string under the wrap, wrap the twine at a 90 degree angle to the first wrap, making a cross. As you run out of twine, tie the two ends together.
3In a Dutch oven, put the roast, water, onion soup mix, Better than Bouillon Beef Flavoring, Merlot wine, pepperoncini, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, and spice package.
4Cover the pot and braise in the oven for one hour. Reset heat to 300 degrees and braise for 2-3 more hours. Check periodically, and add water as needed to keep the level about the same as when you began cooking. You can tell the meat is very tender if stands of meat strip easily from the roast when pulled with the grain of the meat.
5Remove pan from the oven and cool. When the pan is cool enough, refrigerate until the meat is cold and the fat is congealed, perhaps overnight. (If I want to cool the pan quickly before refrigerating, I set it in the sink, covered, and pour ice over it.)
6When the meat is cold, remove the congealed fat. Move the roast to a cutting board and slice across the grain as thinly as possible. Add the slices back to the broth. Refrigerate until ready to serve; then heat to boiling. Serve over good Italian bread and with more pepperoncini, if desired.
7Note: sliced meat and broth can be added to containers and frozen.