Beef Braised with Lemon

Brasato al Limone

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


    as a main course

Appears in

The lemon flavor in this dish is subtle, yet makes the beef wonderfully fragrant and light.

Preparation time: 20 minutes
Total time from start to finish: 2 hours


  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 pounds beef chuck
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large yellow onion
  • ¼ cup dry white wine
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 large beef bouillon cube
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice


  1. Put the olive oil in a braising pan large enough to accommodate the beef and place over high heat. When the oil is hot, put in the beef and brown it on all sides. Transfer to a platter and season with salt and pepper.
  2. While the beef is browning, peel, halve, and thinly slice the onion crosswise. After the meat has browned, put the onion in the pan and place it over medium heat. Sauté, stirring occasionally, until the onion softens and becomes translucent, 5 to 8 minutes.
  3. Raise the heat to high and add the wine. Let the wine bubble for about 30 seconds to let the alcohol evaporate, then add the water and bouillon cube. Stir to dissolve the bouillon cube. Adjust the heat so that the liquid in the pan simmers and return the beef to the pan. Cook, covered with the lid slightly askew, turning the meat every 15 to 20 minutes, for 1¼ hours. If all the liquid evaporates, add a little water.
  4. Add the lemon juice and continue cooking until the meat is very tender, about 30 minutes more. If there is still a lot of liquid in the pan when the beef is done, raise the heat and finish cooking uncovered until the sauce is thick enough to coat a spoon. Transfer the beef to a cutting board and cut into ¼ inch slices. Put the slices in the pan and coat them with the sauce. Serve hot.


The beef can be prepared 1 to 2 days ahead of time through step 3. Store, covered, in the refrigerator.