There are two reasons why you should make boiled beef. The first is for the beef itself. Slow cooking in abundant moisture softens beef’s toughest tissues and produces meat with a succulence and a fine, delicate flavor that no other method can approach. A perfectly boiled piece of beef, however plain the description may sound, is as fine a dish of meat as you can bring to the table.
The second reason is for the collateral product of boiling—the broth. No risotto or soup can equal the finesse of one made with homemade beef broth. It is, moreover, so practical. It cooks with very little supervision, and you can freeze broth and use it weeks later.
When I say broth, I do not mean stock. The dense aromas of stock are hostile to light-handed Italian cooking. Broth is water in which solid meat and a few vegetables have cooked, nothing more. The vegetables I use, and subsequently discard, are carrot, celery, and onion. I add to them a peeled potato that soaks up the flavor of the fat, a piece of bell pepper that brings a whiff of freshness, a tomato whose acidity prevents the broth from becoming cloying. I do not put in an herb bouquet, because I don’t want those fragrances interfering with any dish in which I will be using the broth. I do not roast bones, and I no longer make broth with chicken. Chickens today make distractingly harsh broths.
A pot in which the water will cover the meat by 2 inches; see step 1
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