Braised Beef with Currants and Caraway

"It may seem mad and extravagant to braise prime rib rather than a less expensive cut, but the meat is incomparably luxurious cooked this way," write Christopher Hirsheimer and Melissa Hamilton in the latest of their Canal House Cooking cookbooks, created in Lambertville. "The flavors of this dish are reminiscent of sauerbraten—sweet and sour, fragrant and spicy. But there is an added richness from red wine instead of
vinegar and prime meat instead of pot roast."

"Because the meat is so tender," the authors add, "you don’t have to marinate it for three days. We like to serve this with slices of the very darkest rye bread slathered with butter."

Serves: 4–6


4 ounces slab bacon, cut into very 1 cup currants

Small cubes 2 cups red wine
4 yellow onions, halved lengthwise 1 prime rib of beef (2 ribs),
1 clove garlic, finely minced 4-pounds, first cut
Salt and pepper 1–2 teaspoons arrowroot
2 tablespoons caraway seeds


Preheat the oven to 200°. Sauté the bacon in a large heavy pot with a lid over medium-high heat. When the bacon has released some of its fat, place the onions, cut side down,in the pot. Add the garlic. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Scatter the caraway seeds and currants around the onions. Add the wine.

Season the roast all over with lots of salt and pepper. Place the meat, rib side down, on top of the onions. Cover, transfer to the oven, and cook until the meat is very tender, about 4 hours.

Remove the meat and onions from the pot, taking care to keep the onions intact. Remove any fat and cut the meat into pieces. Return the pot with the sauce to the top of the stove, and over medium heat, reduce the sauce by half. Dissolve the arrowroot in 2 tablespoons water in a small bowl, then using a wooden spoon, stir it into the sauce. Continue stirring as the sauce thickens. Don’t allow it to come to a boil.

To serve, either return the meat and onions to the pot, or arrange them on a platter. Spoon the sauce, along with all the currants and caraway seeds, over the meat and onions.

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