Cranberry Spiced Braised Beef

Makes 4-6 servings


Cranberry Spiced Braised Beef, image and recipe by Michelle McGrath

2 T. olive oil or rendered bacon fat

3 lbs. boneless chuck beef roast, tied

2 large yellow onions, peeled and sliced

1 large carrot, sliced into 1” thick coins

1½ c. fresh whole cranberries

6 garlic cloves, peeled and quartered

1” thumb of fresh ginger, sliced into 1/8” thick planks

Large pinch of saffron threads (optional)

2 cinnamon sticks of 2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1 T. whole coriander seeds or 1 ½ tsp. ground coriander

2 t. dried thyme or 3 branches of fresh thyme

1 T. red curry paste

2 bay leaves

2 c red wine

1 qt. beef stock, divided

2 T. honey or pepper jelly

2 T. horseradish mustard

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, divided

2 T. cornstarch or arrowroot powder

1 14-oz. can whole berry cranberry sauce

Buttered egg noodles or boiled cubed potatoes mashed with butter, sour cream, salt and pepper to taste, for serving


Dry the surface of the roast, and liberally sprinkle with salt and pepper on all sides.  On the stovetop, heat the oil to sizzling in a large Dutch oven or cast iron frying pan over medium-high heat.  Carefully add the roast to the pot, and brown until deeply caramelized on both flat surface sides, then transfer to a plate. To the same pot, add the sliced onions and carrot, cranberries, garlic, ginger, saffron, cinnamon, coriander, thyme, curry paste and bay leaves to the remaining oil and sauté until softened and lightly browned, about 8 minutes.  Stir in the red wine, and simmer two minutes, then add in 3 cups of beef stock, honey or pepper jelly and horseradish mustard, plus juices left in the meat dish and return to a simmer, stirring frequently, about 3 minutes.  Transfer the meat back to the Dutch oven or transfer the meat and the sauteed vegetables and cooking liquid to a slow cooker and cover tightly.

For stove top cooking:

Simmer for over low heat for one hour. Remove the lid and simmer for another 1½ hours more, occasionally stirring to ensure the meat or vegetables don’t stick to the pan, reducing liquid to 1/3 of its original volume.  The meat should pull apart easily with 2 forks. Remove the meat to a serving plate.  Strain the vegetables and aromatics from the liquid by pouring the contents of the pot through a sieve strainer into a heat-proof bowl.  Discard the vegetables and aromatics, return the liquid to the Dutch oven.  Bring back to a boil.  Slowly stream in the remaining 1 cup of beef stock combined with cornstarch or arrowroot powder, stirring all the while, until the mixture achieves desired thickness.  Pour over the beef and serve over buttered egg noodles or mashed potatoes and a spoonful of whole berry cranberry sauce.  Leftovers can be stored refrigerated up to 5 days in a tightly sealed container.

For slow cooker:

Cook the meat on the slow cooker’s high setting for 4 hours, or low setting for 6-7 hours. The meat should pull apart easily with 2 forks. Remove the meat to a serving plate.  Strain the vegetables and aromatics from the liquid by pouring the contents of the pot through a sieve strainer into a heat-proof bowl.  Discard the vegetables and aromatics, return the liquid to a large pot or Dutch oven.  Cook over a medium heat and simmer until reduced to 1/3 of original volume.  Slowly stream in the remaining 1 cup of beef stock combined with cornstarch or arrowroot powder, stirring all the while, until the mixture achieves desired thickness.  Pour over the beef and serve over buttered egg noodles or mashed potatoes and a spoonful of whole berry cranberry sauce.  Leftovers can be stored refrigerated up to 5 days in a tightly sealed container.


This recipe series was made possible through the support of Cape Cod Cranberry Growers’ Association, the member-operated trade association for the Massachusetts cranberry industry. one of the oldest farmer organizations in the country.

Recipe series Developer/Writer/Photographer Michelle McGrath is the founder of McGrath PR | Media Relations, providing visibility to the arts and culture sector, non-profits, agricultural and small business industries.  mcgrathpr.com