January in New York, whether upstate or in Manhattan, usually means braving bone-chilling temperatures, howling winds, and a periodic dumping of snow that slows the pace of the City—and all points north—to a temporary crawl.

It’s this time of year that my nesting instincts kick into high gear. When the mercury drops, I crave nourishing foods that warm the body—and one-pot braises are an easy and tasty antidote.

What I love about braising—a form of moist-heat, slow food cooking that effectively tenderizes tough cuts of meat—is that nothing is lost in terms of nutritive value, and, from ingredients that marry beautifully and intensify over time, you gain abundant flavor.

It’s also a cost effective way to cook because tougher cuts—the shoulder, leg, or cuts with a lot of connective tissue, like lamb shank, which can be tamed into fork-tender tenderness with braising—are often cheaper.  Plus, you’ll get more—and better—flavor with any cut that’s on the bone.

I like using a heavy-bottomed Dutch oven, like Le Creuset, for this Paleo-friendly one-pot braise, which features chunks of grass-fed stew beef and cauliflower in a flavorful Thai  red curry-spiked coconut milk braise.  The green beans are optional.
 

Thai-style Grass-Fed Beef Braise in Coconut Milk

 
1 cup shallots, sliced thinly
1/2 cup minced gingeroot
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2-1/2 tablespoons Thai red curry paste
2 serrano chilies, ends trimmed, seeded and minced
2 pounds of grass-fed beef stew meat, cut into apx. 1-inch cubes
1 head cauliflower, well washed and chopped into small pieces
Optional:  3/4 pounds green beans (fresh or frozen)
1 15-ounce can of organic, unsweetened full-fat coconut milk
1 teaspoon Celtic sea salt
3 tablespoons unrefined, raw coconut oil

Melt coconut oil in Dutch oven over medium heat.

Add shallots and sauté over medium-low heat until they begin to brown, about 4-6 minutes.  Add ginger and garlic, cooking about 1 minute.  Stir in chilies and saute about 1 minute.  When the shallot mixture begins sticking to the bottom of the pan, add the red curry paste , mixing well.

Add grass-fed stew beef and cook over medium heat until meat is browned, about 3-4 minutes. Stir in cauliflower and sea salt, blending until well combined with the other ingredients. Pour coconut milk into meat and cauliflower mixture and bring to a gentle boil.

Reduce heat to a simmer; cover, and let simmer for 40 minutes, or until beef and cauliflower are tender when pierced with a knife.