Braised Beef and Burdock

Burdock Beef Stew

I just spent 3 amazing weeks in Colorado, cooking for a family that was vacationing there. For me, it was an unprecedented marathon of peeling, simmering, sautéing and flambéing. As busy as the kitchen was, the scale of the nature that surrounded us brought some measure of tranquility with each grazing deer, hovering hummingbird, and the odd curious bear. Best of all I got to walk home to the service cabin every night under a glowing ribbon of stars.

Returning to civilization was a mix of relief, exhaustion, and confusion. The more I travel I’ve come to realize that it’s during these fleeting jet-lagged moments, where I’m oblivious to time and place, that I feel liberated to dream up a dish that’s free from all constraints. Caught somewhere between a Rocky Mountain ranch and a bustling metropolis, I churned out this simple braise, with wanton disregard for season or place.


In this braise, the iron rich burdock not only provides a texture contrast, it also adds an earthy flavor that goes well with the miso. The tomatoes and wine contribute sweetness and a fruity aroma and that balances out the earth-tones. Lastly, the collagen rich shank produces meltingly tender morsels of meat that adds richness and body to the stew.

Braised Beef and Burdock

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 pounds boneless beef shank (or other sinewy cut), cubed
2 onions, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 cup red wine
3 whole ripe tomatoes, peeled and chopped
1 burdock root (gobo), peeled and sliced
3 tablespoons miso
2 bay leaves

Generously salt and pepper the beef. Heat a heavy bottomed pot such as a dutch oven until hot. Add the oil, then add the beef in a single layer. Leave undisturbed until the beef has a brown crust. Flip and fry the other side until a brown crust forms. Lower the heat and transfer the beef to a plate.

Add the onions and garlic and sauté until wilted and just starting to turn brown (about 15-20 minutes). Add the wine, and boil off the alcohol. Add the tomatoes, burdock, miso and bay leaves. Cover with a lid and simmer until the beef is very tender (2-3 hours depending on how large you cut the beef).

Once the beef is tender, taste the sauce and adjust to your liking with salt, pepper and honey. Garnish with something green and serve with rice, potatoes or pasta.

  • leaf (the indolent cook)

    That looks so good and hearty. I like the Asian twist you put in there, too.

  • Mike Pierce

    This weekend Marco.. I think you’ve hit the cortical lottery with this one.

  • Cdahle

    Awesome! I have a freezer full of beef and the need for some new ideas! Thanks

  • Bevweidner

    Uh, I could seriously face-plant that, RIGHT NOW.

  • vanillasugarblog

    marc we were hoping for more pics.  lol

  • projectfoodlab : italy

    spectacular as always.

  • Robin

    This looks fabulous. I love gobo!

  • Anadrol Oxymetholone

    Love the idea. It has just the right amount of experimental adventure to it.
    I made it yesterday and oh my was it good.


  • Miss Nom

    Braising with miso – genius!

  • Hollowlegs

    This looks amazing; what colour miso do you use please?

    • Marc Matsumoto

      Thanks! I think I used red for the one in the photo, but I make it with whatever I have on hand.

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  • Christian Wermelin

    at around about what temp did u let it simmer on? in sweden our stoves are usually set to 1-6 in strength, unless im in the kitchen at work xD

    wouldnt brown miso make a lighter sauce, and let the taste of the beef stand out mroe?

    • Marc Matsumoto

      Hi Christian, the key to braising a tough cut of meat is to go low and slow. The lower the temperature the longer it will take, but the more tender and moist your meat will end up. As for the miso, I find beef to be a bit gamey, so I prefer a bolder one like red miso to stand up to the meat.


I'm Marc, and I want to teach you some basic techniques and give you the confidence and inspiration so that you can cook without recipes too!

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