Red Wine Braised Beef with Dried Cherries, and Cremini Mushrooms, Sweet Potato-Garlic Puree

Sonoma County is well known for food, wine, and great chefs. Family friend, neighbor and Top Chef Master Douglas Keane shared this recipe with us. Pair it with CYRUS, invite a few friends and celebrate the best of AVV.
– Serves 4-6

For the Braised Beef:
4 pound boneless chuck roast
3 Tablespoons vegetable oil
3 tsp kosher salt
1 bunch fresh thyme, tied with butcher twine
1 # cremini mushrooms, quartered
1 onion, diced small
½ cup dried cherries
2 cups red wine
3 cups beef stock
2 tablespoons corn starch mixed well with ¼ cup water

For the Sweet Potato Garlic Puree:
2# whole sweet potatoes, peeled, sliced thick (1/2 inch)
10 cloves garlic
2 tsps salt
6 tablespoons butter

For the Beef:
Season the beef with salt on all sides.
Heat a large braising pan on high heat. Add 2 tbs of oil to the pan.
Brown the beef on all sides until nice and brown approximately 5 minutes.
Pull the beef out of the pan and allow to rest. Lower the heat to medium.
Add the remaining tbs of oil to the pan. And add the diced onion.
Cook for five minutes on medium to low heat and nice caramel color develops on the mushroom.
Add the cremini mushrooms to the pan and cook for five minutes on medium heat. Add the dried cherries.
Add the red wine and reduce down by ¾. Add the beef stock and bring to a boil.
Once boiling add in the corn starch and water mixture with a whisk. Make sure it is thoroughly combined before adding it to the boiling stock.
Once mixture thickens a little lower the heat to just a simmer and add the beef. Add the bunch of thyme
Let the pot come back to a low simmer and then place cover on top.
Place in 300 F oven and cook for two hours.

For the Sweet Potato puree:
In a small pot bring water to a boil. Add the garlic and sweet potatoes, cook for 20 minutes on medium to low heat until potatoes are completely soft when stabbed with a fork.
Drain potatoes and garlic and while still hot, add to a food processor and blend on high. Add in butter and salt while blending.

Both the beef and sweet potatoes can be made 3-4 days in advance and rewarmed slowly. If Potatoes seem a little thick when rewarming, please add a little water or milk to desired consistency.

To Serve:
To serve, pull beef out of warm thickened sauce and slice thin. Place on top of sweet potato puree and spoon sauce on top (make sure to pull the tied thyme bunch out and discard). Be sure to get plenty of mushrooms and cherries as well. Sprinkle a little kosher or coarse sea salt on top and serve.