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Roman Braised Beef with Tomato and Cloves

6 Servings

4 hours 30 minutes active

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For this hearty Italian braise—garofolato di manzo alla romana—beef typically is cooked as a large roast, similar to a pot roast. We prefer cutting a chuck roast into chunks and simmering the meat as a stew. This ensures that the pieces are succulent and flavorful throughout, while also slightly reducing the cooking time. Cloves are the traditional seasoning; their earthy, subtly smoky, slightly bitter flavor complements the natural sweetness of the onion, fennel and tomatoes. To balance the deep, rich flavors of the stew, we serve it with a salad of fresh fennel, tomatoes and parsley; Polenta or crusty bread is an excellent accompaniment for absorbing the flavorful sauce.




Don't use ground cloves that have gone stale, as they won't add much flavor or fragrance to the braise. If your cloves have been in the pantry for more than a few months, uncap and take a whiff. The aroma should be sharp and strong. If not, it's time to get a new jar.

4 hours

30 minutes active


  • 6-7

    pounds boneless beef chuck roast, trimmed and cut into 2-inch chunks

  • ¾

    teaspoon ground cloves


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John M.
October 29, 2022
My favorite meal in the world
This is my go to choice on my birthday as the contrast of flavors/textures is absolutely delicious especially considering how easily it comes together.
Laney C.
June 10, 2022
Surprisingly fresh for a roast
This was pretty hands off, and a really delicious unusual flavor profile. You must top it with the fennel salad!
Walter R.
March 19, 2023
Savory Blessing
Made this tonight as I want to use up tomatoes. Though o had no fennel bulb, I used its seed and celery for texture. Incredible! Thank you!
Monica S.
August 1, 2023
What if I don't like fennel?
We don't like fennel. What can we substitute?
Charles D.

Would this be a good make ahead braise or would it break apart more when reheating the next day?

Lynn C.

Hi Charles -

I'd be more worried about it drying out than anything else. If you *do* decide to try it, I would definitely reheat it in a low oven and maybe even add some water or broth in with it to try to keep it moist. Good luck!

The Milk Street Team

Michael M.

Hi; I made this last week and I followed the time and temperature directions. After I finished with the 1 hour with lid off at 325 the beef was dry and sauce was all but gone. I liked the flavor and plan on cooking again. How do you suggest that I keep the beef moist and allow for enough sauce? Thank you

Lynn C.

Hi Michael - It's possible your particular cut of meat wasn't as juicy and/or the surface area of your Dutch oven was larger than ours causing the sauce to evaporate too quickly (and there to be less of it). I would recommend adding 1/2 cup of water when you remove the cover and return the pot to the oven for that last hour of cooking. This should keep the meat moist and ensure there is enough sauce. Hope that helps!

The Milk Street Team

Diana L.

I made this for dinner tonight. It did taste good and my family liked it. I could not taste fennel in this dish but you DO taste clover for sure. Thank you for the recipe.

Rosalie B.

Has anyone tried making this in a slow cooker?