3 pounds boneless bottom round beef, trimmed and cut into 2-by-1-by-1-inch chunks
6 tablespoons peanut oil, plus up to a ½ cup more for shallow frying
2 medium yellow onions, peeled and diced (about 5 cups)
6 skinny carrots, peeled and diced (about 2½ cups)
4 celery ribs, diced (about 2½ cups)
2¼ to 2 ½ cups Oregon pinot noir (we used Cloudline)
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 bay leaves
4 cloves of garlic, minced
20 whole allspice, cracked
2 3-inch sticks cinnamon
3 tablespoons flour
2 (14.5-ounce) cans petite diced tomatoes
6½ cups (52 ounces) beef broth
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon (or more, to taste) Scotch bonnet pepper sauce*
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup shelled peanuts
1 small sweet potato
BRAISE THE BEEF
Position a rack in the center of the oven. Heat the oven to 450 degrees.
Blot the beef dry with paper towels. In a large, deep, oven-safe pot or Dutch oven, heat 1 tablespoon of the peanut oil over medium-high heat. In small batches, sear the beef pieces on all sides and remove them to a plate. (If the pan bottom gets too brown or threatens to burn, splash in a little water or wine, scrape the bottom with a wooden spoon, pour out and reserve the removed liquid. Add another tablespoon of oil and continue until all the beef is browned and piled onto the plate.)
Add half of the fresh vegetables (onions, carrots and celery) to the pot, along with two big pinches of salt and more oil if needed. (You'll use the remaining half of the vegetables in the soup itself.) Cook until the vegetables start to soften and release a little of their juices. Add ¾ cup of the wine and stir to loosen some of the browned fond from the pan.
Stir in the tomato paste, half of the cracked allspice, 1 bay leaf, 1 cinnamon stick and 2 minced garlic cloves. Return the browned beef (and its juices and any reserved liquid) to the pot, layering the chunks evenly atop the vegetables. Add another cup of wine and just enough beef stock so that the top third of the beef remains exposed. Sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper.
Cover the pan tightly and put it in the oven. After 20 minutes, turn the heat down to 325 degrees. Braise until meat is as tender as a University of Texas Longhorn after a Suh tackle, about 60 to 80 minutes more.
START THE SOUP
In a 5-quart or larger pot over medium heat, heat 2 tablespoons of oil and add the remaining onions, carrots and celery along with two big pinches of salt. Cook until the vegetables just start to soften. Add the flour and stir. Add the thyme and the remaining allspice, bay leaf, cinnamon stick and garlic and stir. Add ½ cup wine. Stir to release any sticking bits. Add tomatoes and their juices, and the remaining beef stock. Heat through. Keep warm until the braised beef is done.
MAKE THE GARNISHES
Peel the sweet potato, cut it into thin matchsticks and put the matchsticks in a bowl of water.
In a small skillet, heat a tablespoon of peanut oil. Add the peanuts and stir or shake until they are coated in oil and the outsides have browned and crisped. Remove the peanuts to a bowl lined with paper towels and toss them with a pinch of salt.
Add more peanut oil to the pan, until it's about ¼-inch deep. Drain the sweet potato matchsticks and blot them dry with paper towels. Fry them, stirring, until they are crisped and lightly browned. Drain on paper towels and sprinkle with salt.
FINISH THE SOUP
Remove the braised beef to a plate. Pour the braising liquid through a strainer and into the soup. Discard the braised vegetables, which will have gone soft and mushy, like the knees of Suh's opponents. Add Scotch bonnet sauce, salt and pepper to taste.
Ladle the soup into warm bowls and top each with several chunks of the braised beef. Garnish with fried nuts and sweet potato matchsticks. Serve with a spoon (and a spear, if you like, for stabbing the meat).
Makes: Enough for 1 defensive tackle, or 6 to 8 average-Joe-sized bowls.
*NOTE: We found Jamaican Country Style brand Scotch bonnet pepper sauce at the Omaha Tropical Market, northwest of 72nd and Blondo Streets. Fiery Scotch bonnets are a type of habanero pepper, so you also could substitute habanero sauce or minced fresh habanero peppers, to taste.
— Developed (with help from chefs Hubert Pearson, Darrell Auld and Cory Guyer) and tested in a home kitchen by World-Herald staff writer Nichole Aksamit.