braised short ribs
It is supposed to be over 100 F today outside here in Hotlanta, so I’ll be spending yet another day hiding in the air conditioning. I got up early and watered my very dry and thirsty garden. I’m not having much luck this year with the garden. The heat is one thing, but the chipmunks have run off with my mint plant, the little fuckers. In light of that, I don’t feel so badly when I get Mrs. P to go after them. Well, except for that time a couple of months ago when the boy let her out in the middle of the night and she killed an opossum. The boy said she shook it like a British nanny. Guess who had to go out at 3 am and pick up the dead thing with X’s in his eyes? Yours truly. Thank you.
So while I’m updating songs on my ipod on the boy’s computer (and removing the one Rush song and some that I have no idea how they got on there, like Limp Bizkit), I figured I ought to write about the time earlier in the week when it was just as hot outside yet we decided to put the oven on full blast and make good wintery comfort food. To be honest, it was well worth the extra heat in the house.
The short ribs recipe comes from a book we got from an aunt one Christmas. The thing about being married to a chef is that my relatives are always sending cooking-related stuff as gifts. Oh trust me, I’m not complaining; it can be pretty great, like the set of Le Creuset pots we got as a housewarming gift when we bought our house in Maryland. And sometimes people send odd cookbooks, plaques that have the word “France” or something dorky in French on them, or odd trinkets with Eiffel towers and whatnot. So we got this cookbook one year along with a CD of “swinging French jazz”, and we shelved it for a year or so. Then, one day the boy brought it into work as something to read when he had downtime and came across this short ribs recipe, which as it turns out is fucking phenomenal. Of course, I’m biased because I believe that anything that’s braised in an entire bottle of wine is a damn good thing, especially if you can dunk hunks of bread into the sauce and have your eyes roll back into your head because it’s so damn good.
We served this with Dauphinois potatoes, recipe which is loosely based on a couple of sources with some changes by the boy (Bourdain’s Les Halles cookbook and a French cookbook my mom gave me when I moved to Savannah, Les Recettes Faciles de Françoise Bernard.
Braised Short Ribs
From Swinging French Jazz Bistro – Favorite Parisian Bistro Recipes
2 tablsespoons vegetable oil
6 to 8 pounds thick and meaty short ribs (THE RECIPE’S WORDS – NOT MINE!)
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 onions, chopped
6 to 8 shallots, chopped
1 tablespoon tomato paste
¼ cup flour
1 head garlic, halved crosswise
bouquet garni (parsley sprig, thyme sprig, bay leaf, peppercorns, cloves, tied up in cheesecloth)
1 bottle full bodied red wine
½ cup ruby port
4 cups veal stock or beef broth
salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large, flameproof casserole or Dutch oven over medium high heat, heat the oil and brown the meat on all sides. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the meat to a plate and set aside.
In the same pan, sauté the carrots, celery, onions, and shallots for 5 to 10 minutes, or until lightly browned. Stir in the tomato paste. Sprinkle with flour and cook 3 to 4 minutes longer, stirring to scrape up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the meat, garlic, bouquet garni, wine and port. Increase heat to high and cook to reduce the liquid by half. Pour in the stock and bring to a boil. Cover and bake in the preheated oven for 3 hours or until the meat is fork tender.
Using a slotted spoon, transfer the meat to a serving dish and cover with foil to keep warm. Strain the sauce through a fine-meshed sieve and return it to the pan. Cook over high heat to reduce the sauce to a nice gravylike consistency. Season with salt and pepper. Pour the sauce over the short ribs and serve.
(I’m actually going to copy out Bourdain’s recipe and have my changes in parenthesis)
8 Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into ¼ inch slices (we use Russet because the boy likes them better)
2 cups heavy cream (I didn’t have enough cream, so I added whole milk and half and half. You’ll be fine)
5 garlic cloves, slightly crushed
1 sprig of thyme
1 sprig of rosemary
1 sprig of parsley
salt and white pepper
a really little bit of nutmeg, like no more than a pinch I would say
1 tablespoon of butter
4 ounces of grated Gruyère cheese (you can use Swiss, because Gruyère is damn expensive here. We used Comté, because I found some at Costco for a song, and we use more than called for)
(Sauté up a Vidalia or other sweet onion that has been sliced thinly in some butter and olive oil. When those are all nicely browned and caramelized, set to the side until needed).
Large ovenproof gratin dish
Preheat the oven to 350 F. put the potatoes in the large pot and add the cream, 4 of the garlic cloves, and the herbs. Season with salt, white pepper, and nutmeg. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. After 10 minutes of simmering, remove from the heat and discard the garlic and herbs (it’s no big deal if you can’t fish out all the garlic pieces – mine disintegrate pretty much).
Use the remaining garlic clove to rub around the inside of the gratin dish. Butter the inside of the gratin dish as well so that it is evenly coated. Transfer the potatoes and cream to the gratin dish and sprinkle the top with Gruyere cheese. (we do this in layers – add some potatoes and cream, some cheese evenly, and some of the sautéed onion – continue until all the potatoes are in, then grate some more cheese on top, because, why not?). cook in the oven for 40 minutes, or until the mixture is brown and bubbling. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 10 to 15 minutes before serving.