Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Short Ribs Inspired by Daniel Boulud for my new friend, Ron!

    Shopping for a party the other day I ran into a wine rep for Gallo who offered me the lovliest bottle of their high end red wine (which right this minute I cannot recall the name) but the logo was red and foily and beautiful over the black bottle.  In honor of Valentine's Day the bottle was replete with a red bow.  I was so excited to try the wine and thanked Ron profusely.  I also mentioned that I was a chef so he knew when talking about the wine's composition and scores -- I had some appreciation of his pitch.   Once  he found out that I was a chef he asked about Short Ribs to which I replied, "I make the best!" I really do.  They are inpsired by Daniel Boulud's recipe with my own twist on his ingredients and cooking time.  Plus I serve mine over creamy polenta and not a  puree of celery.  Polenta and short ribs belong create a food union that invokes other great partnerships like PB & J and Pommes Frites with Aioli.  
    So Ron this one's for you and anyone else who is ready to surrender to braised beef ribs falling from the bone soaked in rich cabernet layered with flavors of vegetables and bay leaves over a bed of buttery polenta with just a taste of Parmesan. 
  • 1 1/2 bottles dry red wine
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • A dozen short ribs
  • Salt and crushed black peppercorns
  • Flour, for dredging
  • 8 large shallots, peeled, trimmed, split, rinsed and dried
  • 2 medium-sized carrots, peeled, trimmed and cut into 1-inch lengths
  • 2 ribs of celery, peeled, trimmed and cut into 1-inch lengths
  • 1 medium-sized leek (white and light-green parts), coarsely chopped, washed and dried
  • 10 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 6 sprigs flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 bay leaves and 2 thyme sprigs
  • 6 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 quarts unsalted beef broth
  • Freshly ground white pepper

1. Pour the wine into a large saucepan set over medium heat. When the wine is hot, carefully set it aflame. Let the flames die out, then increase the heat so that the wine boils; allow it to boil until it cooks down by half. Remove from the heat.  This takes around an hour so have patience.
2. Center a rack in the oven and preheat to 350°F.
3. Warm the oil in a large, heavy, ovenproof pot over medium-high heat.  Coat the ribs all over with salt and the crushed pepper.  Drop the ribs into a paper bag filled with a 1/4 Cup flour and give them a good shake. Then, when the oil is hot, slip the ribs into the pot and sear 4 to 5 minutes on each side, until well-browned. Transfer the ribs to a plate. Repeat with remaining ribs.  Once finished browning, lower the heat under the pot to medium and toss in the vegetables and herbs. Brown the vegetables lightly, 5 to 7 minutes, then stir in the tomato paste and cook for 1 minute.
4. Add the wine, ribs and broth to the pot. Bring to a boil, cover tightly and place in the oven to braise for 2 1/2 hours or until the ribs are very tender. Every 30 minutes, skim and discard fat from the surface. (It's best to make the recipe to this point, cool and chill the ribs and broth in the pan overnight; scrape off the fat the next day. Rewarm before continuing.)
5. Carefully transfer the meat to a platter; keep warm. Boil the pan liquid until it has reduced to 1 quart. Season with salt and white pepper and pass through a fine strainer; discard the solids. (The ribs and sauce can be combined and kept covered in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days. Reheat gently, basting frequently, on top of the stove or in a 350°F oven.)
6. To serve, spoon a healthy serving of polenta on 6 plates and top each with 2 short ribs. Decorate with some of the discarded  vegetables.  Smother with remaining sauce.  

This is one dish you will serve where your guests will think you're a culinary genius.  And of course, if you pull it off, you are...
Bon Appetit! 


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