I haven't blogged here in forever. But that's okay because I'm making up for it with the best meatball recipe ever. Well, one of the best.Read More
We all have that go-to meal, that must-order at restaurants. Some people order a burger wherever they go. Others might rely on a juicy rib-eye steak. For me? It's braised short ribs. Whenever I see this on a menu, it's precisely what I order. How can you not want succulent meat that literally falls off the bone when you poke it with your fork? And that delicious pan gravy? Heaven.
The other day I was craving this dish and for the first time, decided to make it myself. A few Google searches and six recipes later, I settled on the recipes I was going to work off of - Wolfgang Puck's and Anne Burrell's.
Typically in French cooking, carrots, onion and celery are used for seasoning sauces. Once the cooking process is done, they're discarded and the sauce is strained (as is the process with Puck's recipe). I've always taken issue with this; sure, I like smooth sauce, but I feel tossing out the veggies is a waste of food. So I kept them in my recipe and decided to call it "country-style." Bon Apetit!
Serves: About 6 Prep time: 20-25 minutes Cook time: 3-3.5 hours
- 1 bottle Cabernet Sauvignon (a $6 bottle will be fine)
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 4 pounds short ribs, trimmed
- Black pepper
- 6 shallots, medium dice (or 1/2 large brown onion, medium dice)
- 2 medium carrots, cut into 1/2-inch lengths
- 2 stalks celery, cut into 1/2-inch lengths
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic
- 6 ounces tomato paste
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 quart unsalted beef stock
- 2 potatoes, cut into 1-inch chunks
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch (optional, for thickening sauce)
- 2 tablespoons water
1. Pour the wine into a large saucepan over medium heat. Allow it to simmer until it cooks down by 1/2. Remove from heat.
2. Center a rack in the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees.
3. Heat the oil in a large pot - large enough to hold all the ribs - over medium-high heat. Generously season the ribs all over with salt and pepper. When the oil is hot, sear the ribs on each side until well-browned, about 3-4 minutes.
4. Transfer the browned ribs to a plate. Lower the heat to medium, and toss in the shallots, carrots and celery. Brown the vegetables lightly, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and tomato paste and cook, about 1-2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
5. Add the reduced wine to the vegetables, scraping the bottom of the pot with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon. Add the ribs back to the pot, then add the thyme and bay leaves. Cover with beef stock. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil; tightly cover the pot with foil, and place into the oven to braise for 2 hours.
6. Taste the braising liquid and season with additional salt and pepper, if necessary. Move the ribs around. Add the potatoes to the pot. Cover with foil again, and place back into the oven for 40 minutes, or until the ribs are tender enough to be easily pierced with a fork.
7. Remove the thyme and bay leaves. Check the consistency of the sauce. If you like it as is, let the meat rest in the pot for 10 minutes before serving. But if you'd like a thicker, gravy-like consistency: In a small bowl or cup, mix together 2 tablespoons cornstarch and 2 tablespoons water until the cornstarch is dissolved and the mixture looks like milk. Pour into the pot of sauce/ribs, over medium heat. Stir well until sauce is thickened, about 2-3 minutes.
More tomato paste: After some thought and a trip to the grocery, I ended up adding more tomato paste than Wolfgang Puck's recipe calls for, and less than Anne Burrell's. I thought Burrell's recipe called for too much -- I didn't want braised tomato ribs. On the other hand, the smallest quantity of tomato paste available at the grocery was a 6-ounce can. For the sake of simplicity, I used the whole thing. The tomato flavor was present but not overwhelming.
More substantial with potatoes: I wanted my dish to be a balanced full meal. Typically, braised short ribs would be served with mashed potatoes, but I wanted to combine textures of melt-in-your-mouth meat with soft, chunky potatoes.
Why is this sauce chunky? Traditional French cuisine would see the carrots, shallots and celery being discarded. And because I wanted a well-balanced, hearty dish, I left mine in. If you wanted to make this dish more traditionally, you can discard them and strain your sauce before ladling onto the meat.
What other kinds of wine can I use? Dry! I like cooking with Cabernet Sauvignon -- it's strong, dry and my favorite kind of wine. (I always pour out a few ounces to sip on while I cook!) But don't go out of your way to get an expensive bottle. A $6 bottle will do just fine. You can also use Burgundy wine. Merlot and Syrah might work, but often, these wines are too mellow for a sauce like this.
Red meat thrown on a grill. Red wine mixed into butter. That's all it really is. But if you want the fancy French name, it's côte de bœuf with beurre marchand de vin. It's a thick, bone-in rib eye steak (a.k.a. a Tomahawk steak) seared on the grill (for that gorgeous, caramelized outer crust) and finished in the oven (for a perfect medium-rare), topped with butter mixed with Cabernet Sauvignon. The result? A juicy steak with a crispy, salty, peppery outer layer balanced with the rich acidity of the compound butter. Make this at home and pat yourself on the back for being able to grill a steak comparable to your city's best steakhouse.
Serves: 4 Prep time: 10-15 minutes Cook time: 30-35 minutes
Ingredients: 4 rib eye steaks (thick cut, bone-in) Coarse salt Black pepper
For the butter: 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature (must be soft so it's easy to mix) 2-3 ounces Cabernet Sauvignon (or about 5 tablespoons) 1/4 shallot, finely chopped (or about 1 tablespoon) 1-2 sprigs parsley, finely chopped (or about 2 teaspoons) 1 teaspoon lemon juice Salt/pepper, to taste Plastic wrap
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Mix the red wine, a little bit at a time, into the softened butter until the mixture is pale pink. Add the shallots, parsley and lemon juice, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Put the mixture onto a sheet of plastic wrap, forming into a log. Roll it in the plastic wrap, twisting the ends to seal it. (Sort of like a giant Tootsie Roll.) Place in fridge at least 20-30 minutes prior to serving.
3. Heat grill pan on stove. Season the steak generously with coarse salt and black pepper, on both sides. This will create that delicious crust.
4. When the grill is ready, place steaks on in the 10:00 position, over high heat. When grill marks form, turn the steaks to the 2:00 position, about 2 minutes. When grill marks form, flip over at 10:00. When ready, turn to 2:00. (Turning the steak like this ensures you get hatch marks, like this. It also helps ensure even cooking.) At this point, the steak is almost rare.
5. Place steaks in a roasting pan, cover with foil, and put in the oven about 20-25 minutes, for medium-rare steak. The texture of medium-rare steak should feel like the front of your chin; firm but soft. (Tip: Check it at 15 minutes and put back in the oven, as needed.)
6. Remove red wine-butter from fridge. Cut into thin (about quarter-inch) slices, and place 1 or 2 of them on each steak. The heat from the steak will melt the butter.
Want a balanced meal? To feel less guilty about this dish, pair it with a side salad.
My Notes: How do I know when my steak is cooked through? SimplyRecipes has a good finger test to determine the doneness of steak just by poking it. But that's a little too complicated for me. I like my steak a perfect medium-rare, which feels like the front of your chin. Because every grill and every oven is different, it's hard to say for sure whether medium-rare will be achieved at exactly 20 minutes. So it's important to learn how your steak should feel.
Can I use cold steak to start? Preferably, you would use a thawed steak and take it out of the refrigerator 10-15 minutes prior to seasoning and grilling. In essence, cool -- not cold -- steak is ideal. This is to ensure a tender steak.
Why Cabernet Sauvignon for the compound butter? Annoyed that you're opening your decent bottle of Cabernet for this dish? Don't be! Like Alton Brown (and pretty much any chef) says, don't cook with any wine you wouldn't drink. Beef shouldn't be paired with sweet wine, so the dryness of the Cab is perfect. You can drink the rest of the wine when enjoying your meal, while cooking it, or both.
Savory, meaty, tender, juicy -- all piled onto a toasted bun. There's garlic, onion, spices... and beer. What more could you want in a comfort food? Try this hearty sloppy joe recipe adapted from AllRecipes.com. I tweaked a few things by adding more garlic, more tomato paste and more spices. Not only are these sloppy joes easy to make, but they're also great as leftovers. They keep for several days and are a cinch to store.
Makes: About 8 burgers Prep time: 10 minutes Cook time: 25-30 minutes
Ingredients: 2 tablespoons olive oil 4 cloves garlic, minced 1.5 pounds ground sirloin 1 onion, chopped 2 tablespoons chili powder 1 teaspoon paprika 2 teaspoons ground cumin 1 12 ounce can tomato paste 1 cup beer (medium-bodied) 1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar 2 tablespoons brown sugar 2 teaspoon dried oregano salt and pepper, to taste 8 hamburger buns, split
1. In a large pot over medium-high heat, heat oil. Add the garlic and saute the ground sirloin for 5 minutes. Add the onion and saute for 5 more minutes, or until onion is tender. Add some salt and pepper while cooking. Drain the fat.
2. Mix in tomato paste and beer, stirring until well-combined. Stir in chili powder, paprika, cumin, vinegar, brown sugar, oregano and more salt and pepper. Continue to heat for about 5 minutes, then let simmer about 10 minutes more.
3. While the mixture is simmering, pop the hamburger buns on a toaster oven at 250 degrees, for about 3 minutes. Spoon meat onto buns and serve.
My Notes What I did differently from AllRecipes.com I changed one of the ingredients and some of the proportions. The biggest change I made was using beer instead of water, and ground sirloin instead of ground beef. As for the proportions, I used more garlic, chili powder and cumin and less brown sugar. I also nixed the red bell pepper. Why? I wanted a stewier, bolder comfort food. And because I like meat and onions so much, I disregarded the red bell pepper -- after all, you can barely taste it in this mix of meat and spices.
Why use beer? A medium-bodied beer gives the sloppy joe a richer, earthier, thicker taste.
More or less saucy? Since I like the meat filling to be saucy, I used twice as much tomato paste than AllRecipes did. I wanted the satisfying, tangy taste dripping out of the bun.
Sugar warning: I found the original recipe to be too sweet, what with 3 tablespoons brown sugar. I cut it down to 2 tablespoons and was much happier with the result. You shouldn't nix it entirely because you need that sticky sweetness to counteract the vinegar's sourness and tomato's tanginess.