Sunday, October 9, 2011

Sunday's Braised Short Ribs

For the past couple of weeks, every where I turned there was a feature about Beef Short Ribs. There was a recipe in my most recent issue of Bon Appetit as well as in my October issue of Cuisine at Home and there have been a few blog features about them as well. Short ribs have also been the feature of a few cooking shows both on Food Network and the Cooking Channel. I have never had a beef short rib and so I decided we needed to find out what all the hype was about. We were not disappointed. As much as we enjoyed our traditional pot roast last week, this takes slow cooked beef to a completely different level.

After reviewing many different variations, I decided to try the Wine & Cola Braised Short Ribs in my Cuisine at Home magazine. The braising liquid in this recipe gets its origins from the Basque region of Spain from a drink called kalimotxo [KAL-ee-MOH-cho] which is equal parts of red wine and cola. The drink was originally created to disguise a so-so bottle of red wine by mixing it with cola. The combination of the two made a surprisingly good base for braising ribs. Needless to say, an inexpensive bottle of red wine works quite well for this recipe.

I also made the recommended side dish of Garlic Mashed Potatoes with Kale and some oven roasted Carrots.

My sweet treat for this week was Boston Cream Whoopie Pies which were little cookies that tasted very much like Boston Cream Pie. Delicious, soft, little vanilla wafer like cookies sandwiched with a rich pastry cream and dipped in a chocolate ganache. A lovely little cookie.

Have I mentioned how much I love the transition to fall cooking? I thoroughly enjoyed all my time spent in the kitchen today.

Slightly adapted from Cuisine at Home, October, 2011 edition
Red Wine & Cola Braised Short Ribs (6 servings), Total Time 4 1/2 hours

1/4 cup olive oil
4 pounds short ribs, seasoned with salt and black pepper
1 1/4 cups diced onion
3/4 cup each diced carrot and celery
3 tablespoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons each sweet paprika and tomato paste
1 tablespoon anchovy paste
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup dry sherry
2 cups each dry red wine and cola
Zest of 1 orange
2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
1 teaspoons minced fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon minced orange zest

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Heat 1/4 cup oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high. Add ribs and brown on all sides, 8-10 minutes, then transfer to a plate and set aside. Reduce heat to medium-low.

Sweat onion, carrot, and celery in the drippings until softened, 6-7 minutes. Add garlic, paprika, tomato paste, anchovy paste, and bay leaf; sweat 2 minutes more.

Deglaze the pot with sherry; cook until almost evaporated, about 5 minutes.

Stir wine, cola, and zest of 1 orange into the pot. Return ribs to the pot. Increase heat to high, bring liquid to a boil then cover with a tight-fitting lid. Transfer the pot to the oven.

Braise rib until meat is fork-tender, about 3 1/2 hours, turning ribs every hour. Remove pot from oven. Transfer ribs to a plate. Cover ribs and keep warm.

Strain braising liquid from pot, discarding solids. Skim and discard fat from surface of liquid. Transfer liquid to a saute pan and bring to a simmer over medium heat.

Whisk together cornstarch and 2 teaspoons oil, then whisk into liquid; cook 2 minutes.

Off heat, stir vinegar, thyme, and minced zest into sauce. Place ribs in sauce to reheat, 5 minutes.

Adapted from Cuisine at Home, October 2011
Garlic Mashed Potatoes with Kale (6 servings)

2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
4 cloves garlic, smashed
4 cups chopped kale, ribs removed
1/4 cup olive oil
Salt and black pepper to taste

Place potatoes and garlic in a large pot of salted water; bring to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, add kale and cook until potatoes are fork-tender, 12-15 minutes. Drain potatoes and kale, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking water.

Add oil to the potatoes and kale and mash with a potato masher. Stir in reserved cooking water until potatoes reach desired consistency, then season with salt and pepper.

Adapted from Annie's Eats
Boston Cream Whoopie Pies (24 pies)


For the pastry cream:
2 cups half-and-half
1/2 cup sugar, divided
Pinch salt
5 large egg yolks
3 tbsp. cornstarch
4 tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

For the cookies:
8 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup milk

For the ganache:
2 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1/4 cup heavy cream


To make the pastry cream, heat the half-and-half, 6 tablespoons of the sugar, and the salt in a saucepan over medium-high heat until simmering, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar. Meanwhile, combine the egg yolks and remaining 2 tablespoons sugar in a medium bowl and whisk until the sugar has begun to dissolve and the mixture is creamy, about 15 seconds. Whisk in the cornstarch until combined and the mixture is pale yellow and thick, about 30 seconds.

When the half-and-half mixture has reached a simmer, slowly add it to the egg yolk mixture to temper, whisking constantly. Return the mixture to the saucepan, scraping the bowl with a rubber spatula. Return the mixture to a simmer over medium heat, whisking constantly, until a few bubbles burst on the surface and the mixture is thickened and glossy, about 30 seconds. Off the heat, whisk in the butter and vanilla. Strain the pastry cream through a fine mesh sieve set over a medium bowl. Press plastic wrap directly on the surface to prevent a skin from forming and refrigerate until cold and set, at least 3 hours and up to 2 days.

To make the cookies, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Fit a pastry bag with a wide round tip. Combine the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Blend in the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Blend in the vanilla. In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking powder, and salt; whisk to combine. With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients to the bowl, alternating with with the milk, and beating each addition just until incorporated.

Transfer the batter to the piping bag. Pipe 1 1/2-2 inch circles onto the prepared baking sheets, spacing an inch or two apart. Bake 8-10 minutes, until the cookies are set (they should not brown.) Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat with any remaining batter as necessary.

Once all the cookies have cooled, match them up in pairs by size. To make the ganache, place the chopped chocolate into a small heatproof bowl. Bring the heavy cream to a simmer in a small saucepan. Pour the cream over the chocolate and let sit for 1-2 minutes. Whisk in small circular motions until the chocolate is completely blended and the ganache is smooth. Dip the rounded side of one cookie of each pair into the ganache and coat with an even layer. Return to the cooling rack, flat side down, and let the ganache set before proceeding.

Transfer the pastry cream another piping bag fitted with a smaller plain round tip. Pipe a dollop of pastry cream onto the flat side of the plain cookie of each pair. Press the flat side of the other cookie to the pastry cream, sandwiching the two together.

Keep refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 2 days.

Our rating for tonight's dinner:

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